Why I love the…(on writing, interrupted)

If I could only finish a sentence.

Sometimes, I think my thoughts don’t come out in linear ways anymore. It feels like maybe there isn’t a coherent thought (that begins with a beginning and has a middle and an end) in my head at all. Has having young children around all day given me a form of conversational ADHD? Is writing with dashes all over the place just part of having little folks interrupting me constantly?

Maybe I can’t even think from point A to point B without interrupting myself.

I read recently that writers should never interrupt their own thoughts. Good writing starts, progresses, and finishes. It doesn’t interject with other ideas in the middle of ideas already in progress.

I know I have a bad habit of interrupting myself. I wonder sometimes if I interrupt myself to avoid having others interrupt me. The worst feeling in the world is being talked over, and it happens to me a lot. I can’t finish a sentence without someone asking for more water or to be wiped or to have her ponytail tightened or her velcro on her knight costume adjusted or to have the duct tape torn into smaller strips.

Maybe this is at the root of my love affair with the ellipsis.

I use it liberally, I know. I don’t always end my sentences…sometimes I just leave them hanging while I talk about something else for a minute. It’s not clean and tidy, but neither is my brain. Its inner chambers are littered with bits of colored paper and pencil shavings and paper doll shoes and Legos. Getting from here to there without an interruption isn’t happening very often, so maybe I choose to embrace it? Maybe stream-of-consciousness is just my thing these days.

There’s some freedom in accepting that where we are is where we are. There’s joy in deciding to embrace what’s before us. Maybe this extends to punctuation, too- deciding to go with the flow and use dashes and ellipses with joyful abandon might signify that I’m coming to a peaceful place with my vocation and how it looks right now.

Interruptions abound. Maybe it’s okay that my punctuating reflects that.


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