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Thursday, September 25, 2014

All I want for Christmas...

There is a book I want for Christmas this year.
That's all, just one book.
In the latest issue of Canada's Maclean's Magazine, copy editor Larissa Liepins has reviewed "The Sense of Style: The Thinking Person's Guide to Writing in the 21st Century" by Canadian-born Steven Pinker.
Oh, yes, please. I need a guide to writing in the 21st century. My biggest problem is thinking too much, which makes this book an obvious choice for a thinking person like me.
Pinker also, says Liepins, "applies his considerable expertise in cognitive science and linguistics to crafting a modern-day style guide for, as he puts it, 'people who know how to write and want to write better'."
Oh yes, that would be me. I've been writing since I was six years old, and have had some experience in the craft, as well as some experience as a proofreader and copy editor, and I know quite a few other writers. I know that, deep down, we all want to write better. Many of us also need to know what the 21st century wants of us as writers.
"If you count yourself in that group," Liepins goes on, "you likely own a style bible of old, be it Strunk and White's The Elements of Style or Fowler's Modern English Usage" and you will find them "frequently in Pinker's crosshairs."
Okay, shoot, Mr. Pinker. I'll get over it, even if you malign those treasured tomes and tell us repeatedly that language purists are "sticklers, pedants, peevers, snobs, snoots, nitpickers, traditionalists, language police, usage nannies, grammar Nazis, and the Gotcha Gang"!
Sigh, but I will get over it.
I will get over it because scientist Pinker has convinced editor Liepins "that, not only will we not go to hell for splitting an infinitive, sometimes it's the only way to boldly go."
I like that.
I need someone with "expertise in cognitive science" as well as linguistics, who "mines everything from obituaries to Dear Abby columns for good writing."
Sigh again.
Writers of my advanced age will remember Dear Abby's skill with words, and may have, as I did, demanded of our parents and siblings, "Read this! What a great line!"
Now, just don't tell Steven Pinker that when I grow up I want to be Dave Barry.
***
I am linking this, quite belatedly, to Open Link Monday at my favourite writers' blog, Imaginary Garden with Real Toads. Thanks for being there, dear Toads.


15 comments:

Susan said...

Funny Lady! You could really have a Dear Kay column/blog and I would attend to (usage?) it regularly.

Jo said...

Oh it's so good to see you, Kay! Yes, I would also like that book for Christmas! How is dear Lindy? Have a wonderful day. Hugs Jo

Yamini MacLean said...

Hari Om
The old adage of 'read, read, read' still applies for any writer... then write from the heart. Language will find balance in that beat. YAM xx

Tammy said...

I agree - a book like this couldn't hurt anyone. Even Mr. Language Person. ;)

Liz Rice-Sosne said...

Kay - I have to say that you write beautifully. You are always: concise, to the point, interesting and cogent.

Jennifer A. Jilks said...

You are such a funny woman! I love you! You are a terrific writer and I'm glad you writing. Luv, JJ

Gattina said...

Long time I haven't heard of you ! I too started writing as soon as I had learned it ! My problem is that I don't write in my mothertongue but I do my best, lol !

Kay said...

You are an amazing writer and poet, Kay. Gosh! I would love to write like Dave Barry.

Friko said...

I am not sure I quite understand what you are saying.
A style guide for writers in the 21st century?
When did writing become a matter of style you could learn from a book?

Kay said...

You already have boatloads of style, humor, intelligence and everything that makes a great writer, Kay.

Kristin Linnea Backe said...

Sorry for not saying hello more often!! Haru the guinea pig says hello too :))))

Sherry Blue Sky said...

Yes! A Dear Kay column/blog. I'll sign up right now!!!

Lynette Killam said...

I will definitely look for this book, Kay...thanks for bringing it to our attention. Part of the reason I haven't been blogging much is to work on my creative writing. In doing so, I've realized I'm stale enough to require all the help I can get!
Hope this finds you and your family well...:)

Powell River Books said...

What would college have been without Strunk and White. - Margy

Mara said...

Something against proper grammar? Who is this person and is he/she in his/her right mind?