Can I Have a Word?

As a writer, I spend an inordinate amount of time selecting the just right word. Many conversations with my daughters will grind to a halt as I try to pick the right metaphor to demonstrate an otherwise simple point.

“Being a good sport is like being a … a… a good friend. Well, no, it’s more like being a good dog trainer, because even when your dog doesn’t do the trick, you still have to be positive… Actually, no, that doesn’t work. Okay, how about…”


Or “You know, that was a good story, and it’s true, you don’t want others to define you. You can’t let them tell you if the music you like is the right music. It’s like being a bird… no, a coach or a trapeze artist, for example…”

My daughter, whose eyes had been glazing over, suddenly springs up. “Oh my! I totally forgot. Did I tell you about how I had to change desks on Friday and now I’m sitting between two BOYS?”


See, when I type up this column I’ve got a little more time to work with and I imagine that I’ve got at least one person’s attention. (For all I know everyone heads over to the jumble, but hey, a woman has to dream.)

So I spend quite a bit of time sweating over every little word. Which is fine, until I hear my husband read to the kids.

Let’s just say that no author’s work is safe when Daddy gets a hold of a story book.

Here’s the scene. They’ll all settle in for a bedtime story. The lamp light is glowing softly and the story is unfolding into the night air. Then, there are a few blips. Silly pronunciations. Mixing up of characters. Before you know it, princess are burping and horses are passing gas and entire communities burn down to the delight of his audience who giggles through it all, correcting him every time.

Writers all over the world can sense, I’m sure, the havoc being wrought on their work. Their carefully paced sentences suddenly flying apart like some sort of Three Stooges routine.

I’ll tell you one thing. He’s definitely not reading them any of my stuff… er… work.

At least not unless I’m there for the corrections.