Are You Receiving Me? — The Annotated Boris (Day 3)
By Mike Faloon
On Parenthesis – A Special Christmas Edition Go Metric Mini-Interview (aka Rev. Norb on Certain Aspects of Grammatical Choices in )
Go Metric: One of my favorite aspects of your writing is the high volume of parenthetical clauses. When they build up to four or five in a sentence I’ll re-read said sentence verify that it checks out. To what do you attribute this habit? A particular writer? Genre?
Rev. Norb: I cannot actually attribute this to anything other than eighth-grade algebra, and learning about the order of operations and parentheses and brackets and curly braces and the what-not, as well as my own practically pathological compulsion to say every single thing i know about a subject, when i am talking about said subject. It just sort of became the best way to corral my various tangents while sort of keeping the main narrative moving in one direction ((or so i try to imagine)).
GM: Recently I’ve noticed that you use double parenthesis for the initial parenthetical clause. Where/why did this change occur?
RN: This parenthetical double-bagging started when i was working in the video game industry, and was sending out lots of typed communications to team members that involved discussing sections of script or code which included parenthetical expressions. The double parentheses was meant to signify that it was me talking in parentheses, as opposed to the single parentheses, which were part of the code. For example: "Please add 'Play3DSound (snd_Explosion1);' to the end of the particle effect function call ((unless it breaks something))." My boss said he liked the double parentheses so i started doing it all the time.
GM: I also noticed that the parenthetical clause on the book’s cover reverts to the single parenthesis? As they say in Spanish, por que?
RN: I was being wishy-washy and thought it was too hard to read for a front cover blurb that way. If you look at how the type is organized for that subtitle, the first graf ((as i believe such a thing is called)) only consists of two words, "AND OTHER." Eight letters and a space. If you add one parenthese, so the first graf is "(AND OTHER", ten percent of the characters in the first line are parentheses, which seems okay. If you add a second parenthese, the graf becomes "((AND OTHER", and now 18.2% of the characters in the first graf are parentheses, which seems like too much. Basically, double parentheses just didn't look good with the type stacked up like that in that particular section, and my graphic designer instincts trumped my literary instincts. For which i apologize.