by Joyce DiPastena
At our last CyberScryber meeting (that’s the new online ANWA chapter group, in case you don’t know), we had a wonderful lesson on the meaning and importance of the all too often taken for granted Period. At the end of the lesson, we were given some exercises to try. One of these exercises suggested writing one entire page without using a period. A second exercise encouraged us to write one entire page where each of our sentences was made up of only six words. I haven’t tried the second exercise yet, but on Sunday afternoon I decided to try the first one. I sat with my feet tucked up all cozy on my living room couch, and wrote out the following in long hand.
The incident below is based on a true experience, although I might have taken a little literary license with the stamping feet and puddle of water. ;-) By the way, for those who might not know, IGI stands for the International Genealogical Index maintained by the Church’s Family History Department.
Janet threw open her apartment door with a bang, stomping the Salt Lake City snow free of her boots, not even caring for the melting puddle of water her action caused on her tile entryway because she was still steaming internally at what she’d discovered while checking the IGI at work, the old computer program that allowed family history researchers to look up temple work that had been performed for their ancestors, only someone had made a horrible mistake with Janet’s ancestor who was only kind of a sideways ancestor since she was Janet’s aunt and still very much alive and should not have had her temple ordinances available for public display, especially since that information was wrong, wrong, wrong because someone had mistaken her aunt’s birthday, stuck an “18” instead of a “19” in front of her birth year, and now her aunt was not only listed in the IGI as being a hundred years older than she was and born before her own parents, but also had suffered the indignity of having her baptism and endowment redone, after she had already done them for herself, and despite Janet’s repeated efforts, she had been unable to get the information corrected and removed, because live people’s information is not supposed to be available in the IGI for privacy reasons, and Janet had had it up to HERE with overzealous, incompetent family history researchers who couldn’t get their facts straight and ended up turning live people into dead ones and sticking them in the IGI.
So, what do you think? Gives you a little more respect for that tiny little period, now doesn’t it? What I wrote above was a straight-through first draft, and obviously would have been much improved by a generous sprinkling of periods. (Not to mention some judicious rewording and reordering, but then, that’s what second drafts are for).
This was a great exercise, and actually turned out to be more fun than I expected. I’d like to challenge each of you to give it a try. If you’d like to share your results, feel free to copy and paste your effort into the comment section of this post. No cheating with colons or semi-colons, mind you, although as you can see from my exercise, commas are liberally allowed. I’d love to see what you come up with!