Thursday, March 11, 2010

My Dirty Little Secret

-- Adrienne Miller
I’m fully aware this post might lead to the revocation of my official writer card. I fully expect to wake up tomorrow morning to the sound of the other seven Pens banging on my front door, demanding my resignation. They’ll call me names--charlatan, hack, abomination. Martha will probably be chanting, “Burn the witch.” It’s her way. 
Cause the ugly truth is, I don’t really care about grammar. Ok, maybe that’s not entirely true. I care about grammar when it matters. I care about it the same way I care about stop signs. If there’s a cop there waiting for me, you better believe I’ll be coming to a full and complete stop. I’ll count to three, tip my hat and smile. And if not? Well, anything under five miles per hour counts, right?
One problem is that I’m not naturally good at it. My mind isn’t a carefully ordered office ruled by lists and logic. It’s more like a crowded after-hours club, more interested in the rhythm than the law. The flow of words, the sound of them in my head, that’s what I love. 
Which means sometimes I get it wrong. So I buy books, lots and lots of them, to tell me where to put my subordinate clauses...and, while we’re at it, what in the world a subordinate clause is. I barter with people who know about such things. I’ll wash your car, change your oil, babysit your kids, if you’ll proofread for me. I’m not above begging. 
So there it is, my dirty little secret. Of course, it could be worse. Much, much worse.


Juliet Blackwell said...

Wait, I thought *I* was supposed to be chanting "burn the witch!" {kidding!}

Though grammar bugaboos do bother me, they can be fixed by a good editor. The cadence, flow, and music of the language, on the other hand...that's the real art of writing.

Write on, sister!

Sophie Littlefield said...

uh.....the thing is pretty much do it right. so there is no reason for any of us snoots to get aall huffy on your hiney. you already "get" grammar, it's in your blood....

Tom Neely said...

I can see the great and secret grammar rules off in the distance but i'm still working on spelling, which i do really poorly. Thank god for spell check and that the musical alphabet only has 7 letters. When i do get around to writing, i'm sure my grammar will stink and i'll need to borrow one of those handy grammar rule books. More likely i'll just ask you to proof-read it. :^)

Rachael Herron said...

I love it. :)

Martha Flynn said...

psst....pssst.........s'okay....I suck at grammar, too - I always blame english being my second language but I'm pretty sure I would suck at it anyway - they'll have to burn us together!!!