Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Not a Back-Burner Day

By Kelley Lindberg

I have few hours and many projects today. I’m working on two medical writing assignments, I’m teaching a junior high class about writing and settings, and I’m overdue for a blog post. It’s a simple fact that my creative writing must stay on the back-burner today. So what did I just do?

I wrote a poem.

There are days when the urge to write is easily lost amid the rubble and scree of daily obligations. And then there are days when the urge becomes urgent, and nothing can conspire to keep the words trapped in their little dark cages inside.

Those are the days we writers live for. The days when we remember that we are, in fact, writers, even when it seems more appropriate to be something else – something more pedestrian, like employees or spouses or parents.

So we spill out our words and gleefully watch them spread across the white page like a bloodstain, and we promise those noisy, daily obligations that they can have their way with us again tomorrow.

But not today. Today is not a back-burner day.

Today I write.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Grammar Trolling in Christmas Songs

By Kelley Lindberg

Ever wonder why Christmas carols get away with language and grammar we’d never use in ordinary conversation? Of course not. You have much better things to do with your time than that, such as dashing through the snow to the grocery store to buy those two dozen rolls your spouse volunteered to take to tomorrow’s company potluck lunch.

But just in case you’re sitting in the waiting room at the tire store while they put snow tires on your car and you need to read something that makes you say, “Hmmm” (besides three-year-old Sports Illustrated magazines), writer Arika Okrent kindly spent way too much time analyzing the language usage in a handful of favorite Christmas songs for the Mental Floss website. Check it out here: “6 Grammar Points to Watch Out For in Christmas Songs.” (Am I the only one bothered by the fact that the preposition “for” is capitalized in the title of an article about grammar? And let’s not even mention the fact that the numeral at the beginning of the title isn't spelled out. And isn't the word "Out" unnecessary? But I digress.)

I confess I was a little disappointed that she didn't even mention “wassailing.”

Next time you’re wandering through Target and “God Rest Ye/You Merry, Gentlemen” begins blasting for the eightieth time through the overhead loud speakers, I guarantee you’ll catch yourself listening.