The Pedantulum Swings

There is a curse among copywriters - the inability to read anything without automatically proofreading it, too.

If you are friends with any writers, you'll know how hard we find it not to point out every punctuation, spelling and grammar mistake we see in newspapers, ad copy, even blog posts.

"Why do you do that?" people ask us. "Why don't you just ignore it?"

Well, y'know when you're listening to the radio in the car, and you drive under a bridge, and Adele goes:

"Never mind, I'll find CKKKRRKWWWKRR you-ooou..." ?

That's what it feels like inside our heads when we hit a grammatical speed bump. It's like static interference blocking out the message of the text; like the water jump in the steeplechase of the page.

Just as you or I might not notice one wrong note in a concerto (unless you happen to be a concert pianist, in which case I apologise...), many people can probably skim over a typo or an incorrect word choice without really noticing it.

But writers work with words every day, and we love them. And inside our hearts, there's this little pendulum marking out the metre of everything we read - tick tock, tick tock, nouns, verbs, phrases, clauses, all carefully constructed and sequenced to make the page sing.

And then you see 'stationary' instead of 'stationery', or 'forego' instead of 'forgo', or (more commonly) 'there' instead of 'their'.

Sometimes you get a really bad sentence and it's akin to the piano lid falling on the pianist's fingers - there's just no way to ignore it.

I call this the pedantulum, the rhythm of righteousness, the discord of truly dismal writing. It clocks us off balance good n proper, and no mistake.

So don't judge us too harshly for being pedantic - you have no idea how loud the proofreader within is screaming each time we see 'accomodation' or a 'desert menu' or 'food alergies'...


Forgive the glitchy handwriting, this was written at 4am as fast as I could get the words down on paper...

Our footsteps will always echo in the places where we ran
hand in hand, feet flying, unafraid that we might fall
or pull each other to the ground.

Over grass we flew, over cobbles and concrete,
down the lane, across the street,
each somehow leading; neither, never, behind.

No broken flags to trip us, no bollards to block our way,
but a clear run, on and on,
out of the town and into the fields.

And there, a slip;
a sudden relaxation of my grip,
a hand once full, now empty.

You lead us now, my love,
down cobbled lanes into leafy glades,
always one step ahead
while I, behind, reach to take your hand once more.

My footsteps will always follow in the echoes of your own.

But you lead us now; look ahead, my love,
and never turn to look behind,
never, neither, try to find
my hand with your own.

My feet fly, never to fall, waiting for the day you soar
and climb within my reach.

Hand in hand, I will lift you higher, unafraid
while beneath us, in the places where we ran,
our footsteps will always echo.

'Echoes', December 9th 2015, 4:16am.