Syntax

by Allie Marini Batts


Microsoft Word - Allie_Marini_Batts-Syntax.doc

Allie Marini Batts is an MFA candidate at Antioch University of Los Angeles, meaning she can explain deconstructionism, but cannot perform simple math. Her work has been a finalist for Best of the Net and nominated for the Pushcart Prize. She is managing editor for the NonBinary Review of Zoetic Press, and has previously served on the masthead for Lunch Ticket, Spry Literary Journal, The Weekenders Magazine, Mojave River Review, and The Bookshelf Bombshells. Allie is the author of the poetry chapbooks, “You Might Curse Before You Bless” (ELJ Publications, 2013) “Unmade & Other Poems,” (Beautysleep Press, 2013) and “This Is How We End” (forthcoming 2014, Bitterzoet.) Find her on the web: https://www.facebook.com/AllieMariniBatts

What fascinating, surprising things can you tell us about the origin, writing, revision of this piece?

    I’ve published with you before, so I had your site bookmarked as one to revisit. Around December I noticed the new Triptych category and made a note of the opening date on my calendar, so I had the idea of a triptych floating around in my head. I wrote the piece the following month, and the hardest thing in the world was holding it—I didn’t want to send it anywhere else, because I felt in my heart that I wanted this piece with JCCA. January was the fourth anniversary of my friend Muriel’s suicide, and last year, I became involved with an online support group called The Semicolon Project, which takes its name from the idea that a suicide is a period that ends a sentence. The Semicolon Project devotes its efforts to providing support for depressed people, to help them choose a “semicolon”—a pause that links to parts of a compound sentence, instead of a period, ending their story. That got me thinking about the idea of syntax, how a period and a semi-colon function in a sentence, and how these structures can be applied to any relationship. The center of the piece, the ellipses, are where Muriel and Allie are both intentionally absent, because ellipses are indicators that something has been left out—they’re the parts of her disease, the depression, that are unknown to everyone who loved her and grieves her—the ellipses are the part of the sentence between the pause and the close that we’ll never know.
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