One Space or Two, Too Spacey Today

I’m not sure why this is an issue but I hear other writers ask about it all the time, so here it is again. Should there be one space after a period or two? Ugh . . .

Look, years ago there used to be a thing called a typewriter. It came in two versions, manual or electric. The manual had levered keys that when pressed hard enough, would swing an arm with a letter (lowercase and uppercase) engraved at the end of it. The face of the engraving would strike an ink ribbon and then the paper, leaving a printed letter. Pressing the shift key at the same time as you pressed the letter key, gave you uppercase letters, otherwise you got lowercase. It was always the same font and always the same spacing.

Electric typewriters were a major improvement and gave you soft touch keys with no levered swing arms. There were two options that I know of, print ball or print wheel, depending on the model. The benefit here was that you could change fonts by changing the ball or wheel, but spacing was pretty much fixed.

There’s a common theme here . . . fixed spacing and it’s the reason standard practice at the time was to put two spaces after a period. It not only helped to delineate sentences, it kind of looked better too. By the way, I’d like to point out that this is all information I gleaned from the musings of ancient wordsmiths. I for one, will never admit to having seen such a device in person or god forbid, using one—eh-hem, eh-hem, eh-hem.

Okay, history lesson over. Today we use computers, laser printers, and word-processing programs that offer more fonts and spacing options than we as writers, will ever need. Double-spacing after a period in no longer required because word processors already compensate by automatically adjusting proportions. Throw in some word wrapping and justification, and Bob’s your uncle. I’ve always wanted to use that phrase, hope I did it right. Hey, does anyone out there know what the hell Bob’s your uncle really means, and where it originated?

The long and short of it is this, no double spacing after a period. Period. Don’t believe me? Just pick up a book, look inside, and see for yourself. D’oh!

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After Graduation, A dream inspired by “Brothers”

“Darren Dixon,” the female reporter was short of breath as she caught up to the unlikely hero. “Your first home run of the post season is a walk-off to win the series. How did it make you feel?”

“Great.”

The reporter needed more. “Darren, you aren’t known as a homerun hitter; you were facing their lights-out closer with a 3-2 count. It was the bottom of the ninth, two outs, down by one, and the leadoff man was still camped out at first. With all that pressure, how did you know you had a walk-off in your bag of tricks?”

“I didn’t.”

She still needed more. “So tell us Darren. What was going through your mind before the pitch?”

He looked into the camera and a smile came to his face. It was the smile of someone who knows a secret, and has just decided to share it. He turned back and looked her in the eye. “You’re right. I’m not a homerun hitter. My average is high but that’s because I connect and get the hell out of the batter’s box as fast as I can. I’m faster than most and my job is to advance the runner and get on base. But last night something changed. You see, usually, I don’t get nervous about games, not even post-season games. I get excited but not nervous, for me there’s a difference.

“But last night I couldn’t relax to save my life. I need a good nights sleep before a game but I just kept tossing and turning, eyes wide open, and I was really getting on edge. It’s something I’m not used to. I like to read and it was late so I grabbed my Kindle and browsed around looking for something new, you know, to take my mind off of things. Of course, the first thing I searched for was something baseball related, I couldn’t help myself. Anyway, up comes a link to a short story called “Brothers.” And guess what? It was free. I thought what the hell, it’s free, so I downloaded it. Five minutes later, I’m reading this story and not thinking about anything else. The next thing I know its morning and at first, I thought I dreamed the whole thing, but I saw my Kindle next to me on the bed and then I remembered.

“All day, every time I started to feel nervous I’d think about the story, the dream. It just kept popping into my head and it was a distraction. But it distracted me in a good way, because thank God, I wasn’t anxious about the game anymore. Later on, standing there at the plate, with the game and the championship on the line, I started to think about the story.

“I regained my concentration just in time to see the pitcher take the sign and start his windup. But as he gained momentum, something weird happened—he seemed to move in slow motion, kind of like a dream. When the ball came out, it looked as big as a cantaloupe. It was a fastball but it looked like it was moving slow. Then it started to drop a little and inched its way to the outside of the zone. Everyone knows that’s not where you pitch to me. I always hit those, but never out of the park.

“The next thing I knew, the bat was coming around and it felt light as a feather, I could see the ball like never before. I could see the bat; I saw it all. When the bat connected, it felt like butter, smooth silky butter. I have never hit anything that hard before but I knew it was gone.” Darren winked at the reporter. “I guess there’s a first time for everything; I never hit a walk-off homerun before, and I never saw a pitcher throw a cantaloupe either.”

The reporter got what she asked for, unexpected as it was. Ramblings about a story and cantaloupes? What was that about? But her time was almost up, there were other reports waiting. “Just one more thing Darren.” He nodded his approval and she went on. “The camera caught you saying something as you watched the ball and started around the bases. What did you say?”

Darren smiled the same smile he had from before and said, “This one’s for you Mikey.” He winked again, “Thanks,” and started to walk away.

“Wait!” The reporter couldn’t leave her impromptu exclusive open like that. “Who’s Mikey? Is he a close friend?”

Darren turned back as he walked, “Read Brothers.”

I know guys, it’s a shameless plug, but what the hell. You can download “Brothers” for free today and tomorrow. It’s my way of saying goodbye to the 2014 baseball season. Just go to my website www.LDavydPollack.com  by clicking one of the links below.

Let me know what you think. Feel free to leave a review too. Don’t worry, I can take it.

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