Preening Seals on the Beach
I promised you a gratuitously assonant title to make up for all of the wanton alliteration the past few days, so there you have it. I know you’ve been waiting for it like my nieces on Christmas Eve, peeking at my blog every so often trying to guess what sort of untrustworthy grammatical presents I have wrapped here.
How do I really feel about alliteration, you ask, leaning forward with your journalist’s tape recorder to capture my every opinion? Honestly, I feel it looks great on me, cheap on others. Seriously, though, I’m not a fan of using alliteration even in my work, unless it’s cheesy Dr. Suess tongue-in-cheek titles, the way I’ve used it so far in the blog titles. Alliteration is too easy for a writer to fall into; it’s puerile and lazy in a way. Puerile because it can make a piece sound like an adolescent balancing an eel on his nose to impress a cheerleader.
I went to a reading at Book Soup in West Hollywood once, the first time the guest author had read her book out loud. It was a guidebook to dive bars in LA, so we’re not talking about a Cormac McCarthy reading, here. I went because I wanted to buy a local high-functioning alcoholic friend of mine the book as a present. Midway through, the author stopped herself and commented on how stunned she was that she used so many alliterations. You could tell she was a little embarrassed. Alliteration is just too Disney to be cool.
Assonance, however, can be the swooning cello reverberating cocoonishly beneath all great prose poetry. Well, probably poetry in general.
My friend, colleague and muse Tristan Eaton started a blog the very same day I did, which is eerie because I consider him to be my spiritual younger brother. Tristan just dazzles me with his prolificacy, how he can seem to be several places all over the world at once like some character out of Harry Potter, painting murals, sculpting toys, illustrating brands. I would like to say that Tristan is to images what I am to words in terms of output, but that would be an audacious claim even for this seasoned braggart.
I’m not the only one who thinks Tristan and I are similar. When I tried to hook him up with my creative partner Rain Li, she said in her mockney Beijing accent, “Why I want to date him fo’? He look like you. That would be just too weird, dah-ling.”
I just wish I had Tristan’s hair.