I love run-on sentences. When I write a play, the grammatically incorrect run-on helps create a pace which connects with me as a listener. Sadly, my love for run-ons did not begin as an artistic choice, but rather a grammatical error gone bad.
In high school, my favorite teacher wrote “comma splice” on more than one essay. Now, I could have gone and asked her what the heck a comma splice was, but I didn’t. Instead, I simply stopped using commas except in lists (I was fairly sure I knew those rules, and my teacher never wrote “comma splice” next to a list of three). It wasn’t until I was going to be a teaching assistant in a remedial college grammar class, that I decided I should look up the phrase “comma splice” and figure out what it actually was.
Lo and behold, I discovered that eliminating the comma from my essays actually did cure the comma splice problem. Since the comma splice is created when two independent clauses are joined by the lonely little comma, I cured the problem without knowing what I did or why. I have since gotten over my desire to be one hundred percent grammatically correct at all times, so I will splice all over the place if I feel the need.
I’ve never taken a journalism class, but I have a feeling my fondness for rather long sentences would be frowned upon. I could write shorter clauses. But, why? I could also avoid using because and and at the start of sentences, but I rather like breaking that rule all of my elementary school teachers told me. Especially since “NO AND OR BECAUSE AT THE START OF A SENTENCE” really isn’t a rule. It is sometimes a suggestion, but I like ignoring those as well.
I think this whole comma splice issue breaks down to my being grateful that I have the ability now to do two things better than I did in the past. One, I am more willing to ask clarifying questions when I am not sure what something means or why someone has said something. And two, I am so grateful that I have the ability to look at things people say are truth and fact with critical eyes and the ability to think for myself. Actually, I’ve always been able to analyze information and make my own judgement based on evidence. So, I suppose I’m grateful that I haven’t totally given into being someone who is easily swayed by loud voices and bombardment from all sides.
There’s a book called “White Noise;” I don’t recall who wrote it–I could easily look it up, but I won’t at the moment. There are other books, and movies, and television shows, and short stories, and history books which all talk about the “dumbing down” of all of us folks who are just trying to make it through the daily blah blah with some sense of humanity and self. I don’t know if I am grateful for all of those sources which remind me of, historically, how much worse things get before they get better. I’m not sure if it is better to be living through a major shift in history while knowing about the basic cycles of human history, or if it would be easier to just be clueless.
Hey, a gal has to think about something when she is busy avoiding thinking about how to pay the insurance bill, buy the horse feed, repair the floor in the bathroom, and find a job.