Some more thoughts (my own, of course):
I’ve been thinking about language and the written and spoken word since yesterday’s post. Writing about a consistently misspelled word can apparently push some buttons. But we are in an age that is increasingly high-tech – where some school children are no longer being taught cursive writing, where ‘text speak’ uses abbreviations and parts of words, where students graduating from high school and college do not have a command of the language and have few writing skills. I see it everywhere and it makes me sad.
I’m a stickler for correct spelling and I make no apologies for it. I’ve been known to go back to an old post here on this blog and correct a typo. Brenda and I routinely alert each other to errors in our posts. I’m grateful. I want to know. I used to be an excellent speller but I find as I get older, I’m not always sure of the spelling of certain words. So I look them up. Don often asks me how to spell a word. I ask him. Why wouldn’t we want to spell the word correctly? Not knowing the correct way to spell a word is no reflection on our intelligence. There are a lot of words in existence and knowing how to spell them all is next to impossible.
I think the written word matters. What is seen on a page or on a computer screen matters. And once it’s published, it’s out there.
I don’t text that often but when I do, it takes me longer because I don’t abbreviate. I don’t use LOL, U instead of you or R instead of are. I just can’t. I’ve tried, but it’s like wearing clothing that just doesn’t suit me. It doesn’t fit. (I’m not saying it’s wrong to use those abbreviations, mind you, just not for me.)
As for blogging, I tend to write my blog posts the way I speak. So sometimes, by choice, I stretch the boundaries of good grammar. That’s a style choice. Every blogger has his/her own writing style and that’s as it should be.
But, oh, do I edit. Because this blog is a reflection of me and what I value. And I want it to be well written with no misspelled words.
That’s also why I do book reviews. Writers spend years writing a book; carefully choosing each word, editing and re-editing. I want to honor their written words, especially those that are on an actual page, in a book I can hold in my hands. eReaders can be wonderful tools (I have one, though I only use it when I travel) but I feel increasingly compelled to champion three dimensional books. Independent Bookstores are going out of business. The biggest sellers for Amazon and Barnes & Noble? eBooks. On the one hand, if eBooks keep people reading, more power to them. And the smallish eBooks many bloggers are writing – full of how-to advice – are great. But if someday I get a book of fiction published – oh my gosh, I would want it to be in an old-fashioned, real, not virtual, book that I can hold in my hands and display on my bookshelf. The carefully edited words imprinted on a page, the page corners that can be turned to mark a place – oh, heaven! That must be the same feeling the authors whose books I review have when they first see their books in print. Because words matter.
My work in the theater involves the written word. I’m working on another Shakespeare play right now, in fact. Did you know that Shakespeare invented many words that we routinely use today? There are many languages in this world of ours, but the one I can speak and write is English. It’s a beautiful language that has been used to inspire, incite, woo, preach and tell a great story. It enables us to communicate all the big and little things we feel.
Let me add: I am as guilty as the next person of sometimes using incorrect grammar and not expressing myself as well as I’d like to. And I miss the occasional misspelled word. But writing is an ongoing learning experience, isn’t it? I sure have learned a lot in the course of my almost 4 years of blogging and I hope to learn more.
The end to a year is a time for reflection, for pondering. I’m pondering the power of the written word as I head toward 2012. Maybe that will be my word for 2012: Write (better.)
As always, I’d love to hear your thoughts.