Thursday, December 30, 2010

Just A Quick Thought....About Grammar

So I'm currently visiting family through the end of the year.  Hence, no new posts, not that you probably noticed since any attempt at keeping a posting schedule has been obliterated by writers block and life in general.  Anyway, this has provided an interesting conversation that I thought I would take a moment to muse on with you all while my kids are being entertained by Grampa.

So every year I write a Christmas letter for family and our closest friends, I don't send them to everyone, but I do post it on facebook so I guess I really should, maybe.  Sending a Christmas letter really isn't an option in my family, I mean my dad's relations are all descendent's of Shakespeare and cousins to Mark Twain, and like whatnot.  Anyway we all write!  My uncle even does it for a living.  So, we all send Christmas letters and the challenge is, to keep it shorter than a novel.  Generally, the rule is two pages or less (front and back), but if you are truly skilled, or had a really uninteresting year you can shave it to a page or so.  I try to stick to one page front and back, because all my family and friends who aren't from that branch find it overwhelming.  I've even got  some relatives that write in limerick, couplets, or to the tune of popular songs.

Anyway, this year has been a challenge and full of stuff for me to stick into the letter.  I spent a bit of time mulling it over, picked my approach and put slightly more thought into it than I do the average post here, and wrote.  I've never been one for the whole brainstorm, outline, write, rewrite methodology.  I always hated it.  It seemed dumb to me, and even though I am the queen of the bunny trail while sidetracked, I generally have good luck skipping straight to write and rewrite.  So I wrote my letter straight out and sent it to my hubby, who made two very minor changes and declared it good.

On the literary scale, it was a letter, plain and simple.  It had some tough stuff in it, but I think I handled it well and I took the general opinion that if you really cared enough to read my letter that you really did want to know what was happening in my life.  If not the first paragraph was written as a summary.  Well, to get to my point (hahaha), today my grandma mentioned that my Christmas letter was extremely well written, even better than the grammar in the book she bought and is currently reading.  Well, obviously the guy that wrote the book needs a better editor!, but still it got me thinking?  I never thought  my grammar was that good, I mean sure I know most of the rules.  I try to follow them sometimes, but enough so that it made that kind of impression???  Maybe I should go back to working on my book?

Do you really notice the grammar?  I mean, does it still matter?  Here, on this blog, I've always just sort of written with stream of consciousness.  I mean sure, I usually go back and fix the spelling (because it's atrocious), but when it comes to grammar, unless it's glaring I just let it go.  In fact if you were talking to me face to face and you didn't interrupt me and we didn't get super side tracked (like sometimes happens here, except I've written a title that I reference to get back on topic, more or less) our interaction would sound a lot like one of my posts.

Well, if you find grammar important, and you think I do well enough in my stream of conscious method, you should say a quick thank you to all the English teachers I've had in my life, because somewhere, somehow they really did make a difference.  Especially the one that trained me to write like this, in a style she call "Freewrite".  Although, then she provided an inspirational topic and we didn't have to stick to it if we didn't feel like it.  I don't think she honestly ever read them, when I was her TA, my instruction was just to grade based on length.

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