Thursday, July 22, 2004

how you see what you see

well, it doesn't take long:

Patrick screamed "like a young girl on a roller coaster"; and though he may have done just that, what an utterly shitty simile. In fact, now that I think of it, most smilies bomb in prose--almost always in verse.

Down with smilies!

---
Over at Language Hat, not too long ago, a great dialogue about commas. I have been toying with commas--using them or prohibiting use--and have decided that so much is at stake with the comma. I am apt to run subordinate clauses and lists of adjectives (in particular) together without "proper" commas. But simple lists, simply coordinated, for whatever reason, really do benefit from conventional comma placement, especially the penultimate comma.

Take my title for this post: a comma as cesura there between "see" and "what" would absolutely change everything. And too many writers don't recognize the opportunity for change, whether for aperture or closure...

2 comments:

Radish King said...

"Most similes bomb in prose...."
Precisely. It's why I can't read more than 3 lines in any Tom Robbins novel.
Rebecca

dan mummert said...

commas act powerfully, as much on the semantic drive of a poem as the cadence. i find myself crutching bad lines with them or abandoning the notion entirely. i think ashbery mid-career used the comma beautifully, but after that, well, overkill.