You have to be able to achieve understanding, no deeper than that. The choice of words is a contract between you and your reader. Words shift change through the years, and understanding is organic. Take the age old “can” and “may” argument. You know the one, “Teacher can I?” You get that lecture about the implications of the two words, but anyone with a frontal lobe will understand the kid wants to go to the bathroom. Agreement of subject and verb can be cute, but anyone with common sense can figure that out. And don’t forget local dialect. British and English is NOT the same language, and Texan isn’t even in the same ball park, yet somehow we all seem to understand each other, mostly.
The art of writing is condensing complicated thought down to a form that MOST people can pick up on. When I use the phrase, “If you believe that, have I got a bridge for YOU,” is a clever way of saying, “That’s . . . stupid!” Apply this to political commentary, and it really takes on feathers. Just ask Hillary about emails. Politicians make their bones twisting words, and when they fall short they hire professional liars called “Press Secretaries.” You KNOW this guy is liar, but it’s become a game seeing how much spin he’ll throw in to make the story cook. That’s where the writer comes in. Forget about journalists, they’re out there a spinning with the press secretary.
I have an evil plan in my writing. I want to keep on keeping on, putting out MY ideas, MY way, hoping that if enough people read me maybe, just maybe, they WON’T give us another Barak Obama. I know, I know, when pigs fly. Oh, wait, can I still say pigs? I guess since the pig is flying that makes it conform to Muslim thought where horses fly. Trying to keep up with the ever evolving political correctness meter is like having lunch with an ex-wife. You’re never gonna be right about anything, so just give it up and eat your burger.
While grammar, punctuation and syntax are not overly important in the world of SMH, LOL, and OMG, delivery is still job one, and you REALLY can’t learn THAT in college. Picking the right moment for the insertion of a hook is something you learn by DOING! The public can be a hot chick that everybody gets to date but you. You have to develop that “feel” to where you know the connection. It’s really quite simple, actually. You re-read your stuff a dozen times, and after that, if it “cooks” you’re good to go. Do the math; if you’re fairly normal at least half the people out there are on somewhat the same sheet of music, and if you’re crazy, well that’s the other half.
And speak your MIND! It’s fine to pick up new ideas and agree, but never lie about what you really think. Now, I’m all PC about Gay Marriage, but really, I think they’re all as crazy as an outhouse rat! Hey, I’m from Texas, you just gotta deal with it. I’m mixed on the border. We will always have people trying to sneak into a better life, but shouldn’t we at least have the CIA declare the cargo on all those 747’s bringing in all that COKE across the border? You see, there’s no doubt where I stand, so when some chick out in India jumps my butt I just blow her off.
And racism? Don’t worry about it. The University of Wisconsin just published a list of things that if you say, or do any one of the above then you’re a racist. My initial response was, “Wisconsin has a university?” Is THAT racist? Writers fall into that trap all the time and resort to phrases like “The ‘N’ Word,” to dilute the real thing, but when you use that it just makes people think the real word. I don’t think we have thought control YET. I’m still allowed to THINK the “N” word.
If you don’t get all tangled up in high English, political correctness, or “N” words you’ll probably pen something that people will read and understand. And that’s the key, understanding. If you rattle off a series of five syllable words and no one understands you, then you have basically said nothing, and there you go. . . baptizing that cat.