Tonight was the all-school open house extravaganza. Okay, it was low on the "extravaganza"--but heavy on the "open." Tonight was the night we unpacked the bursting backpacks into the freshly sanitized (we hope) desks and lockers and greeted all those long-lost friends we hadn't seen since... well, since we'd gone to the pool earlier this afternoon.
Ah, back to school. It's a sacred time. A beautiful time when the notebooks are doodle and problem free, the pencils are sharp and unchewed, the erasers haven't yet shaled off those pesky rubber hairs that you just can't wipe off your desk, and the gym smells....
Well, the gym smells. But that's a gym for you.
There's a certain excitement which accompanies back-to-school shopping for a writer. I'm not kidding you when I say my heartbeat quickens when I see notebooks on sale for 15 cents a piece and highlighters in fun new colors. I imagine most of my fellow shoppers at Wal-mart assumed I had about twelve other kids at home by the sheer volume of notebooks I stacked into my cart. I let my kids pick out the colors they liked and then just started grabbing handfuls of them. Sure, I reasoned that they would run out of paper before Halloween and need new notebooks, but they knew the truth. Those extra notebooks are for me.
I have notebooks in the car, beside my bed, near the TV, in the kitchen.... I've got a whole box of filled notebooks sitting in the closet of my writing cave. Sometimes I just pull one out at random to see what kind of ideas were so very immediate that they had to be written down in the dark (the penmanship could rival that of a kindergartner on crack), on the sly while I was teaching The Odyssey to a group of high school freshmen (so much fodder for fantasy writing found within Greek mythology!), and, since we're all about honesty here, while, gulp, driving.
Texting while driving is illegal in Iowa. I can live with that. Literally. But if they take away my shiny new notebook....
Yes, it's terrible. I know. But the actual penning of the idea isn't nearly so bad as when I can't find the notebook. Look out! I'm driving with one hand and scouring my purse for a receipt, a napkin, anything on which to place the glittering pixie dust of the vehicular muse, with the other.
And where's the blooming pen????
I've written ideas, lines, snarkisms, and such in lipstick and eyeliner. I've used the backs of receipts, old grocery lists, deposit slips, used napkins, and questionable kleenexes. Gross. Sorry. Writing's a messy business.
But rarely do I abbreviate. I don't do symbols in place of words. I love words. I live for words. I breathe words. That's why it's called inspiration.
and that's why I grimace every time I text.
Oh, I appreciate the convenience of texting. I do. It's like email on speed. It's Dragnet gone techno. "Just the facts, ma'am." Without the inconvenience or pressure of having to make small talk. I can arrange a sleepover for my daughter in about 2.5 seconds, reply included. Yeah, I can text pretty fast. I've got the querty keyboard and everything on my razzley-dazzly smart phone. But just because I can doesn't mean it doesn't bother me on some deep, traditionalist and philosophical level.
You see, I've got a little bit of a hang-up, no pun intended, with text lingo. I get a primo gut-sink every time I replace the word "to" with the number 2. And if I need to use "too" in a sentence? Well, doggone it, I'm typing that sucker out. It's cringe-worthy enough when I see that usage screwed up in daily life writing--I will not allow myself to use the number when a second "o" is needed for clarity of meaning. I won't I won't I won't.
Okay, I might.
And don't get me started on the evolution of the letter "b." Two years ago, when substitute teaching an English class, I received a worksheet to check with a sentence--yes, a sentence--where the answer was correct... except that it was written in TEXT! I let the red-pen of justice take care of that one for me.
My thirteen-year-old daughter is saving up for her own texting plan. Am I wrong for wanting to put specific grammatical requirements on her airtime usage?
And that's a bmr, 2. I mean, too. Call me old fashioned, but there's this little grammar teacher rapping my thumb knuckles with a ruler every time I abbreviate with what is coming to be known as proper texting vernacular.
And the past tense verb form of text? Texted. As in, "I texted him."
That just makes me shudder.
My friend Cristy lives in Alabama. Every once in a while, Cristy sends me a handwritten letter. She writes out all the words and everything. I love Cristy's letters. And I love that she's my age and still appreciates the art of communication. That girl was raised up right.
Maybe I'll text her later and tell her how much I appreciate her friendship. Now how would that go?
UR GR8. THX 4 UR LTRS.
On second thought, maybe I ought to pull one of those shiny new notebooks....
Until L8R, folks. GdNt!