It all started with an apostrophe. Well, not all, of course. There is talk of the Big Bang or God or something else that started it all off. By “all”, I mean this current thought.
I did something I never, but NEVER do (and you have to take my word for it, although why should I expect you to do so when I just did what I said I never do?). I put an apostrophe where it shouldn’t be.
An apostrophe where it shouldn’t be? How could that be? Not now, not then, not before, not after; an apostrophe is never not where it should be, but always where you feel it shouldn’t be. (anon – well, not really – with a nod to Dr. Seuss)
Not only did I commit that sin, but it was a cardinal sin because I am supposedly a writer. And…it gets worse…I put in the offending mark on my publisher’s facebook page, with thousands of people seeing it in its offensive glory.
All this got me thinking about the weight we writers bear and bare. I mean, everyone makes the occasional lapse with grammar and/or spelling. Is it not human to err? Yes, but writers aren’t supposed to be errers – not when it comes to writing. After all, is it not to writers that lesser mortals turn in order to see how the craft is, well, crafted? And, oh, what Schadenfreude would be derived from seeing mistakes made by those who… You get the message.
The pitfalls are huge. No, greater than that. I can’t just scribble off a note (even if I knew how to do that on a keyboard); I have to make doubly sure that every letter, word and sentence is perfect. Gone are the days of casual written rejoinders, pithy or otherwise.
If the truth be known (and who says that subjunctives don’t exist in English?), I hadn’t worried about it until I made that faux apostrophe pas. I hadn’t felt the weight of punctuation pressing on me, nor the responsibility I carried for all writers out there. One mistake like that errant apostrophe and the resultant comments would be directed to “writers,” not the poor soul whose trembling finger did not temporarily connect with his worn-out brain. One writer and one brain. Give us a break, will you, please?