The various ironies of me being an author

Thursday, March 21, 2013

1. My handwriting is terrible. I write in cursive, in tiny letters, and not especially quickly. I can understand my writing but I have to write very slowly if I want anyone else to be able to read it. I have never quite mastered writing in a straight line, so if I write you something on an unlined page it will probably be very wonky. Someone gave me a fountain pen last year, and it feels too special to write with considering my lopsided handwriting. It's been improving since I started handwriting letters.

2. I have trouble pronouncing quite a few words, because I always want to pronounce them as they are spelt. A lot of the more complex words I know I know from reading, and as a result I have no idea how they are pronounced. I have difficulty with 'Jane Eyre', 'macabre', 'revel', 'hyperbole' and 'anarchy' among others. I do not know whether other people who read a lot and don't use especially complex words when speaking have the same issue. They probably just look up the pronunciation on the internet. Hyperbole really should be pronounced as it's spelt though. Are words spelt specifically to trick people? Damn you, English language.

3. I can never figure out what to sign novels with. I'm supposed to be good with words. That's generally a writer's job description. It's a strange thing, writing a message for someone you don't know in your own book (what am I supposed to say? 'Thank you for buying this book and killing a tree. My ego is very grateful.'?). They don't teach any short courses on this, which they should. 'How To Sign Your Own Books, For Dummies' would be very helpful.

4. I don't type properly, despite learning from a typing program as a kid (the game made disapproving noises if you didn't type fast enough. It was a great motivator). I wonder whether anyone actually types properly, with all of the fingers used on all of the right keys, or if that's a lost skill of the late 90s/early 00s (no one thinks about recently lost skills. Everyone's always on about knitting and sewing and churning butter). I only type with four fingers, and I'm wildly inaccurate but fairly speedy. 'Stewardess' is the longest word you can type with just your left hand, technically, or something like that. Am I making that up? I swear I remember reading that in a fact book.

5. I am not a grammar nazi. I feel embarassed if I use the wrong 'your' or improperly place an apostrophe, but I really don't care whether other people do. It matters to me when I'm reading a book or the newspaper or something that should be well thought-out and free of errors, but if you use the wrong 'there' on Twitter or text-speak on Facebook, I will notice but I won't care. It's not really worth the effort of getting annoyed about. I don't think we're all descending into illiteracy or that we'll communicate only in acronyms and shrugs in the future (if this does happen, you can say 'I told you so' but you'll have to find me. I'll be living in a cave on a remote mountain, having taken a vow of silence). Someone sent me a text message with a hashtag in it recently. That, however, is entirely unacceptable.
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