Sunday, October 14, 2007

Digging for the meme

It's like looking in a mirror. And, I have to admit, I'm a little freaked out by what I see.

Let me back up. Last December, Linda H. left a comment on one of my posts. She wrote:

I have a totally different subject matter than your post. I hope you don't mind. I just recently read a book, and you kept coming to my mind when I was reading it. It is a bizarre connection because the book is about archaeology. Possibly the connection because in human history there are many mysteries where there are clues to what happened, but no smoking gun evidence to make positive conclusions. To me understanding autism is very similar to this. Anyway, if you are looking for a book to read, I think you will really enjoy it. Don't let the title scare you away if archaeology is not your thing. The book is by Josh Bernstein (from the History Channel), "Digging for the Truth, One Man's Epic Adventure Exploring the World's Greatest Archaeological Mysteries".
Take care,
How could I ignore a recommendation like that? I added the book to my "to do" list even though I'd never seen Bernstein's television show (still haven't), and it has taken me until now to finally get around to it.

So far, I've read the Foreword of Digging for the Truth, which is less than two pages long, and I can already see why I kept coming to Linda's mind as she read the book. And I don't think it's because I'm the Archaeologist of Autism.

I think it's this: Josh Bernstein writes in my voice. Or I write in his. Either way, we each use a quirky combination of writing conventions that, when taken together, create a fairly distinct style. Or I thought it was distinct. But (now, I see) perhaps not.

This discovery is actually well-timed, because I've been watching a writing meme float around the blogosphere, morphing with each post. For Kristen and Kyra, it was meme about writing strengths. For Drama Mama, it was observations about writing. For Niksmom, it was more of a writing confessional.

So, I'm jumping aboard the memewagon and morphing the meme a little further. My meme is entitled: "What I Learned About My Writing From Reading Less Than Two Pages Written By Josh Bernstein, or: How I Discovered that I'm Not So Original After All"

Some things that Josh and I have in common:

1. We use italics when we want to help the reader (and we always want to help the reader) know which word in a sentence should get the most emphasis - because, as you know, the right emphasis can make all the difference.

2. We tend to use a lot of dashes - though we use parentheses, too (like this) - because we make a lot of tangential comments in the middle of our sentences.

3. And we also start sentences with coordinating and subordinating conjunctions. Even though some people consider it weak writing. But we don't care. So sue us.

4. For us, the comma is a useful little device, because it allows us to collect our thoughts, giving our readers a moment to pause, allowing us to construct lengthy sentences in which we reflect upon subject matter, insert our own perspectives, ponder their meaning, and, of course, make lists.

5. We're concise.

I'm anxious to continue reading the book, if only to find out more about my writing. But, I have to admit, I have a feeling that by the time I reach the end, I will want to either marry Josh Bernstein or punch him in the nose.


kristen spina said...

I LOVE this (and if I knew how to get italics within the comments box, that word--love--would be in italics and not in caps).

I'm so glad to see you out and about and posting more regularly. And, yes, you are right to skip that whole one post a day for a month thing--it's fine to do it naturally, but under pressure? Yikes!

Daisy said...

:) I loved your style explanations!! I, too, use parentheses, italics, and many parenthetical dashes. I may have to get this book.

kristina said...

Maybe your blog (for this post, anyways) could renamed "One Mom (NOS)'s Blog Foray Listing the Finest Punctuation Points of English."

Totally off the topic: My Latin and Greek students are always floored to learn that both wrote in ALL CAPS and WITHNOSPACESBETWEENTHEWORDS.

Niksmom said...

ROFL! Wow, who knew? I do a lot of those things too and just figured it was an oddity of mine. Of course, I don't do them nearly as concisely or eloquently as you! ;-)

Oh, and the NoBloPoMo (or whatever the heck you call it!)? I'm not doing motivation was to write more and I've already go a post for very day this month (well, some days I had two). Not bad for the newbie. ;-)

mysamiam said...

Loved reading your post. May have to get the book too.

Anonymous said...

so funny!

i, too, love the italics, comma, parenthesis, and dasha, although i'm also a big fan of the semi-colon and the CAPS for when i really need to scream it out there.