Irreconcilable Logics (5)

The rules for writing in literary English are regularly violated for artistic reasons. The most frequent breaches are to show dialect. My favorite example is Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, the novel by Mark Twain. The unique writing in that book would have lost much of its zest had Twain followed the rules.

I do the same in all my writing. For example, the quotations from characters whose native language is not English pepper the text of Last of the Annamese. The first case is on page 2:

“‘That the phosphorus,’ the woman said. ‘It still burning in his skin. Mother Monique say they try to cut it out. No can do. He dying now.’”

I also use it for Ike, a colored Marine, who sometimes reverts to black English. When he’s asked what time a cake cutting is planned, he answers, “We set it for 2100 so’s we could clear out by curfew.”

The logic underlying the rules and when they can be broken is unique to writing. It doesn’t apply to other disciplines, and the logic of other disciplines doesn’t apply to writing. It’s another irreconcilable logic.

Learning to think in unique logic systems has been of immense value to my primary calling in life, writing. I figured out how to apply the fundamental logic of music to my writing by reading texts aloud and listening for tonal and rhythmic subtleties. And the structure and rules of languages other than English taught me to reshape sentences and paragraphs and blend in vocabularies I could not have discovered any other way.

The knowledge of irreconcilable logics, in short, has enriched my writing.

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