Nice blog title, huh? Lyrical, vaguely Shakespearean, bordering on, dare I say it, literary. Quoted from one of my favorite X-Files episodes, Jose Chung’s From Outer Space. The lines, spoken by Charles Nelson Reilly (wearing an ascot, of course), are about the power of words to transform, inspire, amuse, anger, demean, motivate, humble and a host of other, well, words.
As a writer, I kind of have to understand words. I have to know how to put words together to evoke some kind of reaction, some kind of emotion, or there’s no point to what I’m writing. I want to make my reader tear up, laugh, or say, “Ohmigawd, what’s going to happen next?” at the end of a chapter. Or at least I try my damnedest, and the only way I can do that is by putting together a sequence of words in the best, most clever way I can and hope for the best.
Funny thing is, I’m a real dummy when it comes to parts of speech. I’m a disaster at Mad Libs. I have to ask my kids to explain the difference between an adverb and an adjective (don’t know why I bother, because their word choice for filling in the blank is always some variation of “poop”).
I blame my grammar ignorance on this monster pictured above. No, not a map of the DC Metro lines. Sentence diagrams. Pretty sure that week in 9th grade when we learned about the parts of speech and how to diagram a sentence I was absent. The same reason I never learned the 6-7-8 times tables in 4th grade. I was absent for two weeks due to a nervous breakdown (or maybe it was the mumps).
Whatever my excuse, the upshot is, though I kind of know how to put the words together, I can’t tell you how I do it. Dangling participle? Is that a wardrobe malfunction? Subject-verb agreement? Is that some kind of syntax treaty several grammarians hashed out in a smoke-filled boardroom? I just don’t get it. I think it’s because it’s kind of like math, and math and I don’t get along. Haven’t since that great times table debacle long ago.
But I muddle through, and some people seem to think I put the words together just fine. Including the awesomely terrific literary agent who loves, no, lurvvvvessss my work so much she called to offer me representation last week. I’ve been hoping to hear those words for a long time, words that totally call for a drink!
What? You thought I’d celebrate with any other libation?
Now, as soon as I finish my tea, I’ve got to get to work on revisions. The next step is submissions to publishers–words I can totally get behind.