The Shutterfly Edition
He was pulp fiction with expletives & explosions,
she, Harlequin Christian romance
with exaltation & exclamations of everlasting love.
They gave their fans what they wanted,
& though their work only endured
till the next author came around,
they made a good side income
freelancing for the local newspaper—
he, covering the grit & gristle of hard news,
& she, the cream & fluff of soft news.
When Comma sailed on a scholarship to Oxford College—
in nothing but a pinafore & saddle shoes—
having unearthed her earthly purpose at Harvard,
she discovered her divine purpose through her thesis on clarity,
& thus became
the Oxford Comma.
They Couldn’t Take it With Them
When Miss Grammarly & Miss Writerly—
2 spinsters who unraveled yarns
& whose punctuation rained
on a mathematician’s parade
like music notes in a sour serenade—
passed on to that great Writing Lab in the sky,
they found that their favorite mark,
the non-committal Semicolon,
had not made it past the mother-of-pearly gates,
for when S.C. had reached the end
of its life sentence,
it hadn’t known whether to pause
or stop altogether,
& so it chose to continue
to haunt English majors
& thus remain,
of their earthly existence.
Em Dash was as innumerate
as En Dash was illiterate,
but when they did a DNA test,
they realized they were descended from the Hyphen,
who separated words & numbers
& helped women keep their maiden name
while taking their married name, too.
When Lady Apostrophe
went to her daily therapy sessions,
she became increasingly indignant
over Dr. Dew Nothing’s diagnoses:
delusions of grandeur—
as Lady felt like she was the only thing
that held two words together—
& a slew of imaginary frenemies
whom she addressed (rather poetically).
having sent Lady Apostrophe on her way
with a 90-day supply of chill pills—
preferred Miss Period,
who only bothered her once a month
& would be gone
long before she retired.
When Readerly, Writerly, & Grammarly
wandered into a minibar.
Readerly entertained herself with reading the menu
& Writerly, with making it more interesting,
while Grammarly punctuated the pauses in Readerly’s speaking
& proofed the edits that Writerly had lovingly made.
Different facets of the same person,
they made a great team,
for were smart enough not to consume anything
from the minibar,
with its absentee mixologist,
& chilly atmosphere.
The Shutterfly Edition
He was tuxedo English,
but when he decided to correct her grammar
she looked him up
& matched his clean words with dirty ones
to coax him out of his clothes,
only to discover that this stuffed shirt
under all that spiffy black-&-white
was a T-shirt that didn’t know
to separate itself from red.
She wrote fiction
when she wanted to forget herself;
when she wanted to remember herself;
but when she wanted to just be herself,
she wrote poetry.
As a writer,
she didn’t let people live rent-free in her head,
evicted them to the page
& gave them their just desserts,
which were anything but
just or sweet.
When Sticky Fingers Sal & Pickpocket Pearl
were strolling out of Curl Up & Dye,
Sal, distracted by a Grammar Nazi on strike,
slipped & fell into a plot hole.
Pearl, always quick with her hands,
reached into the man’s pocket
& stole the ultimate weapon—
his dangling modifier.
She held it down for Sal who,
even after her rescue,
just wouldn’t let go of it.
He was a tautogram,
she, an anagram.
They were socially-awkward individuals,
for he got his tongue all twisted,
just as she was all mixed up.
He was White Wine,
chilled to perfection;
she was Red Wine,
perfect as she was.
Then along came
all fancy & bubbly in her flute
& saying to Red & White
that they were mere
lunch & dinner accompaniments,
whereas she was the star
of holidays & weddings.
But then she met Beer,
who was enjoyed out of the tap,
& the can,
& she realized that his fans
would enjoy him
from any vessel.
She practiced her periods every month,
her commas whenever she needed to take a breath,
& her semicolons during those times
when she felt like a nut
& didn’t feel like a nut
at the same time.
a passel of 7 devils—
the Comma Queen
with their incessant need
so much so,
that she chose to sacrifice
for the Semicolon.
When the Writing Lab
decided to give
performance art a shot
by putting on a play,
it was fraught with errors:
The sentences ran on too long
& there were too many commas—
all the while semicolons
unsure of their placement.
The villain was a dangling modifier,
which was a problem,
as no one knew what it was;
by the time the audience figured it out,
the story had been killed.
He was Times New Roman,
feeling superior with his flair at every end;
she was Arial,
feeling equally so with her minimalistic look.
When Comic Sans came along,
crossing their lines & bleeding into their text,
they collaborated with Calibri
& sought to kick this whimsical little upstart
off the Typography Team.
The Shutterfly Edition
Her poetic license had no expiration date,
for she went around putting line breaks
where she thought they should be,
inserting the Oxford comma wherever she went,
omitting needless words,
for just as brevity was literary minimalism,
clarity was literary purity.
When she brainstormed,
her fingers were like lightning
across the keyboard,
her words like thunder
as she hammered away at a clump of words
to create a viable human-interest story.
It was reading, writing, & arithmetic
in grammar school,
academics, arts, & athletics
Sara Lee Storey excelled in the arts,
writing about the academics,
& editing the words of those
who wrote about athletics.
The Shutterfly Edition
Miss English stood before her mirror,
curled her apostrophes & quotation marks,
which made her look quite smart,
ensured her conjunctions coordinated,
& that her tittles defied just the right amount of gravity.
When she broke down on the information superhighway
& moseyed into the skiddy comments section of Reddit,
she learned the language of the emoticon
& that for those who talked too much,
punctuation & misspellings didn’t matter.
Through her typewriter,
the introvert known as Elizabeth von Baron
became known as Dear Libby,
so that as she became established in the spirit,
in the flesh,
She scribbled on the walls,
a pre-literate graffiti,
a magenta crayon being her tool of choice.
She drew her stories on the carbon paper
her mother brought home,
each picture numbering 1000 words.
She wrote her stories in black-&-white
stories that rewrote her history—
so that she became the worst sort
of unreliable narrator,
for she plagiarized from no one’s life,
not even her own.
Sometimes she just wanted to say,
or that the use of the words “thing” and “stuff”
& the overuse of “very” and “really”
qualified as “enough was enough.”
She was a 1000-piece puzzle
who lost a piece every time
she read an essay that sought to answer the question,
“Is Google Making Us Stupid?”
So, she learned to start from scratch—
just as she had learned to bake—
for as much as she learned the Why
(even though she already knew the How),
she also learned that patience
was a learned virtue—
& that it was easier to do than teach.