Thursday, November 6, 2008

Random Thoughts

1. It's time to confess my love of The Period. This may come as a surprise. I come off as more of a Questions Mark or Comma person. But no.

The Period might not be so glamorous as all those other marks. The Question Mark is fine for the end of an inquisitive sentence, they curl up like an ear that begs an answer. They are also good for signaling alarm when used three or four at a time, though when this comes at the end of a sentence like "What's going on???" on what was otherwise a friendly email or note, I become distressed. What IS going on? Why are they suddenly so anxious? What do they know that I don't?

Often, they mean no alarm, but to express interest - even if by using multiple Question Marks at the end of a sentence it appears they are taking me by the shoulders and shaking me until I give them what they want. A fine line, isn't it, between benign interest and panic?

And what can be said about the Exclamation Point that she hasn't already said herself? And loudly. I'm not much for Exclamation Points, I'm sorry to say. Though I make frequent use of her exuberance when sending emails. Rather than hollering (that's what all caps is for these days), the Exclamation Point is a herald of good feelings - "Hey there!" "Thanks So Much!"

I have found, however, that emails with The Exclamation point in excessive use come across as undeniably "Head Cheerleader".

The Comma, The Comma, The Comma. I resent you, Comma, you droopy, permissive excuse for punctuation. It must fly in the face of conventional wisdom to distrust the comma as I do. The Comma says, "Yeah, go ahead, drift from one thought to the next, barely ending, just one more image, yeah, go on." I don't suppose it's Comma's fault, how he's lavished all over paragraphs and has become the darling of post-modern literature - with its fluid sentences, clever free association, and resistance to finality.

I use you immoderately but I don't want to, Comma. The only thing that can challenge your pause monopoly is the ellipse...and god knows we'd never get anything across if that's all we used.

The Period. The Period has an understated elegance I find appealing. He says what he means. It can be a gentle command or a statement of fact. His Zen is undeniable. When he is finished, there is no question, jolt, no lingering doubts. A period at the end finalizes and solidifies simple words.

Golf Cart.

The Period is my favorite punctuation.

2. Yes, CP. Here it is for you. In public and for all to see:

1. I'll respond with something random about you.
I envy how great you look in hats.

2. I'll tell you what song/movie reminds me of you.
Under the Cherry Moon, starring Prince

3. I'll pick a flavor of jello to wrestle you in.

4. I'll say something that only makes sense to you and me. (if possible!)
Cynthia Dans La Mer

5. I'll tell you my first memory of you.
The day you walked into Kava Cane and announced that you had never met anyone intelligent from the South. I'm not sure I unsettled your prejudice or not. I know I had seen you before, and admired you from afar...You were far to cool to hang out with a nerd like me, I thought.

6. I'll tell you what animal you remind me of.
A Baby Panther

7. I'll tell you a poem I think you'd like (I am a big Billy Collins fan, thanks to my friend T.)

The First Dream

Billy Collins

The Wind is ghosting around the house tonight
and as I lean against the door of sleep
I begin to think about the first person to dream,
how quiet he must have seemed the next morning

as the others stood around the fire
draped in the skins of animals
talking to each other only in vowels,
for this was long before the invention of consonants.

He might have gone off by himself to sit
on a rock and look into the mist of a lake
as he tried to tell himself what had happened,
how he had gone somewhere without going,

how he had put his arms around the neck
of a beast that the others could touch
only after they had killed it with stones,
how he felt its breath on his bare neck.

Then again, the first dream could have come
to a woman, though she would behave,
I suppose, much the same way,
moving off by herself to be alone near water,

except that the curve of her young shoulders
and the tilt of her downcast head
would make her appear to be terribly alone,
and if you were there to notice this,

you might have gone down as the first person
to ever fall in love with the sadness of another.
8. I'll ask you something I've always wondered about you.
If you could learn another language what would it be? What did you want to be when you grew up? What the hell went on in college?


Crazypants said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Crazypants said...

Thank you, JJ!
1. Aramaic (you have suspected this)
2. A Nobel Prize winner, and someone's wife. At the same time.
3. Our college? My other colleges? I've done a lot of college.
love you.

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