Saturday, October 27, 2012

Spelling Bee

My mom informed me today that I misspelled a word in one of my posts, though her grammar told me that I habitually misspelled it so because I at times lean toward perfectionism I did a little search to see how many times I'd spelled it wrong: 10 out of 407 times. That's about 2.5% of the time (which Andrew assures me is not statistically significant (now if it were five percent that'd be different)). I fixed those misspellings in case you were wondering.

I wasn't offended by my mom's message because a) it's my mom and b) she misspelled something in her message. 

People misspell things. Even the most stringent of spellcheckers misspell things. 

Shoot—I edit things all the time and I find mistakes and I fix them. And then someone else will edit what I edit and they find mistakes and fix them and send it back to me and I find more mistakes. It's amazing how many mistakes are overlooked.

Andrew's a typographer. Do you know how many hands a book passes through before it gets published? Sometimes Andrew will go through a book three or four times before it gets sent to the press because nit-picky editors keep finding things to nitpick. And guess what—after the book is printed there is still that typo, that orphan line, that stacked word. 

I used to feel triumphant about finding typos in novels or textbooks or blog posts of people I'd label as grammarians. Since I've done more editing myself and have seen the rigorous process a book goes through before it gets published I've stopped feeling triumphant and instead melancholy because it stinks to make a mistake when that's the last thing you want to make. 

I think all editors have a touch of perfectionism in them. 

Not that I'm a real-life editor or anything but I do edit things. And I'm a bit of a perfectionist...when I do certain things...that don't involve keeping my house clean...

Ironically I got another comment about my spelling today shortly after my mom's email. But I'm sure it's spam because it has spam written all over it. And I'm sure it was troll-y because it made me feel a teensy bit angry. But I also thought it was hilarious because:
naturally like your website however you have to check the spelling on several of your posts.Many of them are rife with spelling issues and I in finding it very bothersome to inform the truth nevertheless I will definitely come again again.
As my children would say, "Whatta? Whatta?"

They felt they could tell me my spelling has issues with grammar like that?!

So I stopped feeling angry and started feeling awesome instead.

They naturally like my website (that's nice) but they think I only have to check the spelling on several posts (not all of them? Surely there's a mistake in every single one, just saying). Many of them are rife with spelling issues (yup) and they (random preposition that was probably meant to be the word "am") find it very bothersome to inform the truth (and exactly what are we informing the truth of? (contrary to popular belief it is perfectly grammatical to end a sentence with a prepositional phrase) nevertheless they will definitely come again again (so that's two times they'll be coming again? Awesome!).

Their lack of punctuation is astounding but my favourite part is the random line break. Also, they kinda sound like African princess who wanted to offer me five billion dollars (if I would just sell them my soul and/or give them my bank account number and/or forward this to the one hundred people I care about most). 

Oh, and later they invite me to visit their website (I am not planning on clicking on that link, no). 

So now I have to wonder...

Why did I get this piece of spam? Did they target me because they could tell I was a perfectionist and knew they could get my dander up? Or are a lot of bloggers sensitive about their spelling so it's just a good troll dialogue to use on the masses? Also, they commented on a eulogy I wrote for my grandpa three years ago—why that post? Did they even read the post? (I think I know the answer to that last question: no).

Like I said, I only felt a flush of anger before I became amused. I don't need y'all (I can legitimately say that now because I live in the south) to compliment me on my spelling or anything like that because I'm really feeling alright in that regard (but I am always having a bad hair day, so...). Besides, spelling is slowly evolving, just like all knowledge, so is there really any point to learning it all correctly? Shouldn't we just learn it well enough to communicate? That's what language is for.

Punctuation evolves. Grammar evolves. Vocabulary evolves. Language evolves. Shoot—languages die! 

It's all relative (for 500, please).

I don't know why I felt like I needed to write down my feelings about spelling, but I just did. 

And now to lighten things up, I have Rachel's school journal sitting on my desk. We forgot to hand it in yesterday because it's usually due on Friday but there wasn't any school today (hooray for random long weekends!) so we should have turned it in but didn't. So, let me share a few entries with you. I promise nothing personal is in there. It's filled with pure awesomeness.

I hDA CHICN. (I had chicken.)
I hv u cat. (I have a cat—she said this was "a joke" because it's not true.)
I am Rachel.
I am mom. (This was also "a joke.")

I weNT to skol. (I went to school.)

OCTOBR 4 2012
I cept to gern egls. (I kept two green eagles—it's a reward system at their school.)

(no date...but it was October 9)
I lvue pucmn. My nam is Rachel. (I love pumpkins. My name is Rachel.)

OtOBr 10
I wuz iN the WNG set on the bus. I wz skard. (I was in the wrong seat on the bus. I was scared.)

