Once upon a time I’d have written “amongst” in that title, but my study of journalism has convinced me that the word “amongst” is dead, as is “whilst”, “thus”, “interestingly”, and any word that has a shorter substitute. My study has me confused as to whether those commas should be on the inside of the quotation marks as different style-guides provide contradicting answers. I have learned that puns and clichés should be avoided at all costs, so I suppose this title is entirely inappropriate. Bugger. I’ve also learned that every word/sentence/paragraph should relate to the story which is problematic here as I’ve already gone off in a direction quite opposite to where I was headed, but I’m not prepared to delete what I’ve written because my words become my babies. I’ve also been taught to have foresight and to plan a piece before it’s written; what information to put where, what information not to put anywhere – beginning, middle and end sort of stuff. I clearly haven’t taken this advice on board as I had not planned to end up here. I’ve also been told not to ever, ever use semicolons because they too are dead. Kurt Vonnegut once said that semicolons “are transvestite hermaphrodites representing absolutely nothing. All they do is show you’ve been to college”. But here’s the thing: I want a job so it’s probably in my best interest to show I’ve been to college. I guess I better keep using ’em. And see how I integrated Vonnegut’s quote into a sentence I started myself? Well, you’re not meant to do that. Quotes should always be stand-alone and entirely independent of the paragraphs either side; that way they have greater impact. And when it comes to writing hard news, a paragraph should be just a sentence which it seems I haven’t done either. But this isn’t hard news so I suppose I’m all good. Final thing (I hope!): a journalist should never write I/me/myself, unless their presence is integral to the story. I just went right ahead and put myself in this before I had a chance to think about it – whoops. Anywho. One probably should not make up words either. Though I haven’t been taught that, per se, I suppose it goes without saying. I’m sure that Latin expression “per se” is dead too. And one definitely should not repeat the same phrase over and over e.g. “I suppose” which I’ve said over five times already. And I should definitely have written “more than five times” instead of “over” because how can I be over a number which isn’t a physical thing? Rhetorical questions like that should absolutely not be used. Ever. Nor should one worded sentences because sentences should always include a subject and object and one or two clauses. Oh, that word “nor” is dead too! And exclamation marks? Don’t even.
I suppose I should start where I intended starting all along: a rose among thorns. I sneakily took this photograph in a big crowd of people leaving the train station. The singular splash of colour among a sea of black and grey coats struck me instantly. I told its charming wearer once I caught up with her. “Thank-you, dear. It sure is bright, isn’t it?” Yes, and wonderfully so!