November 17, 2006
Life Without Punctuation
In the absence of the ability to make long-distance phone calls (which, by the way, I have rectified), my dad and I communicated more by email than we usually do. This correspondence was difficult for him, however, because his email provider doesn't always let him use apostrophes! I was at first appalled when he told me about this state of affairs. How can one write without apostrophes? Granted, my students do it all the time (and sometimes I wish they didn't have access to apostrophes because when they do use them they often put them in the wrong place), but it would require a whole different tone of writing. Possessives would be much more cumbersome. Instead of saying that I'm going to David's mom's house for Thanksgiving dinner, I would have to say that I am going to the home of the mother of my fiance. What a mouthful! But then I started thinking that it might be a fun exercise to have to make do without one form of punctuation or another. It would certainly force me to change up my writing style. I think the one I would miss the most is the semicolon; even though it is a totally unnecessary form of punctuation, I use it all the time! When I said this to my dad, he replied that he would just give up writing altogether if he couldn't use semicolons; he just loves them that much. I guess the apple doesn't fall far from the tree.
September 24, 2006
Silence reigns all around me as I settle into the soft black leather chair in my living room, a steaming cup of tea on one of the arms. The tea warms me from the inside out, limbering my hands to type one word after another. The clickety-clack of the keys on my laptop breaks the silence of the morning. The round marble-topped table, standing on ornately-carved legs, is full of the detritus of my life: an open binder; a French press, half full of tea and resting on a cork coaster; my day planner, bound in red leather, etched with the date 2006; a large pink eraser and two mechanical pencils (why two? Because one is out of lead); a magazine flipped open to the last article read; a manila folder waiting to go upstairs to be filed; a linen-lined wicker basket, brimming over with my latest knitting project – bamboo needles and purple heathered yarn; a cordless phone, poised to ring; my own slippered feet resting one on top of the other. In the center of this antique table, in the place of honor, stands an ovoid glass vase holding an arrangement of dying flowers, identical in type, though varied in height, sitting in a cloudy pool of brackish water. Brown and withered leaves overhang the side of the vase, yet the bright colors of the now-drooping petals testify to their one-time cheeriness: from yellow centers spring white petals tipped with purple. For nearly three weeks, this bouquet stood like a sentinel, tall and proud, keeping watch over the whirlwind of life taking place around it: heated debates over the daily newspaper; informal meals shared on the couch; reading, writing, knitting, and television-watching. But now, tired, and rank, their life cycle is over. Soon they will join the compost pile, seeping back into the earth from whence they came.