OTcoBr. 11
I GOT A PUKn. I Luve pukns. I Luve DAD. (I got a pumpkin. I love pumpkins. I love Dad).

OTOBr 16
I Got a BIG pkn and a smlo one. (I got a big pumpkin and a smaller one—in response to her teacher's question about the pumpkins she got.)
I Like mom gon too my clas. (I like mom going to my class—I volunteered in her classroom that day.)

OCtoBr 17
We wet too a poc. I so a MiL. (I went to a park. I saw a mill.)

Octor 18
222222222222222222222222 (They're allowed to practice letters/numbers they're having trouble with instead of writing a sentence if they wish; this day she did.)

OctoBeR 22
I Am IcsiyDID to go to the form. (I am excited to go to the farm—this might be my favourite entry; way to sound out that big, nasty word!)

Octobr 23
I LiKE BANS FOM. NAW We HAV SeVN Pumnks. (I like Brown's Farm. Now we have seven pumpkins—in our defense we didn't know she'd be getting a pumpkin on her field trip and most of our pumpkins are tiny ones that are too small to carve, anyway.)

OctoBer 24
I Am Going tRuk or tedn. (I am going trunk-or-treating.)

I like Miriams brf day.(I like Miriam's birthday (she didn't—perhaps this was another "joke" entry).)

I must say that I love this assignment. I've been keeping a journal since I was in grade one—and, yes, I count this blog as my journal now because even when I kept a pen-and-paper journal I always pretended I was writing for an audience (if nothing but for future generations (and when I wanted to write anything I didn't want anyone to stumble upon I'd usually write it in code and/or a foreign language (like Russian or Japanese (so going back to read my journals will be fun because I don't remember very much from my high school Japanese (and I can't do that now because it would be far too easy to copy and paste straight into google translate))))). 

Anyway...I've been keeping a journal since grade one when we had a "daily journal" assignment. My family went through some difficult times that year and I found writing to be my one escape—I could write and my feelings would tumble onto the page. My pain, my fears, my sorrow would literally figuratively flow through my pencil onto the page. It was an amazing release for me; sometimes I couldn't stop writing until I'd filled pages (while everyone else in the class was still writing "I got a big pumpkin today. It was neat."). I filled two notebooks that year (and landed myself a slot with the school therapist (which—I'm not going to lie—I probably needed)) which was quite a feat for a six-year-old, I think (the, uh, part about filling two notebooks, not the part about meeting with a therapist).

I have a whole box of journals sitting in the attic and a whole bunch of blog posts under my belt here.

I love reading my journals and watching myself develop, just as I love reading my old blog posts. Sometimes I go back and read things about my parenting when Rachel was a baby and I wonder if I was crazy which means in five years from now I'll wonder if I'm crazy now (I probably am). Or I see silly mistakes I made. Or I read opinions I held years ago that are wildly different from the opinions I hold now. Sometimes I make changes to blog posts ex post facto (and sometimes I write notes in the margins of my old journals). 

Journals are wonderful and useful, even if their spelling is shoddy.

Once my mom couldn't remember the year my dad had his appendix removed but she needed to know for a medical history she was filling out and I knew I had written about in my journal from grade two or three and that it happened in the winter. So I busted out those journals and found the entry—it was in my journal from grade three, if my memory serves me correctly—and I wrote, "My dad got his apple-citis out! I hope he is okay!"

It was something ridiculously funny like that. The spelling made me laugh (apple-citis? I think I was going for appendicitis...which was way not what I meant but I didn't know better) but the record was useful anyway. 

So take that, you random blog-troller! I find the my misspellings (and those of others) endearing.

Unless you confuse its/it's or your/you're or their/there/they're or...or...or...

I have my pet peeves, too.

PS. Random thoughts: Sharing a bedroom with an office is hard. Andrew's still up working on homework which is why I'm still up on my computer. I probably should have been folding laundry instead of writing this. I'm going to go start the dryer now/turn on the dishwasher. After my time spent in quasi-icky apartments in Egypt/Jordan/Russia I'm still ridiculously grateful for these appliances.


  1. So...reading my blot must drive you nuts. It does Jason. :) he'll say, "I know you know the difference in these words, don't you read over these?" I'll say, "frankly it is a miracle I even found the time to write in the first place!" Oh well. On a totally related note Ezra has all a's except in spelling where he has a d. We 'ge tried all kinds of things and finally yesterday at parent teacher conference we said screw it. We are just going to keep focusing on math, language arts, science, and reading and maybe someday he 'll just dictate :)

    1. Truthfully, I'd rather have you write with my pet peeves in place than not at all. I like hearing from you more than I dislike my pet peeves.

      Also, I totally agree with finding time to write vs. finding time to edit what you write. As a mother blogging is a luxury...who edits their luxuries? :)