09 Oct The day that Daily Press Stole My Comfort Blanket
Daily Post has raised a bar over which I feel I should hurdle: the stream-of-consciousness write, for which I will choose a non-fictional content, given my propensity for writing fiction at all times (except when I’m writing biting satire, but that’s fairly fictional too, let’s face it).
I’ll admit that I have my reservations about this, given that I’m taking it VERY literally and spewing out a constant stream of words without filtering. I believe I have faith enough in my grammatical alan* retentiveness (*I actually mean an anagram of this word – I’m sure you can guess. Coincidentally, Alan is my Dad’s name) to get through this without making myself cry, but I may be wrong.
You see, in my head, I’m actually a grammar super hero with an alternate identity. I used to write a blog on it. Well, when I say “used to write” – I should really qualify that by saying “I wrote one post in a blog about it once.” But it meant a lot to me to be able to assume, fully, the persona of a grammar fiend and SLAY THOSE ENEMIES. I was able to vent spleen about it in a ridiculous way, and that is the true wonder of fiction. You get to make a subject ridiculous or moving or revelatory with the benefit of a camouflage, and pretend you weren’t just pouring out your heart about that guy you got dumped by (and still haven’t really got over seven years later, which you only realised when you bumped into him in Starbucks and failed to hear the barista when they told you your coffee was ready three times, thus making you look like some sort of Starbucks novice).
The trouble for me now is coming out in all my full apostrophe-loving glory in non-fiction, right here. It’s a big step for me – admitting that there are times when I want to correct every single written word in a facebook post, or when I have to restrain myself from correcting a friend who keeps suggesting I come and visit “my boyfriend and I.” There are even times when I fail to hide it in public, hoping that writing apostrophes into signage in biro in front of strangers won’t get me some kind of a name around places like Cambridge Station and the alternative clothing market.
My close friends and family know, of course. And by family I mean my parents and siblings. I’m sincerely hoping that my two-year-old doesn’t know yet. It’s bad enough that I think he’s inwardly appalled by my dress sense without that. So far, he only looks at me quizzically when we’re watching Thomas the Tank Engine together and I chuckle along with him and say, “But Ringo really should have said Percy was going more and more quickly. ‘Quicker’ is a comparative adjective.” My hope is that the quizzical look isn’t really his silent way of saying, “You disgust me, Mummy. Go away and think about what you’ve said.” At least, so far, I’ve refrained from placing any outward pressure on him to get things right himself, though it’ll be my proudest hour when he turns round and says, “Um, it should be whom does Daddy love.”
But to the rest of the world, I’m a mild-mannered, largely nice person, as far as I know. I’m only a bit of an ass in fiction. And that’s comfortable for me, because I can always say “That’s just what my character said,” or sometimes, in extreme situations, “Death of the author, you know,” because I know that’s actually what they’re planning.
So here you are, Daily Press. I’m going out on a limb for you, splurging and spilling my non-fictional heart out and coming out as the worst grammar militant the world has known. Here, now, I declare myself Grammar Gyth.
Do your worst, world.