Friday, December 3, 2010

Period Space Space

After a recent conversation with my husband, I have confirmed two things that I've known about myself for quite some time:

I am stubborn.
I do not like to change comfortable things for arbitrary reasons.

I was taught to type with two spaces following a period.  Just like that.  I type that way because it is the way I learned to type, though my husband, a mere 3 years younger learned and was forced to use a single space to separate his sentences.  I didn't know the technical reasons behind it.  Mavis Beacon never told me, and I never asked.  MLA has changed in more ways than I care to think about since my days of term papers and essays, and since I'm not a formal writer, I... don't care.  This is just one more area where I agree with Allie Brosh: Double Space Forever! 

The double space may be "an artifact left over from manual-type and typewriters where characters could not be kerned to correct for the relatively tiny space a period takes up,"* but I work off of muscle memory and sheer determination, so stopping to delete an instinctive space just isn't going to happen until I'm forced to by the folks at MLA, Chicago Manual of Style, or the AP Stylebook.  They'll have to send their ninja-like assassins after me with a long list of crimes including: abuse of the dash, disregard for the semi-colon, defamation of the parentheses, ignoring natural sentence breaks in favor of dangerously long run-on sentences, and questionable grammatical constructs.  Until that time, I will continue to bend, twist, and abuse the English language to fit my own whims.  I will use the Oxford optional comma.  In fact, I will use commas as breath marks, because that's the way I talk.  It's a combination of stubbornness rooted in laziness fed to the fire of indignation over having to change something for no reason that seems valid to the publication in which I write.  Space isn't limited here at the Parade.  Space for all!  Space for spaces, and space for commas, and space for whatever I feel.

I herby denounce all other style guides and vow to write by the Bean Language Association Style Guide.  It goes like this--write like you talk.

That's it.  Oh, wait, an addendum:

(Because it wouldn't be a style guide if it hadn't been changed on the whim of the authors after sobering up or coming down off their soap-box)

Write like you think, or with as many of the things you remember from your schooling years as possible, but if you forget al the myriad rules of grammar and punctuation, don't beat yourself with wet noodles.  Learn the basics.  Understand homophones and how to work spell-check.  Then, go!  Be free!

The End
Gee, this sounds sort of revolutionary, or at least reactionary.  It's not.  I'm hardly unorthodox.  Clinging to old familiar traditions because the new way is functionally useless when applied to my life isn't very cutting edge or exciting.  It's not hip.  It's stodgy.  Ooooh... stodgy.  What a great word!  I'll be un-radical and stodgy about my type formatting, and as I told my hubby, MLA can go suck an egg.  In this one area, I don't particularly care what people think.  If the format and presentation of my round-abou, half-baked, hare-brained ideas is irritating to you, my condolences.  Now go away.  I have punctuation to use precariously.

*My Husband, 2010.  I'm not going to use MLA formatted footnotes to quote him either.  No bibliography or anything.

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