That time of year
for wee spotted deer,
and new camping gear,
and buds appear,
and kids look forward to the end of the academic year.
Okay, I rhymed “year” twice.
And the scansion gets pretty sloppy toward the end there.
But that’s me. It’s my writing style, part of my charm. It’s why you come here for your blogging entertainment instead of visiting my husband’s blog more often. Sure, he writes in full sentences instead of random clauses and phrases, sure he is loathe to toss around comma splices with my reckless abandon. And sentence fragments that begin with “and” and end in a period. And lots of slang and dialect and rhetorical grunts and giggles and blah-blah-blahs.
Sure his blog is well-written and hilarious and has photos of babies and pandas. Although, it could probably use more baby pandas.
But I’m quirky. And you like quirky, right?
However. (<--See! That’s quirky!) Sometimes reading quirky writing is exhausting. It’s exhausting the way that spending a weekend with your friend who thinks he’s Robin Williams is exhausting. Sometimes, you just want to sit still and have a conversation with someone who's sitting still, and not feel as if you have to be a thankful and willing repository for all their wowzee-wowzee-woo-woo cleverness. Sometimes, you just want a sentence that reads like a 3rd grade Language Arts textbook example on how to write strong declarative sentences.
No, no! Don’t stop me. Don’t tell me that I’m wrong or try to cajole me out of my artistic self-chastisement! Let not this important post in self-discovery become nothing more than me with a fishing pole sitting alongside the compliment pond waiting for all my loyal readers to leap up like so many perch and chub to tell me “Oh, no! We really love your comma splices and your funky way of writing in stops and starts and dramatic, cutesy pauses. Please believe us because we are talking fish!” Really…I do know I’m the bees knees in oh so many ways, so don’t let my sudden onset of grammatical piety lead you to believe that I’m bleeding from a mortal wound in my metaphorical and linguistical hip waders. But do allow me sit with myself for a few minutes and marinade in my own bouillabaisse.
For you see, I’ve just read this book - Raised By Wolves, by Christie Mellor - that has, essentially, put me in a room with myself for a weekend.
First off, I do love this book the way I adore every single word I just wrote on this post alone. (Let’s be honest here: writers make their stuff public because somewhere deep down, they think they’re swell.) (And that’s okay.) (Says me.) Raised By Wolves made me laugh. It made me smile and enthusiastically nod my head up and down in that commonly understood gesture for “Yup, right on, you wily goofball!” It made me giggle some more and then sigh out loud in devout admiration of a well-placed non sequitur and the mention of Green Goddess Dressing.
Oh, the stream-of-consciousness writing style! Oh, the conglomeration of divergent topics, from why the only aftershave any man should wear is Creed to why one should own a fat separator! Oh, the pulling together of instructions on the proper and environmentally friendly method of washing dishes, with a mini-lesson on the Bill of Rights, with a “how-to” on dealing with your employer’s peeing-and-talking at the same time…and just really making it all congeal as a thematic concept!
Good golly, but
But, good gravy…what an exhausting read.
Really. Reading an entire book of this kind of conversational, herky-jerky, exclamation-strewn style of writing was like being clobbered over the head with my own ellipsis-enamored computer monitor.
Now, to be fair to myself - oh, and Christie Mellor (this review is supposed to be about her book, after all) - reading a few hundred words of giddiness on my blog might actually be more comparable to grabbing a whipped cream canister out of the fridge and squirting it into your mouth, along with a little extra nitrous oxide: in other words it’s fun in blog-sized doses, but you couldn't make a meal out of it unless you wanted to permanently walk sideways with your brain dribbling out your ears. (Obligatory Warning: Nitrous oxide is bad, kids.)
So maybe I did
“Hmmmm…how does one poach chicken or make the perfect cup of coffee? Let me consult Ms. Mellor’s fine tome on How To Be A Hip, Young Adult Without Being A Boor, A Bore, or A Brat.”
(Note: This book is geared toward twenty-somethings, but it would work reasonably well for anyone between the ages of 21 and 89 and who still has no idea how to, say, be a gracious house guest or build an Astro Weenie Christmas Tree. After 89, I‘d have to agree that new socialization tricks are a bit harder to learn, so you're off the hook if you’re 92 years old, visiting my home, and you decide to use my new, fluffy white bath towels to clean your car. I'd even say that the book is a good gift for graduating high school students, even though there is a chapter on how to booze responsibly. Hey, you might be European, right?)
“Oh, say! I really don’t want to be the irritating, drunken jackass at my friend’s next party! Tell me how to achieve that goal, Ms. Mellor, and don’t mince words! How can I drink responsibly and with style and not be That Guest, the one who doesn’t pick-up on the host’s cue (e.g. vacuuming around my feet and yanking my vodka-and-cigarette-butt martini out of my hand) that the time to leave was three hours ago.”
“Boy, I just seem to have trouble winning friends and influencing people. I wonder whether Christie Mellor's book Raised By Wolves can provide me with a list of conversation topics to avoid so that I don’t constantly come across as a self-centered and/or shallow and/or dangerously insane. And while she’s at it, could she provide me with illustrated pointers on how to properly shake hands with a woman without appearing to be a leering nipple inspector?”
Although, there are other books of this ilk that do this sort of thing - just head to amazon.com and search on “How To Be A Grown Up" or "Common Skills Everyone Should Possess Like Making A Bed Or Boiling An Egg Or Writing A Thank You Note” or “Commonly Accepted Etiquette That Helps Grease Social Interactions Within Our Greater Culture and Makes People Feel At Ease” or “100 Simple Ways To Not Be A Jerk Starting With Putting Down Your Cell Phone While You Are Making A Transaction At A Cash Register” - Ms. Mellor’s book adds that little extra of kooky, humorous narrative that makes any medicine go down a bit more easily.
Just like…why, just like I do!
Awwwww, see that?
Oh self! I knew we’d make up!
C’mere me, you big silly! Give us a hug!
Look! I brought an ellipses for you.
And a bouquet of exclamation points!
Let’s never argue again.
And let’s end the blog post right here...
Before the monitor falls over on your head.