Sunday, October 16, 2022

Writing with a Southern Accent


My favorite form of punctuation is the comma.  I also use a lot of dot-dot-dots (also known as "ellipses") to enable me to continue my "run-on" thoughts in a run-on sentence and to, hopefully, keep it from sounding like I'm "running on."

I confess that I don't always use commas and ellipses correctly, but tend to happily and generously sprinkle them in and amongst my writings to slow down my thoughts as I'm writing ... and to give my reader a chance to pause as he or she is reading my babblings. [Did you notice how you slowed down when you got to the "dot-dot-dots?"]

My own rule of thumb about when to use a comma is quite simple: When I finish writing a story, I read it out loud and when I need to take a breath in between phrases, I insert a comma ... or if I really get short of breath while reading, I will add the little dot-dot-dots, instead of a comma. 

My photography website is called "Photography with a Southern Accent," so I suppose that it's possible that my southern accent could carry over to my style of writing, too.  Could that be the reason I use so many commas to slow it down?

By now, I'm sure you're wondering why in the world I spent valuable time babbling on and on about commas and dot-dot-dots, of all things.  To be honest, as I proofread this, I was kind of wondering the same thing!  

But, at least, in the future ... if you ever read one of my stories again ... maybe you can imagine me reading it to you in my slow, southern drawl, slightly pausing for effect after each little comma and dot-dot-dot.

1 comment:

racheld said...

Oh, SWEETPEA!! It's wonderful to see you again! Seems like forever and yet like last week that we were sharing stories. And you KNOW I'm the master of run-on and commas and words put together with Elmer's and an unabashed user of the DASH---a forbidden three of them, without a space between them and the words. Sentences just crawl across the page, I guess making what Leah calls "YOUR sense, Mama."

I think of you so often, remembering a house ago, when your elegant dining room decor made me blush at our jumble of orange and brown scattered amongst the crayoned pumpkins and Pilgrims hung on fridge, bookshelves, and draped with little clothespins sometimes on blinds or trees and bushes. Your touch with the beautiful has been such a source of delight and comfort to me over the years---our own sense of order has been so disorganized and delayed and scatter-shot for so long, with other things so much more important, but not yet as vital.

I look out now, at my leaf-strewn hostas wilting their lush gold into the beds, and the immense kudzu of the grapevines from house to garage supported with such strong, even wires Chris strung just because I love to look at it. The yard is a "shame before the Lord," as my friend QueenEthel used to say, and I just close my eyes and envision my own sweet Harry standing regal and serene out there in the melee, as he does amongst your luxuriant paths and charming lawn vignettes. Two pink flamingoes lolling drunkenly against a tree do not have the same cache, somehow. You've been a light of inspiration and comfort for a long, long time, just thinking of you there "back home" so far away, with your ordered life and beautiful surroundings, with everything seeming neat and organized, just because it's YOU.

If you ever have a minute, my e-mail is I'd love to hear from you. Lay on the commas and scatter the ellipses---the more elaborate the better. I've been re-reading all of Jane Austen, with a new arrival of THE SILMARILLION and a big compendium of Tolkien's names and words and folk and magic, so I'm rather in a wordy stage myself (not that I ever wasn't). And I've been in Indiana 32 years, and folks STILL remark on my accent. Love and sweet remembrance to you, Faraway Janie. rachel