Cormac McCarthy is notoriously sparse with his punctuation. His style relies on periods and commas (not so many commas) and that’s it. No colons or semicolons, no parentheses, no hyphens or quotation marks, nothing that adds unnecessary nuance to a statement that could otherwise be as forthright and relentless as a freight train.
The style is paradoxical. McCarthy’s prose can seem daunting to the casual reader. So many words lined up to course through the plains of your mind, some of them formidable and wild, lined up without the apparatus to separate them and tame them and corral them into form. So much work for the brain. So much effort required, an energy that could be saved by the simple addition of a dash, for example.
McCarthy would put it differently. He’d say, A great portion of the effort and energy required to make a sentence coherent and accessible could be saved by the simple addition of a dash if a dash were necessary. But it isn’t, not if you know what you’re doing.
That kind of writing.
See, there are many ways in which to go about one’s business. Be it writing, acting, directing or presiding — be it banking, investing or divesting. Be it schooling, educating or teaching others, or just plain doing business with other people; be it taking care of a piece of machinery or providing healthcare to those who need it, or building a house, or a skyscraper, or a boundary, whatever one is doing, less is sometimes more, and more is sometimes less, and sometimes, just to throw a wrench in the works and contradict everything I just said because what good would it be not to blow the field wide open in complex topics such as the above . . . creativity and style of management are open to multiplicity. It would be absurd and one-sided not to contradict what we know. We don’t hold back here, we don’t do onesided and monolithic. We observe all angles with interest and curiosity to find what they’re hiding in plain sight and remind ourselves that if we look hard enough we will come up with treasure and provided we know how to handle it we will create value from it and feel better about ourselves and the world we occupy after having devoted the time and energy to not settle for the soylent dicta but instead do as our forefathers did and keep pushing and pushing our way through the obstacles until we make our discoveries and change the way we see things and hand down a manner of going about life that survives the tests of time, hence the reference to our forefathers, people and institutions that successfully created a progeny and legacy and canon for others to draw inspiration from, augmenting the hologram of reality by the power of their pervasive choices.
There! That should do it. All paradox and contradiction, with a little something for all, even an exclamation mark followed by a good old wrap-up after our foray into the unbridled and reflective.
As a wise woman once said: ‘When I have all the answers, I need to go searching for more answers. If I don’t, if I stay put and ask no more, I might as well plant a tombstone on my shoulders.’
This last statement was probably redundant, but I included it for good reason. Redundancy, too, has its merits in a multifaceted world brimming with the plurality of punctuation and style; a world of nuanced perplexity that keeps capturing our imagination, offering insight on how to proceed, recede, or reappraise our standing at any given point in time.
Some, of course, would call it our Denouement, that last little redundancy; a parting gift with which to send everyone off thinking about what they’ve just experienced; something to round things up with a memorable goodbye.
Or is this the real denouement, these last two sentences and everything they entail?
Till the next time.
From the bays of a sunshowered Pearl Coast,
Fish a ton of oysters, strike a shiny pearl or three.