Run-on Sentences

There is a funny thing that happens sometimes when one is writing, when one sits down to express a simple thought, when one thinks they’ll just quickly jot down something, but the words just keep coming, like there is a rushing river just underneath the surface thoughts, pregnant with freshwater fish and fantastic ideas, a river that seems to have overrun the levees and is dangerously close to destroying everything in sight. One tends to intend to write a certain word or phrase, and while the juices are flowing and the words come thundering out, fingers aggressively thumping the keys as they frightenedly click in protest, admonishing “slow down!” they cry “you’ll break us! You’re readers will get confused! You’ll annoy all the English teachers!” the words come almost too fast, elucidating or contradicting their neighbors, metamorphosing beyond their original intent, freeing themselves from the tyranny of grammar. Things will be plodding along just fine, words jumping from mind to screen at a leisurely pace, message and conventions all intact when, all of a sudden and for not a reason at all, the words just speed up and the thing has yet to’ve been said, the descriptions and exposition stretching out beyond likelihood and legitimacy.


I’ve always had a problem with run-on sentences. I had a teacher in seventh grade who positively hated grading my papers, she said my prose was too dense and I used more words than were necessary to convey the meaning that I intended my readers to get. I always disagreed with her, asserting that I used just as much words, no more and no less, as were required to say what I meant to say. She said it was impossible to follow the course of my writing. I told her it was about enjoying the journey, having fun along the way, and not just about getting to the destination. I disagree with both of us, in retrospect; I understand how difficult it can be to read someone who expounds on the littlest things, trees for the forest and all, but I also can’t stand reading people who clearly take no joy in writing, using things precisely as they should be, executing the formula formulaically and academically presenting the points with not even so much as an acknowledgement of the beauty and complexity of the language in which they are written.


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