Obligatory Year-End Post

And Some Ruminations

First off, I’m sorry for having gone silent for months over here. It’s been . . . well, hell. You’re in 2020 just like I am, so you know what it’s been. But additionally, I was quite ill in September and October, and spent a good part of November just existing, so. Kidney stone first found in January led to infection by September (even with a couple of rounds of antibiotics in the months between), which led to renal failure with sepsis and a stent mid-month, and then to a lithotripsy (breaking up the stone by ultrasound) in October. And meanwhile, my husband had bilateral carpal tunnel surgery the week before my lithotripsy, so that was fun.

Then there was finalizing things with the family home, which came to me when Dad died in 2019. It took until this late summer/early fall for me to get with the attorney to update the deed, file papers with the county, get ready for the sale/attend the sale/clean up after the sale, and so on. Doesn’t sound like much, but honestly? It was tiring. Even the paperwork was tiring.

Work got pretty spare this year compared to previous ones, but I managed to keep busy most of the time even if I wasn’t writing here. My regular clients keep writing books, and they keep asking me to edit them, and so we muddle along, pandemic or no. I don’t even care that it had been two years (TWO YEARS!) between projects for one client. The point was, they finished another book, and they brought it to me. That’s what matters, not how long it took.

Meanwhile, I yammer about things on Twitter, things like grammar and usage and mechanics and the shameful state of US politics and more grammar, and life goes on. I can tweet even when almost deathly ill, I found out back in September. Working and blogging, not so much.

My latest Tweet thread was about the difference between rules and conventions (guidelines are conventions) as they relate to grammar, usage, and mechanics. Syntax is in there too, with grammar, because you quite simply can’t have one without the other. Grammar and syntax are where the rules live. Everything else is convention, guidelines on which we have agreed over time and that can shift over time as well. The fact that singular they, which has been around literally for centuries, became An Issue didn’t change the fact that “they” remains a pronoun. That is a rule: “they” is a pronoun. The usage of it to denote one person who chooses it specifically as the one they use, as opposed to a random person whose gender is unknown and irrelevant—which is the usage that’s been around for centuries—is what changed. The convention shifted.

Here’s a link to the thread I’m talking about, in case you’d like to read it. I turned it into a blog post over at TotallyNovel.com, too. (I hadn’t blogged there for at least two months, either.)

Thank you to all of you for being here. Thank you for your patience and your understanding. And may we all have a better year in 2021.

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