don’t be a ‘parenthesissy.’

untitled album by sigur ros

We should write how we speak, right?

Or, I guess it depends on who you’re writing to and what, but that is the devil’s advo-marketer in me that pipes up.

See, I didn’t put the above in parentheses because we don’t speak in asides — we take people aside and tell them privately.

“I didn’t want to tell you in the meeting, but your fly’s undone.”

Or we gossip — and even that feels more like a whisper-exclamation point if I had to make one.

…oh and I mention that she’s sleeping with him AND his son?!

It doesn’t feel right to make all that racket behind brackets.

A random some-months ago, I gave myself a trial run to ditch the parentheses. I can’t remember the exact moment, but it was probably some innocuous misplacement of the curves that got on my nerves — like when one loses their shit when they find for the final time that their soon-to-be-ex lover left the stove on low. It might have been an accident, but they got burned.

So how did it work? I still wrote what would be inside the parentheses, I would just leave the phrase naked, for all the world to see. Or if it was unnecessary, I would simply omit it. It was really a test in my own self-editing, knowing that if I put the line in a box, I will still need to carry it. So call me a minimalist, or maybe an over-stater, but six months-to-a-year later, I’m still parentheses-free. I highly recommend it as it gives your rhetoric an authentic confidence. Write only what commands their full attention, and unless you’re a mathematician, leave the crooked explanations to the ‘parenthesissies.’

Originally published at on January 11, 2017.

One clap, two clap, three clap, forty?

By clapping more or less, you can signal to us which stories really stand out.