Monday, May 23, 2011

"where" and "wear"... f**k!

Mother-F***er!!!! Did I really write "What should I where?" Argh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Yes, I did write that. It was the title of a post for my other blog, Gravity Check, in which I was writing about my graduation from SFSU and wondering what to WEAR with a purple cap and gown. This isn't the first time I've written something so wrong, and I'm afraid it won't be the last.

I'm a publisher for frell's sake! I'm supposed to know better.

Occasionally I get a friendly email from Jane, or another friend who is a grammar girl, pointing out some mistake I made which (that?) would be completely obvious to any 4th grader, but slipped right past my editing consciousness. Each time I blush with shame, because it's always something really stupid, like mixing up "where" and "wear." Why the hell can't I see it in my own writing? I see it just fine in other people's writing, but not my own. Why am I so blind?

I realize it's because I don't actually see the words I'm writing; I'm writing down what I hear inside my head. I see the pictures I'm creating, not the words I'm writing. I do the same thing when I read. The book's scenes play in my mind in vivid technicolor, but I have no idea what is actually written. I can't remember quotes or facts or page numbers, I remember the smell of the breeze coming through the kitchen window and how the woman felt when she saw her cat carrying a baby mouse in his teeth. When I'm editing, I'm paying attention to the actual words, so I'm able to catch mistakes writers make (the easy ones, at least. Some of the more esoteric grammar rules fly right over my head). You'd think I'd pay attention to the words I'm writing as I write, but if I do, I lose the images in my head I'm frantically trying to write down. My words are like paint on a canvas all mixed together to create a scene. They blend and shape the picture, but I can't break the individual strokes apart to see how the picture is made. So I'm stuck writing "where" when I mean "wear." I only catch the mistake later, or if I don't, I hear from a friend.

Seeing just the image isn't a bad thing all the time; I'm able to take in the entire piece and see how it flows together, or where it stops. I can find the thread of a story and follow it, tying all the disparate threads together until they interlace into something beautiful.

I'll probably keep making ridiculous mistakes, and Jane will have to keep coming to my rescue (thank you Jane, and Maggie, too). People will keep shaking their heads, wondering what kind of publisher I am if I can't tell the difference between "where" and "wear." I'll keep trying my best to see the mistakes before I press "publish post," but more than likely, I won't catch them until three days later when the alarm will finally go off in my head that something isn't write... right!


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Have you tried writing in word first? It helps me tremendously.

- Tessa