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Wednesday, 15 April 2015

My word is my pond, sorry, bond...

A long-standing  friend of mine has just bought a house  more than sixty miles away from her job. She's thrilled about the new 'chez-moi' but worried about the commuting.

How will you make the transition? I texted  the other day, in between  emails and overdue edits.

'How will I make the train station?' she replied. 'I'm not quite decrepit yet...'.

We both laughed in an LOL kind way.  Such misunderstandings  happen every day. But I sometimes wonder how the mighty Shakespeare might have felt faced with the same situation. Or Graham Greene for that matter, or Ernest Hemingway ( who was known to have a difficult nature at the best of times.) Would their combined writerly genius have stood up to the test of text?  Or auto-correct. Or any of the myriad inventions these days that are aimed at 'improving' our spelling and grammar.

Computers could  write novels! screeched a newspaper heading the other day with enough resonance to make the publishing world take note.  Of course they could.  But could they write a good novel?
'It’s not hard to tell a story. It’s hard to tell good stories,'  Tom Meltzer re-quoted in The Guardian recently. 'How do you get a computer to understand what good means?'

But back to the auto-correct. Even those of us who don't while away our time at the keyboard all day must  have shouted No - that's not what I meant...'   to the smug-looking screen as it churns out gobbledegook in the name of progress.  Must we  be told how to write?

I think my five-year-old granddaughter has the right idea:before she speaks, or puts pen to paper, she listens to her teacher. I sent everyone an Easter card,' she told me recently. 'But Miss Jones says yours is an original, not a duplicate.'  Maybe she just likes big words. Or else she's been reading Hemingway.

Title Wave's photo.
I reproduce this with thanks to my friend and grammar expert Wendy Guilbert for bringing it to my attention.



Elaineyross said...

Ahhhhh - I really love this piece, especially the poem - ha ha! Great angle and very entertaining Marilyn.

Guernsey Girl said...

Thanks, Elaine - I'm glad you found it entertaining! I had to read the post through several more times to make sure there were no mistakes... ;)

Artemis J Jones said...

I enjoyed that, thanks for sharing the spell checker !

Guernsey Girl said...

So glad you enjoyed the post, Artemis J Jones - do call in again...