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An amusing mini-essay in defense of the semicolon, here.

I confess; I am, myself, one of those who love the semicolon, sometimes perhaps not wisely but too well.  Much as other writers need to double-check their second and third drafts for run-on sentences, excessive sentence fragments, and comma splices, I have to go through and make certain I don’t have entire paragraphs where every single sentence has a semicolon in the middle.

And a thought-provoking long article here about the connections between the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, the Cold War, and the CIA. The whole thing makes me strangely grateful that my writing lineage comes through science fiction, which at least in those days was an inhabitant of the outer darkness and hence spared conscription into the feuds and politics of respectable literature.

I did come briefly into contact-at-a-remove with the academic workshop style, in that I took a couple of undergrad creative writing courses at the University of Arkansas, whose MFA writing program has a certain degree of credibility as these things go.  To which all I can say is, I learned a lot, including just how little respect genre writers got in writing programs back in those days.  My reaction was to go off and get a doctorate in medieval literature and write almost no fiction for the next seven years.

(Things are a bit better these days, or so I’m given to understand.  But if you’re working in fantasy or science fiction or mystery or romance, and have a hankering for the MFA experience, it’s still a good idea to check out your prospects for genre-friendliness first.)