See — They’re Just Like Us!

Robert Roe

I have no illusions about my writing ability. To be honest, I consider your weekly patronage a kindness which I can never hope to repay. Especially when one considers the literary Giants who have put thoughts to paper throughout man’s existence. To think that…huh? What’s that? Humanity’s greatest authors played fast and loose with spelling and grammar, as well? Tell me more!

Let’s start with literary darling George R. R. Martin of “Game of Thrones” fame. From his book “A Dance with Dragons,” came this nugget: “I am beautiful, she reminded himself.”

Apparently, Jane Austen was fond of double negatives, as shown in this passage from “Emma:” “She owned that, considering every thing, she was not absolutely without inclination for the party.”

But that ain’t got nothing on the run-on sentences of Charles Dickens, as he expounds in A Tale of Two Cities: “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair…” A Seinfeldian “Yada Yada Yada” might have sufficed.

Moving on to my favorite poet who didn’t write “The Rodeo Song.” One of the gifts I received from Mason County High School was an appreciation for poet E.E.Cummings, whose personal quirk was to eschew most capitalization in his work. My personal favorite: “since feeling is first/who pays any attention/to the syntax of things/will never wholly kiss you;/wholly to be a fool/while Spring is in the world/my blood approves,/and kisses are a better fate/than wisdom/lady i swear by all flowers. Don’t cry/– the best gesture of my brain is less than/your eyelids’ flutter which says/we are for each other; then/laugh, leaning back in my arms/for life’s not a paragraph/And death i think is no parenthesis/” *Sigh* I never tire of that poem.

From author Robert Heinlein comes “Stranger in a Strange Land,” featuring a character whose name alternates between Alice and Agnes throughout the book.

In “Robinson Crusoe,” Daniel Defoe’s famous castaway strips down naked and swims out to his sinking ship to salvage supplies…which he brings back to shore by shoving them into his pockets.

Have you ever heard of the “Wicked Bible?” It is a 1631 edition of the King James Bible by Robert Baker and Martin Lucas. Thanks to an error, the 7th Commandment exhorts readers “Thou shalt commit adultery.” Only around 10 copies remain, each worth a small fortune.

Henry Miller seriously could have used a proofreader. His “Tropic of Cancer” contained many errors, including the wonderfully eccentric ““He listend to me incompletebewilderment.”

Even the Bard was not immune. Pray thee take a gander at yon passage from William Shakespeare’s “Julius Caesar,”

When Marc Antony says, “This was the most unkindest cut of all.” Shakespeare with the double superlative and the win!

There you have it – persons way smarter than I, Esteemed Authors who would have had points docked in Freshman English. Aspiring writers everywhere, Rejoice! It happens to the best of us.

Robert Roe