Last week, I finished the first draft of the sequel to Maid of Murder. So right now, I am on creative break before I start revision. Even though I’m not actively thinking about the book twenty-four hours a day as I was, I have been thinking about revision in general.
All writing could use some revision, be it a novel, an email, or a tweet. We’ve all sent emails we wish we could retract because they were poorly written. Just last week, I sent an email to an assistant dean with the wrong “peek” in it. I meant to write “peek” as in sneak peek, but instead, I wrote “peak” as in mountain peak. I know which peek to use, but I was in a hurry and hit send before reading the email. Because I was so annoyed with myself, I looked the words up as further proof I used the wrong peek/peak.
Even though I was 99% sure I messed up in the peek/peak debacle, I checked the dictionary for two reasons. The first being, I’m a librarian and that’s what we do. The second being, I’m a terrible speller and don’t trust myself to spell words correctly. Without Spell Check I’d be a dead woman. Although I’ve been known to misspell a word so badly that Spell Check has thrown up its hands and said, “You’re on your own, Kid.”
When I was eight, my parents were so horrified by my spelling that they called for reinforcements, recruiting my grandma, who is a world class speller, as spelling coach.
During the summer Grandma babysat my brother and me. I remember the summer of my spelling intervention well because it was the same summer of the accidental drowning of my turtle Ed. (A story for another day, perhaps?) That summer sticks out in my mind as the one in which I could not spell and became turtleless. Grandma’s teaching technique was simple. I sat on the couch pouring over my spelling words for the day while she watched her story, Days of Our Lives. Then at the end of the episode while the theme music was playing and the hourglass was twirling around on the television screen, she’d pull out her secret weapon: Scrabble, my arch nemesis. To this day, the thought of those little wooden letters lined up in front of me, makes me break out into a cold sweat.
She called my brother, Andy, in from his Nintendo game and set up the dining room table with the board game, drinks, snacks, and the red-covered Webster’s dictionary just in case there was a dispute. The game would begin, and quickly, Grandma and Andy would pluck down their pieces with cries of triple scores. Then, it would be my turn. I’d look at my little wooden letters; I’d look at the board; I’d look back at my little wooden letters. Nothing. I saw nothing. Grandma would tap the board. “If you have a B of a K you could change these words to make backstroke.” I had neither a B nor a K. The game would go on like that for hours. Funny, I don’t remember the Scrabble matches ever ending. I must have blocked that part out.
Now, I’m a much better speller. I can type “beautiful” without giving Spell Check a nervous breakdown, but I still fear Scrabble and refuse to play it. Clue, on the other hand, is my game. I kick behind at Clue. Anyone want to play? I call Miss Scarlet.
By-the-way, I revised this blog before posting it.