Daniel Wolf on writing as if composing music:
Run-on and runaway sentences; hanging sentence fragments; needling repetition; odd punctuation; obscurities and neologisms; abrupt shifts of register, both up and down; anacoluthons; non-sequitors; too much stuffed away between ellipses, brackets, braces, or parentheses (when not hidden in footnotes below); seemingly arbitrary settings of text in italic or boldface character; metaphors mixed and mashed; knowingly faulty logic; opinions presented as facts; abused rhetoric (all 38 of Schopenhauer’s Arts of Being Right on display and then-some)… Guilty as charged! All I can ask is that you, dear reader, bear with me even if these aspects of Renewable Music’s house style book grate like so many fingernails on blackboards or even more ants in a bento box on a Saturday picnic turned to thunder, lightning, rain, gentle rain, then too much rain… The idea — and there really is one, here — is that the webblog is still a new medium, and one which has not yet found its extents and limits as a form of prose (or not-prose), and one which is not yet immune to the methods of an experimental composer, thus the breathless and short-of-breath and stuttered lines, the sudden interjections, jarring accents, and ragged articulations, and all those sounds, those troubled, troubling, consoling, caring, sweet, everyday, exotic, exhalted sounds… What could be better than to aspire to a condition of music? My fault, my failure then, may not be the experimenting but rather the stubborn fact of not having experimented enough.
There’s a certain thrill to the unedited, to posting without copy editing, to letting it out without checking, to giving it over without apologizing. To get the good you have to give the bad, and that means being willing to be troubled and awkward and wrong in public. If you do so, good comes with it. Unedited with diplomacy. (Even when the occasional commash gets by.)
“Good writing,” it has been said, “has music in it.” And I would add, good design has writing in it. What then does a run-on design look like? A design fragment? A dangling wireframe? Art directed non-sequiturs? So in need of being right, we try to be tidy and squared around the edges, but in fact, perhaps our design work should be less in need of punctuation. Not more.