Only one !

Writing is hard. (I hear you besmirching my intelligence.) One thing I constantly struggle with is exaggeration and hyperbole. There’s an ancient Bill Cosby skit about Noah trying to collect the animals after building The Ark—”Two mosquitos… male? female?!” and an endless fight with the rabbits, “only two. ONLY TWO!” But this post is about my recent efforts to use only one ‘!’ per post. And you thought that was a stray space there in the title. In this post, I’ve only used one ‘!’ in my punctuation. (Quoted ‘!’ characters I’m accounting to the speaker’s quota. It’s my blog and I’ll make up the rules as I go along, thank-you-very-much.)

One dimension of writing which I find hard is getting the range of expression wide. Quiet in parts, so to speak… err… to write— middle-volume mostly, and just a wee dash of shouting like a Scotsman at level 11. Over on that shouting end, I find that when I’m shift-reaching-for-the-1-key more than once, it’s time to reign that high end in tad. All of which speaks to that old tip about awareness: That which gets measured, gets improved.

Another dimension of writing I struggle with is vocabulary: I get lost reading my dictionary. I get curious about pronunciation—don’t get me started about how dictionaries used to be prescriptive and now are simply lazily being descriptive—and I end up learning for the umpteenth time that hyperbole does not ever rhyme with the little mammal known as a vole. It’s always hyperbole like Brenda-Lee… And, somehow, I thought that the rhymes-with-Brenda-lee pronunciation was a different word that was something like some kind of poetry. Possibly because hyperbole actually does rhyme with poetry? And anyway, on my w-a-y to h-y-, with m-y magnifying glass, I stopped at “Hilbert space” when it caught my e-y-e at the top of another page, as it was said page’s final entry. (What? “n. [David Hilbert] (1911) : a vector space for which a scalar product is defined and in which every Cauchy sequence composed of elements in the space converges to a limit in the space.”) Rats! I forgot what I was talking about.

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