Friday, July 19, 2013

Mad Man’s Protocol

On keeping tools ready for a writer


Image Courtesy: Yahoo.com
Patterns are everywhere in human life and in the course of nature.

How do we know a crazy person, when we see one?

We just know that person is crazy?

Or do we resort to some external behavioral patterns exhibited by the madman? Perhaps we take both ways to arrive at the conclusion, but most commonly, we resort to how a man behaves to judge him mad or not. Usually, it is the features in the person’s behavior, outside the normal human behavior, that helps us nail the issue. What does this indicate?

This indicates that we observe patterns of abnormal behaviour in the person concerned. The same is true with anything and everything we write—a pattern to decide whether what you have written is meaningful and a pattern to see errors.

Even if we want to make a conscious swerve from the established norms of writing, and to create some mischievous product of literature that can proclaim war on the traditional format, we still have to stick with a pattern to make that change feel visible. This pattern could be grammar.

If we are good at our online-prowl and reading-life seeking information and entertainment, we must have come across a term such as the “Grammar Police”.  The term is used to indicate not a protective element or force, or for the safety one feels with the presence of the law enforcement in a James Patterson thriller, but the frustration of having these bunches of guys watching over us. In other words, this clues us in about how this set rules in language, grammar, is being hated by young and old alike.

The much debated “grammar police” talk is mostly due to the lack of mastery of the subject. Grammar is not exactly a term that denotes the way a language works. On the other hand, grammar is the answer to how the magic of words works.

Arundhathi Roy
Some of us feel they are incompetent in grammar and instead of admitting it and taking the necessary remedies to solve the problem they often channel their ignorance into protests against rules in language. This sounds stylish and revolutionary because many well-known and celebrated writers had stood for such an attitude through their works. The Indian writer Arundhathi Roy is just one example. Do not forget William Shakespeare and the grammatical differences that we may find in his plays, from the standard of his era.

This is a bad idea for a beginner, though. Only if we are able to show our basic skills to the new reader through our work, can we establish a niche for ourselves. But how do we do this? Stop cursing grammar first. Grammar is the way you can reach into someone else’s mind. Otherwise, all your words may appear a meaningless jumble.

As beginners, we best look for the frequent errors we commit in our writing and correct them first. This is done with the help of teachers or a writing instructor.

Just like a chisel in an artist’s hand, language is the tool and help of a writer. Therefore, any writer should strictly adhere to a routine, to keep his or her language clean, and free of creating any embarrassing errors. Only a lunatic could keep his tools unattended and destroy their tenacity.
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