In 2006, my former flat mate from Lithuania wrote her first ever paper in English. Seeing that she could do with a little assistance, I offered her to proofread her essay. For me that was the beginning of a long and winding path to perfection when it comes to text: I just have to get anything in writing down to a gnat ‘s eyebrow.
Gawdon Bennet! My dicshunary is me castle! When introduced to the world of starry-eyed do-gooders of language, I quickly suffered from a severe case of referential lookup wizardry. Years of neglectful ignorance towards common rules of grammar, spelling, punctuation and neat expression needed a lot of catching-up.
Doh-doh-doh-doh! Maybe this is what turned me into a bit of a linguistic control freak. I just couldn’t relax anymore, whether it was when reading fiction or facts. Much to the dismay of my immediate surroundings, I soon developed this nasty habit of correcting my friends and colleagues as well. And obviously that’s nothing anybody is quite fond of.
This is when I steered away from typos and got into typography. That was around 4 years ago, and ever since I’ve been discovering the detailed geography of the world of fonts. Typesetting, calligraphy, serifs and non-breaking space – there is a universe of distinguishing typeface features out there! And remember: an apostrophe is a single upper 9-shaped quotation mark! Admittedly, this discipline is a lot about how to present written messages in a perfect way.
But there is also beauty in imperfection. This is something I learnt on realising that making a gaffe or an error of form can indeed have a positive effect on text. One of my favourite blog posts deals with using redundant quotation marks. Highly “recommended”!
Some might say “is it really that important”? To which I would reply “absolutely!” as written messages can either deliver ideas in a pertinent way, or they can fail, at least to a certain extent. And this is why I also put great stress on punctuation, uniform writing style as well as attention to typographic details.