Sometimes on the way to your dream,

you get lost and find a better one.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

there are no neurons firing in my brain today

Instead I have a dense cloud of hayfever induced fog.
Which should dissipate as soon as the antihistamines take effect.

So instead of writing something that possibly won't make any sense, I'll give you a few descriptions of the  wind in a storm from the book I'm currently reading.

Shutter Island, by Dennis Lehane.

The blurb on the back of the book tells me this has been made into a movie, the story is interesting enough for me to look for it at places like JBHifi, Amazon etc. in spite of the fact that it stars Leonardo DiCaprio.
(I'm not a fan...)

The descriptions:
  • A chunk of something passed so close to his head he could feel it kiss his hair.
  • The wind was thick with dirt and leaves, tree branches and rocks and always the rain and it squealed like a pack of boar and shredded the earth.
  • An angry thing that turned waves into towers and chewed houses into matchsticks and could lift him in its grasp and throw him to China.
  • An entire tree swept past the door, upside down, its roots sprawling upward like horns.
  • The door ripped free of its sole remaining hinge and smashed back into the doorway, and they watched it hammer the stone and then lift into the air and shoot above the graveyard and disappear into the sky.
You'll notice Dennis Lehane uses a lot of "and" in his writing.

When I was in school, if we had to write a 500 word essay, my English teacher told us this was a lazy way of filling out the page and we'd be deducted a point from our score for every "and" we used where we could have put a comma or another word.
To this day, I try to not use too many "ands" in my writing.
(they do seem to creep in, don't they?)


  1. I think in this case the authors use of "and" keeps the action moving and adds a sense of urgency. At any rate, I hardly noticed it and I usually do notice an annoying repetition of one word. Lovely descriptions. Another book to add to my "play" list.

  2. Hi River,

    Hay fever in Winter - don't you just love Australia ;-)

    I've seen Shutter Island - great film. You should see it.




  3. Poor River. I think hayfever is like a heavy headcold - makes a person feel miserable out of all proportion to the severity of the illness. Hope the antihistamine kicks in soon.

  4. I see the uses of and in this case as effective... um ... and rhythmic. I do, however know what your teacher meant. There is something different about writing normal narrative or exposition. Perhaps that's what makes the use of "and" so effective here. It gave me a sort of breathless, tumbling feeling of the storm. Interesting excerpt.

    It doesn't seem to me as if there is something lacking in your brain here at all! But hayfever still stinks and I hope you get out from under it soon.

  5. I hope you hayfever clears soon, and your point about too many 'ands' is quite valid and well made and I too was taught not to use too many 'ands' and not to begin a sentence with an 'and' and I have pretty well ignored what I was taught. And I just noticed, you can certainly fill space with 'ands'.

  6. What an amazing sight it would be to see a upside down tree floating past your front door. Hope you recover from your hayfever really soon :-).

  7. Delores; you're right, it does keep the action moving along.

    Plasman; it's summer here, but I do get hayfever in winter too. I'm allergic to different things at different times of the year.

    EC; I usually just get the really heavy head and sinus pain, this year I have all that and the runny nose, sneezing and itchy eyes. Most of Adelaide appears to be suffering.

    JeanetteLS; in this case the "and' does keep things moving along and carries the suspense a little too.
    The hayfever fog has lifted now, I'm thinking again.

    Andrew; the head has cleared, although the hayfever never really goes away.
    I use "and" to begin sentences too, although I try to avoid too many.

    Windsmoke; now that you mention it, I never want to see an upside down tree going past my door. The hayfever has eased for now.

  8. Why do you read that shit?

    As someone who is always interesting I know what's bad.

  9. Love Chunks likes his books as well but I agree with you re the overuse of 'and' and think he's more interested in getting the story told than trying to mesmerise us with setting a scene or dwelling too much on the inner lives and backgrounds of his characters.

    I hope your visit by Madame Hayfever is a very brief one and that she finds another people to annoy (hello Andrew Bolt) instead.

  10. R.H. it was the next book on the pile....and I liked the story. I probably read a lot of what you might think is awful.

    Kath Lockett; I love your new little avatar picture very much.
    There isn't a lot of "ands" in most of the story, just the very descriptive parts. Regardless, I enjoy the stories and have three of his books now.
    I'm afraid Madame Hayfever is a permanent visitor here, I just wish she hadn't brought along her cousins also.