But, it's not always a perfect stretch, is it? Sometimes...sometimes we can't quite muster the strength to keep that shift button down the whole time. The exclamation points turn into lowly ones.
This can happen to you!!!!111!!!
The mistake is something that's fairly common. In fact, I'm pretty sure I made it Monday when I was chatting with Michelle (who is, by the way, co-editing an anthology to raise money for Japanese earthquake and tsunami victims). So, it wasn't too much of a shock when I saw this same supposed slip while reading a post from the hilarious and brilliant Kuzhali Manickavel.
Now, so you know, Kuzhali is one of the few living writers that I am truly, truly jealous of. Sometimes I read a piece of her writing and feel the need to wring out a wet cloth she's go good. I was, then, ever so slightly disappointed to see that she of all people had made that ! to 1 slip. Kuzhali, could you possibly have made a mistake?
Then, the realization struck me. The more I read, the more I noticed that she was consistently 1-ing her !s. She did it nearly every time she !!!!ed. In fact, it hadn't been an accident at all. Kuzhali had hijacked a common linguistic mistake and was using it to help her reach her own goals of taking over the world (or whatever it is she's trying to do). She was creating original language by observing the behavior of our society.
Maybe this sounds like I'm making a big deal about something trivial, but I really do think she has hit upon something.
We often criticize writers for sounding too writerly. I think that "writerly" quality that sometimes seems suspicious comes from that fact that we may be trying to mimmic the great writers before us. In Kuzhali's case, she's done the opposite. She's not stealing something great and pawning it off as her own. She's finding something in the scrap heap and turning it into something great. If art is an imitation of life, then this is how it should be done.
Think of the greats like Shakespeare, Dante, Joyce, and Faulkner to a lesser extent. We may be able to find the roots of their inspiration, but in the end they created language that was completely their own. How do they do that? Where did they get the building blocks from? I'd argue that it must come from some source other than the work of earlier artists.
To see how Kuzhali has done this is not a lesson to me to use more OMGs and LOLs in my prose. (OMG, Vincent just ate someone.) It serves as an example to me of how one can (and should) create new language by looking at life rather than looking at art.