Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Thoughts on Books....

Books, specifically Fantasy and Science Fiction novels have been a love of mine for some time. In comparison to most people, I came on them latter in my life, In high school I had read Tolkien and Heinlien but it wasnt until after High school I began to consume them with great relish. I am not the best study of my own language, as many of my posts suggest, I surpass perhaps only Cave drawings in grammatical and spelling ability. it suffices to say that my many handicaps never diminished my love of books and the journeys they took me.

I have been reading the 2nd edition of a Novel written by a friend, while reading it I was trying to figure out how to pronounce some of the names in the book, in doing so a dark and dusty door to my past opened up. Like a cloudy wipe to a cheesy flashback scene, I was remembering with some hesitation talking about Tolkien when I was a teenager, invariably every time I mention the name of a place or person I would be corrected to the point where I purposefully never mentioned names I wasnt sure how to pronounce out of fear of being branded the “Dult of Bree”, but today I began to think “wait a gawd darn minute!”.

How could I be wrong? when I read, I am not watching the authors “Movie”, I am watching my Movie filmed with his script. Yes I agree, The authors vision of his or hers story is the unblemished original however doesnt it get “re-imagined” with every different person that reads the book? Is’nt in fact the book the script that gets re-writes from our mind, a mind that turns those prose into a vision that forms on the 3d HD super high def screens of our imagination?

I guarantee that no one else's vision of starship troopers takes the same imaginary vision as mine... and it shouldnt, perhaps that is the draw of literature, why it is so popular, we read into it what we want, our subconscious fills in the the blanks and we become a collaborator in the story. Perhaps this is why a writer can print “Before him stood the indescribable horror” and 1000 different readers have a 1000 different terrors lurching forward in their minds.

I am sure this has all been covered before by men in tweed coats that smoke pipes and correct young kids on the pronunciation of Baron Harconian’s Mentates name but for obvious reasons ( I.E. my appearance on the English departments “top 10 offenders” list) it just dawned on me. I am never wrong, in how a name is spoken, in the name of the destination of a quest, The face of the hero, the style of a weapon even the look of the setting sun, are all correct and in accordance to the way it should be.

Out there, there are book nazis, who love to banter about the correct pronunciation of this or that Hero’s name in the accent tongue of whatever, then shove their or the authors version down your throat... like some holy relic of a secret ultra-right purity squad waiting to escort the heretics to the suicide chambers for repeated violations. Dont fear these people, but be safe in the knowledge that the images that formed in your head as you turned the pages, that lifted you from your bumpy seat on the bus, from a lonely room or depressing workplace to those magical lands that offered you escape... are never wrong.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hallelujah, brother. After playing EQ for 5 years and pronouncing the names the way I read them, and then actually seeing other people who played face-to-face and having them correct my pronunciation of imaginary places, I too rebelled against the grammar fascists. I've extended it to my own writing too. I know you aren't supposed to dangle a participle (and honestly, I'm not even 100% sure what that even means), but I do it all the time (I think - it's where you say something like "the park she took her kids to" instead of "the park to which she would take her kids", right?). I don't care. We use that kind of speech all the time verbally. English is a living, changing language. It ain't Latin. If we do something verbally all the time without being corrected - and language is nothing more than a means of communicating our verbal language in coded symbols - then why can't I write however I want as long as the point I am trying to make is easily understood?

Then again, maybe I'm just defensive for not caring much about grammar. And it still feels weird saying "KEY-nos" for me.