I cannot imagine that all of these rules and grammatically correct styles are in constant use. For, if that were the case, not a single word would ever be written. I am, therefore, weak in grammar and syntax because I am forced to be or I could never write a single word.
At this point in my life, I write still. I remember the Hodges’ Harbrace Handbook. I remember every Revision Symbol inside the cover. I edit for logic — he bane of my existence – – and effectiveness.
I remember the effect that The Norton Reader had, and still does have, on my writing. It is truly difficult enough for me to gather my thoughts logically as I begin to write. When confronted with the various authors and their styles in the Reader, I am confused doubly about what I am to bring to the reading of this book as well as what I am obliged to take from it.
I come looking for examples of literary styles and find them: But what should they mean to me in the context of my current writing?
Should I try to write like William Zinsser? Should I write with an analytical slant, as did John Hold in his essay about how children learn to hate reading because of certain teachers?
Should the topic of my writing determine my writing style: Or is this something that I shall know automatically as I become a more experienced writer?
I wonder if all of those special people whose writings I read as a child to contend with their own set of problematic rules like those plaguing contemporary would-be writers? There was certainly no evidence from their work that the Nortons or Hodges’ or other arcane rules of the time blocked their curiosity about a topic.
They simply continued to write; indeed, so shall I.