Sunday, June 6, 2010

I Think I'm Obsessed

I don't read fiction novels very often. I used to be, in a sense, addicted to them in my younger days. Mostly silly romantic novels that filled my head with inaccurate ideas about how life would turn out. Boy, was that ever dumb. I sometimes wonder why my mother let her 10 year old fill her head with such nonsense. I suppose she was just happy that I was voluntarily reading in the first place, rather than having my eyeballs glued to the Nintendo or other such silliness that destroys a child's imagination. Of course, when you're an adult, it's perfectly acceptable to spend hours on end playing Lego Star Wars on the Xbox. Not that I've ever done that or anything. *ahem*

As I matured, I found myself leaning heavily into non-fiction picks, mostly about heavy subject matter, like how much Iranians really do hate the United States, or child soldiers in Uganda. I do feel that the masses are blinded to the realities of the world and are choosing to ignore the harshness of others' mentalities and existence. The written word is a powerful weapon in unveiling these circumstances, and I discern that my free time is best spent learning about such things. However, let's just be honest, the cruelty of the world is sometimes too much to bear and we need a little lightness in life. So this is where I turn to fiction.

My hands haven't touched a fiction novel in months. Perhaps even a year. Several days ago, I decided that the time had come to pick one up. I went to my bookshelf in eager anticipation.... and discovered that I literally did not have a single lighthearted fiction novel that was unread. I was quite devastated. So, I decided on a classic that I had yet to read. Lord of the Flies.

I quickly remembered another reason why I tend to shy away from fiction. I become obsessed. Literally. I'll sit and read for hours, neglecting other important tasks, you know, like eating, just to get in an extra few pages. It's a serious problem. I once read a 500+ page book in approximately 26 hours. I'm pretty sure someone should have admitted me into some kind of self-help program or something, because that is nothing short of absurd. The McDonald's gratification of movies is why I suppose that so many people enjoy the cinema. 2 hours. In, bam, boom, done. You have the entire storyline handed to you in less time than it takes to pluck a rooster. Or at least I would imagine so. I've never actually plucked a rooster. Anywhoo, there is a lot to be said for the quickness of film. You don't need to invest hours upon hours of your life, crazily turning the pages of a bound beauty to find out if Dick or Harry ends up getting the girl in the end, or if Jack is ever discovered for the accidental murder of his lover's former boyfriend.

Granted, reading keeps my mind alert, my eyeballs exercised, and my vocabulary stretched. I will just have to work on the obsessed part now, and maybe it'll all work out for me in the end. Oh, and in case you're wondering, Lord of the Flies isn't really a lighthearted novel. It's actually pretty disturbing. And I did manage to take my time with it. It took me 2 whole days to read.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Respect the Semicolon

I don't have very many pet peeves. Though, I'm sure I have more than I'd like to admit. One of these said pet peeves is poor grammar. I loathe it. Its like fingernails down the chalkboard, the fork across a plate, the grind of a dentist's drill. I hate it. Its another stark reminder of our failure as a society to properly educate the younger masses to communicate properly.

I understand that some people are just not as prone to the appropriate usage of the English language. We all have our strengths, and lord knows, our weaknesses. Don't ask me to do fast math in my head. Its just not going to happen. Its not my strength. On the other hand, my wonderful boyfriend has a head for numbers and can compute mathematical problems in his head with more speed than I can even remember the elementary way to figure out the solution. However, his spelling isn't the greatest. And his grammar is lacking. Typically, this would drive me insane. However, all of his other redeeming qualities far outweigh the constant asking of how to spell things. (I love you, honey)

So, this being said, we all have our strengths. Which means that certain tasks should be left for certain people who happen to have an affinity for said occupations. As most of you know, my career in marketing leaves a large-ish chunk of my day immersed in writing and editing and other things of the like. I definitely do not claim to be Tennyson or Austen, or even Dan Brown for that matter (who, in my opinion, couldn't write a decent book if threatened to have acid poured into his eyeballs). However, my sentence structure is decent, and I like to think of myself as a mediocre writer. I do get paid to do it. This would leave me to believe that other non-professional marketing masters should probably leave the writing to the pros. This, unfortunately, does not always end up being the case.

I work with several people who, for some reason completely unbeknownst to me, try their hand at writing when, clearly, they should not. It doesn't seem to click in their little brains that someone at the company's job is to write. Maybe, just maybe, they should leave the writing to them. Instead, my eyeballs are subjected to such awful writing that they sometimes start to bleed. Seriously, its that bad. And then said persons actually question me and look at me as if I bore two heads when I remark that the piece needs to be rewritten. I really do not understand how they can't tell that its awful. Truly and sincerely awful.

I suppose that part of my job description should be to not laugh in the face of others who have no command over the English language. Instead, I just fix their mistakes, defend my positions, and then pound my keyboard in frustration over their inability to see their terribleness of work.

And please, for goodness sake, respect the semicolon. Learn how to use it.