Life on punctuation

th-14Undoubtedly those of you who have been regular readers of the Catch for some time have become accustomed to recognizing Marti’s writing. She loves long sentences. She loves things to go on and on and on. She jumps from one thing to another without warning. That’s because her mind is racing ten times faster than she can write, and she doesn’t have the patience to take you from one thought to the next; you’re supposed to catch up to her. Read her mind. Join her at her pace. Come on folks, life is happening here, and you don’t want to miss anything!

This is why Marti’s most useful punctuation mark is the comma. Marti thinks of life as a series of events separated by commas. She’d be happy if the period never came. Gertrude Stein writes that “a comma is a poor period that lets you stop and take a breath.” I am frequently introducing commas into Marti’s writing so at least we can take the breath even if she doesn’t. And she rarely does.

And you say you have a hard time reading Marti’s writing? You should have seen it before you got it. I am Marti’s heavy-handed editor. I have to come at her stuff with a machete, and I have to slow her down long enough to have her tell me what she meant by such and such. (She doesn’t like to have to explain herself; we’re just supposed to get it.) Having to go back and extract her thoughts about something she put into writing a few minutes ago is a slow, sometimes painful, process. That’s ancient history for Marti; she’s well past that now.

Marti hates periods. She never wants anything to end. She has little interest in end times prophesy, and eternity is not a major motivation for her. Marti is a heaven-can-wait kind of person. Unless, of course, you are talking about heaven as another dimension to life that we can experience right now, like in Ephesians, where it says we are seated right now with Christ in the heavenlies. She’s all over that. She thinks Christians spend much too much time on eternity. As if the song were “Sha-la-la-la-la-la live for tomorrow.” Her favorite verse is 2 Corinthians 6:2, “Behold, now is the acceptable time, behold, now is the day of salvation.”

Me, I like short, choppy sentences. I like the finality of truth that a period brings. I could communicate fine without commas. Marti could communicate fine without periods. Together, we’re a sentence.

God is both now, and then. God is the beginning and the end, and everything in between. You need all the punctuation available to tell His story (including question marks), and His story is also our story.

“I have spent most of the day putting in a comma and the rest of the day taking it out.” — Oscar Wilde

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3 Responses to Life on punctuation

  1. I can totally relate to Marti and her writings. And to her “heaven can wait” feelings. Then I just finished a book that is definitely making me think, and rethink. Just when you think you’ve got a mindset, a direction, a purpose, suddenly God drops other stuff in your path. I’m certain Marti can relate to that also!!

  2. Martha Nelson says:

    I LOVE Marti’s free writing style! I write the same way wanting to be sure not to leave a single dot or tiddle out!! Going from one subject to another as the Spirit leads is normal to me! Go girl!!
    Drives my husband NUTS

  3. Steve Oswalt says:

    I just celebrated my 38th wedding anniversary with a woman whose mind seems very similar to Marti. My wife, Kathy, always is a dozen thoughts ahead of me and most everyone else. Of course, this frustrates all of us, but I have come to realize as different as we are, our marriage and our friendship was not accidental. This is just further evidence of why God is perfect in everything He does.

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