You’re, Your and… You’r

“You’r eyes light up my day.”

I saw this sentence today and felt like a new level of grammatical/spelling error has been reached by whoever wrote this. I have often seen people confuse “your” and “you’re”, but for someone to almost invent a new word to communicate something makes me feel a little frustrated. To me, it seems like we are losing a certain part of communication through language, something that made it fluid and graceful. Grammar and spelling rules may not be for everyone, and I’m not criticising anyone for their grammatical or spelling errors, but I get the impression that many people are a lot more careless with these aspects of language than they used to be. Because of this, I feel like the power words used to possess – the power to paint a picture, to take someone to an altogether different world – is being diminished.

I view language somewhat like a ballet dancer, and admire its elegance. As much as words can be used to harm, they can equally be used to convey ideas, evoke thoughts and to heal. To me, basic grammar and spelling are essential in using language to its full potential, just like pointe shoes are needed for a ballet dancer to dance on the tip of her toes. Well fitting pointe shoes support and protect her, and when this is combined with her skill, a beautiful dance results.

Language can be beautiful too, and I feel that part of that beauty is attributed to correct use of grammar and spelling. I recently read an article that raised an interesting idea: teenagers are following their own rules of spelling and grammar when communicating with each other. This may be true, but I feel that ‘your’ has a lot more beauty (and seems to show a lot more care) than ‘ur’.

Originality

Literature has been around for a long time. Reading a book called A Little History of Literature by John Sutherland, I have very quickly realised (as the author himself states) that the history of literature is anything but little. As an aspiring author, this makes me both happy and a little bit… nervous. I love the idea that if I manage to become a successful author one day, I will be able to add something meaningful to literature, to which countless masterpieces have been contributed. Even if my piece of literature may not be anything close to their standards, it would be brilliant to be a part of something so vast that it spreads to nearly every nook and cranny of the world.

On the other hand, I wonder if I will ever be able to write something that will be truly new. It is true, as Sir Isaac Newton put it, that one can see further by “standing on the shoulders of giants”, but nevertheless, each timeless work seems to have something new, something original to it that makes it the masterpiece it is.

Right now, I’m not aiming to create a masterpiece. I don’t think I’m at a level of expertise where I can even begin to create a masterpiece. But participating in NaNoWriMo has led me to wonder this about any piece of writing I create – will anything I ever write be absolutely original? If I write, “The sky darkened as if someone had spilled ink onto it” how will I know whether this simile has already not been worn out? When describing a stormy day, I’m sure that the phrases ‘whistling/howling wind’ or ‘steel grey sky’ have already been used. I’m not insinuating that they can’t be used again, but will this impede any piece from being original?

I don’t know very much about writing yet. I know that imagination, creativity, practice and of course, writing from the heart can take one a long way. But until I can learn about the intricate mechanics of literature in more depth, I guess I will just have to keep writing (whether what I write seems fresh and original or old and dreary) because that, to me, is the best way to learn.

National Novel Writing Month

Today, I started reading a book entitled ‘No Plot? No Problem!’ by Chris Baty. He is the founder of National Novel Writing Month, during which, you guessed it, participants write a novel in a month. He mentions that NaNoWriMo, as they call it, starts at the beginning of November, which is, you guessed it, tomorrow. What a coincidence that I happened to read this book today, when National Novel Writing Month starts just a day after.

Destiny? 

Probably not. As happy as I am to learn about this just in time, I would actually have preferred more time to prepare. Nevertheless, I have decided to participate, because how else will I learn, if I don’t try (and possibly fail)?

The 50,000 words that will officially turn a ‘short story’ into a ‘novel’ seem further away than Mars, but wish me luck! And if you feel like battling writer’s block, flat characters, humongous plot holes and other kinds of hurdles encountered while ‘noveling,’ then sign up too!