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(Subtitled: Let’s Just Say I was Hibernating and Leave It at That)
Yes, I have been neglecting my blogging duties, and I really have no excuse, except for the plethora of ones that arise daily. But, I refuse to delve into the personal griping that nobody really wants to read. I did mentally compose, at one point, a post entitled “Why I Will Never Be Super Mom” and it was hilarious, at least in my own mind, but nope, that never was completed either. C’est la vie…
However, I have not given up on the WIP and have been researching Everything You Need to Know About Agents But Are Afraid to Ask in order to be as well-prepared as possible for the day I have the (fully revised) final draft completed and ready to go. Meanwhile, I am really here to celebrate National Grammar Day and share their new anthem with anyone else who loves the English language.
I also want to recommend a lovely book I am reading which is perfect for us word nerds and fellow philosophers. The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery was originally written in French and, fortunately, translated by Alison Anderson for those, like myself, who have neglected to keep up with the “language of love” since high school. I have not completed the novel, so cannot properly review it, but it has rave reviews all over the Web. (Why I only heard about it because of a Glue recommendation I cannot answer.) It is not a light read, but it is humorous, thought-provoking, and gosh darnit, deep. I think it should be required reading in Grammar 101 courses. Seriously, I was in stitches while reading a passage on the misuse of a comma (“I was not prepared for such an underhanded attack.”). The two female narrators (one young, one older) both have appreciation for the simple beauty of life, particularly the nuance of language. They also have a hard time hiding their disdain for the crowds around them who fail to see what they see. I can imagine that the author had some of these thoughts herself long before she put them in her characters’ voices. Par example:
The gifts of fate come with price. For those who have been favored by life’s indulgence, rigorous respect in matters of beauty is a non-negotiable requirement. Language is a bountiful gift and its usage, an elaboration of community and society, is a sacred work….Society’s elect, those whom fate has spared from the servitude that is the lot of the poor, must, consequently, shoulder the double burden of worshipping and respecting the splendors of language. Finally, Sabine Palliere’s misuse of punctuation constitutes an instance of blasphemy that is all the more insidious when one considers that there are marvelous poets born in stinking caravans or high-rise slums who do have for beauty the sacred respect that is so rightfully owed.
To the rich, therefore falls the burden of Beauty. And if they cannot assume it, then they deserve to die.
Now, I do not necessarily want to encourage grammar snobs to take up arms and riot against the abuse of the comma, but she does have a point. I confess that I have a similar opinion reserved for those “pundits” who claim to speak for the masses, yet cannot speak clearly or correctly (and refuse to learn when to shut up), as well as certain political leaders (turned pundit and/or author) whose speeches are merely a string of colloquial phrases that together make no sense. But, I digress… 😉
No, the entire novel is not an ode to grammar. There are plenty of other topics covered including philosophy, Russian literature, French and Japanese culture, film and cats. So, really, there is something for almost everyone to appreciate, especially the story of an unlikely friendship, which is the true gem offered. I am eager to read more now, so I will stop here and wish you (all three of you 🙂 ) a Happy Grammar Day and a good writing and/or reading weekend. I will return soon, I promise.