Monday, March 8, 2010

Booking It--Grammar

In honor of National Grammar Day … it was “March Fourth” after all … do you have any grammar books? Punctuation? Writing guidelines? Style books?

More importantly, have you read them?

How do you feel about grammar in general? Important? Vital? Unnecessary? Fussy?

Well, in my office I have several grammar handbooks, and I have one at home. The Little, Brown Handbook is my favorite, probably because it was my undergrad grammar textbook/handbook. Of course I have Strunk and White's Elements of Style--who doesn't? Other than that, I have Eats, Shoot, and Leaves, but I must confess that I haven't read it. Grammar, to me, is important and necessary--vital, even. However, it doesn't rate as entertainment. I'd rather spend my time reading correctly punctuated, grammatically correct, well-written literature than reading about grammar. But, hey, if that's your thing, don't let my negativity hinder you!

Furthermore, I don't enjoy reading "how-to" books about writing, either. They are so technical, and they seem to rob the craft of its mystique and authors of their personality. However, I do love it when good writers write about how they write (writing that sentence made me smile)--especially when they get away from the technicalities of writing to the realities of being a writer. What really intrigues me is how the ways they choose to live and experience life impacts their writing and their analysis of this connection. I really enjoyed Eudora Welty's One Writer's Beginnings, and Anne Lamott is a favorite. I've got Stephen King's On Writing, but I haven't gotten around to reading it yet. I've read plenty more "writing memoirs," but I can't recall them right now. Mostly, what these books do for me is remind me that each life has moments worthy of preserving through the written word, if one is only observant enough, thoughtful enough, and willing to do the hard work of expressing life and meaning through the written word.


Ash said...

Wow - I really need to pay more attention to grammar, especially as the daughter of an English teacher (who in turn is the daughter of an English teacher)...yikes. But too much thought on grammer really sucks the joy out of writing for fun.

Stephanie said...

Yes, it does. And being an English teacher, I'm always stressed out that I'll post something that I've dashed off and THEN I'll notice the grammar mistakes or the typos or the repetitive word use or . . .