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Previous Challenge Entry
Topic: Satisfied (10/11/04)

TITLE: The Dangling Participles
By John Hunt


The following is a true story. Only the names have been changed to protect the guilty.

There it sat. Ridiculing me. Taunting me. Giving me the raspberry. Doing the Can Can on my computer screen while sticking its (*Hey, this is a Christian site*) up at me.
Yes, once it was my offspring, the fruit of my intellect, my pride and joy. I had created it, nurtured it, and brought it to fruition. Now it was a botched jumble of consonants and vowels; and it was mocking me.

I had fervently tried to come up with something, some clever idea or poignant anecdote from my past to post on the Weekly Writing Challenge that week, but I had nothing. Precious minutes ticked by, then hours, and then days. Now it was already mid-week, and my article - if I came up with one - would almost certainly, by virtue of the mere tardiness of my submission, be subjugated to page whatever. My situation quickly became obvious to me: I had entered the dark depths of Writer’s Purgatory.

Despite being in the most inauspicious of circumstance that night, I did finally complete an article, such as it was. I pasted the text, carefully arranged the paragraph, and sat poised, ready to click the “submit” button on the webpage - thinking now that I was satisfied with my submission. But then, to my horror, I realized that I had forgotten the two golden rules of writing (at least my two golden rules of writing, anyway).
Rule Number 1: Edit. Edit until you can’t edit no mo’. Edit until your fingers bleed. Edit until your eyes are blurry and your brain is numb. Edit until…well, you get the idea.
Rule Number 2: Repeat rule number one (it’s kinda like the wash, rinse, repeat thing on a shampoo bottle, which I learned – after a dozen or so empty bottles in a week’s time – does not actually mean continuously).

So, I carefully edited the article, thinking now that I surely must be satisfied. Then
suddenly, there it was, staring up at me: the dangled participle.

I always thought that The Dangling Participles would be a good name for a rock band. Of course, a band by that name would probably leave you confused about the actual subject of any given song, not that modern music doesn’t already to that. I had told a girl in my high school English class once that she had dangled her participle, and she slapped me in the face. I dangled a participle in college once, and got sorely reprimanded for it. Of course, none of these experiences taught me how to deal with this abstruse literary anomaly - this rogue, illicit element on my paper. So, I read up on the internet on how to fix the wayfaring intruder. Watching the clock as the hours ebbed late into night, the solution became clearer and clearer to me. So I fixed it. (I did fix it, didn’t I?).

Anyway, I eventually posted this completely ridiculous, pointless article – ashamed that I had sunk to such depths - and begged for forgiveness from my FW comrades. But then again, look…there it is, staring back at us - the ever-elusive element of my article – the one thing that seemed to be missing from my submission - the point. It’s at the end of the sentence.

Now, I’m satisfied.

Member Comments
Member Date
darlene hight10/18/04
Hmmm...what's the point? Just kidding!! How much fun was this??!!I've welcomed a dangle or two myself.
Dori Knight10/18/04
john, i love your style! you have a lot of humorous elements in this article. why aren't you submitting any work to the faithwriters' magazine humor column? hmmmm??


Rita Garcia10/18/04
John, Enjoyed your article, it brought some humor to my day, only because I can all to often relate. Great entry. Blessings, Rita
Dave Wagner10/18/04
Fluff. It is a triumph of presentation over substance, which I know you are aware of (having read the final paragraph of this piece). Your writing style and presentation are good...I shall look forward to reading future submissions by you that actually say something.

But please refrain from titling your submission the topic of the week...not only is it insanely uncreative, but a full quarter of the other writers do the same. Also, try to refrain from using the topic-word in the body of the text as well...demonstrate it, don't just blurt it out!

Until next week, thanks for posting.
Dave Wagner10/18/04
My bad on the title comment....I misread the top of the screen...forgive me, it was unintentional.

Carry on!
Joanne Malley10/18/04
Oh, yes...the bleeding fingers, blurry eyesight and numbness in the brain--Don't we live for it as writers! LOL
Entertaining article, John.
Lucian Thompson10/18/04
John, outrages, daring, and oh so fun. Enjoyed the ride!
Mary Elder-Criss10/21/04
heh heh. now i have to get my daughter's writing book out to figure out what the hey a dangling participle is again. thanks a lot, John!
Kenny Paul Clarkson10/23/04
Hey! Great article! (I was paranoid about dangling prepositions. Now I can focus on participles as well.)