Quotation marks (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Cormac McCarthy (Photo credit: alessio.sartore)
Sometimes on Xanga people would comment on how I don’t use quotation marks. That is intentional. It wasn’t until I read Cormac McCarthy that I realized how superfluous quotation marks are and that anyone who has mastered the basics of writing dialog can do without them. McCarthy always writes in 3rd person, and it’s easier to do without them in 3rd. It’s a little harder in 1st, which is what I use almost exclusively but in 1st it can be done. As far as the reader is concerned it’s usually just a matter of getting used to it.
McCarthy doesnt stop there. He omits apostrophes in common contractions that everyone knows such as dont, cant, wasnt, and so on. He said he doesn’t like those little marks cluttering up the page. I dont know about that but I do know it makes for a cleaner, more stark style of writing, which is nice if your style is minimalist like mine.
I took it even further. In deciding to invent a style of writing for the internet I started using common internet acronyms such as IDK, WTF, IRL, TMI, and so on. I used email style as a model for taking it further, the kind of careless writing people use when they’re in a hurry. I used convenient misspellings such as “thru” for through, although I know how to spell. And for another iconoclastic touch I dont capitalize “I” unless it comes at the start of the sentence. In addition to writing in first person I wrote in the present tense, which gives an immediacy to writing that holds suspense very well. I’d get comments such as, “I felt like I was right in that room.”
Sometimes after years of writing fiction you figure out how to do it right in a flash of inspiration. The author of Bridges of Madison County had such a Eureka experience and went on to write more. I’m not comparing myself to him but I understand what happens. That summer I went on to finish an autobiographical novel and then the Dana series as well as Since Yesterday, Axel’s Travels, some others. Suddenly, liberated from stylistic conventions I became prolific and wrote more than i’d have thought possible.
Not everyone likes this style of writing but it grows on you until you feel like why doesn’t everyone do it this way. And any fiction writer who wants to try it will find it easier than it looks.
For those of you who are Roswell fans, it will debut Tuesday, January 15 at 9:00 pm on the CW. Something to look forward to anyway.
When you’re a kid you want the world to stop while you finish growing up. When you’re old you want the world to at least slow down while you finish living and finish dying.
Like most fans of the original Roswell tv show I look to CW’s reincarnation of this series with mixed feelings. I have seen the trailer several times and find it intriguing in a showy way and I am willing to watch the pilot episode in 2019 or whenever they get around to airing it. But I will be fully prepared to hate it.
I have no problem at all with the characters being grown up and in their thirties but the idea of Max as a cop is an abomination. In the original the theme of aliens trying to get through life without being caught and dissected and the paranoid contamination of their lives was a constant. I cannot see how this is in any way compatible with being a cop. But maybe they’ll find a way to make it work.
Another troubling change is that the show is supposed to be more “political.” IDK how that will work either. The original bent over backward to avoid it because, I think, it was a kids’ show. After the new series is long gone the politicking will date the show horribly. The way all that 90s music could have done to the original. It didn’t, at least not to me, thanks to Tunefind. That’s led me to songs and groups of the 90s I had never heard of, so that part turned out okay.
So maybe I will really like it and it will be cancelled after one season. I guess I’ll find out soon enough.
I once met a false friend
On a filthy country road
She said you’ve always been
Just an ugly little toad
I said I’m an old man and this a lonely place
Be with me
But she turned away her face
And this road is all I see
Down that road I’m easily led
Past a crow on a dead light pole
Death’s a snarling puma ahead
And my heart a lump of dead black coal
I turn my back to the wind
And try to flee
But that puma’s always been
In that seething locust tree
Hey Pharmacist, you lying bitch
Fork tongued cunt with too much guile
Give me dope, make life rich
And let me die in style
Vicodin, you’re the answer
That makes my questions disappear
Forget it all, forget my cancer
Forget the lies I hear
Doctor Sphincter, you’re an ass
I am dying, do you think I care?
Am I addicted, how dare you ask!
You have a backbone made of air
Just give me my dope, you evil shit
That puts me beyond the sorrow
So for a while I can lie down and quit
And forget about today until tomorrow*
*Forgive this shameless borrowing of Dylan’s line
Some people are afraid of the dark
Some are more afraid of the light
Some think if they just hit that mark
It’ll make all their evil right
This wants to be a baby, that wants to be dead
But it dont matter what you say or do
They’ll always rip off your head
Even when you’re just passin’ thru
Pray you dont die for others’ mistakes
But only for your own
They say you’ve already lived your life
Before you’re even grown
Man asked me the other day what is it that i do
I said it aint your business anyway, i’m only passin’ thru
There’s a Hoosier moon risin’ and the big dogs howl
And i wonder what i should do
But i guess none of that matters anyway
‘Cause we’re all just passin’ thru
Cornfields heat like boiling glass
Steamy smell of ammonia and ripening corn
Dogs lying prostrate and panting
In the shade of a dead tree
Rain wont come when you need it
Sun comes when you need it dont want it dread it hate it
That changes now
Here’s the rain
Thunder cants the poetry of sorrow
Rain on tin roof sobs in the inarticulate language of despair
Light in farmhouse comes on
In weary counterpoint to a sky turned the color of night
Thunder glowers over fields
Cattle low piteously before it
Supplicant savages beseeching
An angry, capricious god
Gloom of summer rain more depressing
Than a flint colored winter day
When the earth is like iron
And all you want
Is to go inside