Writers, It Is Time to Go to War
the Oxford comma needs us.
You knew this day would come.
You knew one day you’d be working on your middle grade novel about kids getting turned into craft projects by a maniacal knitter, or editing a list of The Top Ten Ways to Eat a Stick of Celery and the deep horn would resound across the length of the internet.
Though none ever spoke of it, we knew there would be a cost to building our identities on a squigly line with a British name.
We lived fat off the land for a while, adding our opinions on the Oxford comma to our Twitter feeds and even our dating profiles (as if viable humans hungry for smoochies would really let grammatical inclinations interfere with aquiring said smoochies). We bragged at parties about how, without the Oxford comma, society would unravel and we’d all end up wandering the burning streets, screaming and tearing our clothes.
For the most part, people were impressed.
They listened to us talk and they didn’t understand, because they weren’t smart like us writers. But they seemed impressed.
Well, it’s time to pay the typer.
The Oxford comma needs us.
It lent us its prestige, its biscuits and its air of false importance. Now we must lend it our blood. Pick up your pen, your laptop and the permanent marker you use to inscribe your enemies’ digits on bathroom doors. They will be your weapons in this war.
Also, if you have a battle axe, that could be helpful.
Yes, we are weak. Yes, we are writers. Our strongest muscles are our fingers and our greatest skill is sneaking muffins into our purses at writing conferences while glancing shyly at agents from across the room.
We were not made for war. We might wish this burden never came to us.
But, as Gandalf said, “So do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”
Listen to Gandalf. Array thyselves, slaves of words and worshippers of the grand narrative. Some will die. Most will die. Should we have chosen another cause? Maybe. Should we have chosen another god? Probably. But it’s too late for regrets.
Borrow the courage you bestow upon your characters, for we type at dawn.