Cotton, Hay and Rags

This is one of those days when I probably shouldn’t be allowed access to my keyboard without having a minder keeping watch over my shoulder.  My head is, as Professor Henry Higgins would say, “full of cotton, hay, and rags.”

Usually when I’m in one of these moods, I can at least summon up a bit of umbrage over the state of things grammatical, but today I can’t be bothered with the fact that the words “fast forwarding and other functionalities may not be available.”  FUNCTIONALITY?  Wouldn’t the word functions actually fit the bill?  And then there are the sports announcers who rattle on about the PHYSICALITY of the game.  Maybe they think that adding a syllable or two on the end of a word will make them sound more sophisticated.  It doesn’t work.  If it did, this would be a day when my WRITERALITY had lost its FUNCTIONALITY!

But for today, those English language usage issues are not my issues.  My editor looked at the work I did on Dance of the Bones and liked it.  That means the manuscript has been sent to production, and the next time I see it will be at the copy editing stage.  That also means that if I’m done with the creative part of that book, I need to move on to STARTING the next one.  Maybe that’s why my writerality is currently AWOL.  Starting a book is a daunting task.  Even if I know the title.  Even if I know the first sentence.  It’s still more than I can do today.

So here’s what I’m going to do.  It’s what I’ve done for every vacation in my life from Second Grade on.  I’m going to read a book.  Or maybe two.  Or even several.  I’m going to read something where the plotting and dialogue are someone else’s problem.  And if there happens to be a typo, I will not sit down and send out a letter berating the author’s general incompetence.  I will simply say to myself, “Well, obviously the editors missed that one,” and keep on reading.  

And if I happen to be disappointed in a book—as I was earlier this week—I will not whip off a note of complaint to that author, demanding to know, “What’s the matter with you?  Couldn’t you write a better book than that?”  You see, I happen to know, from the inside out, that what’s going on on the outside of an author’s body or in an author’s life impacts what goes into his or her creative process.  I also know that every author, including this one, does the best job he or she can on every book.  Each of them does the best job possible in terms of writing and in terms of editing.  I will simply take a page out of Thumper’s father’s play book and resort to the following:  If you can’t say somethin’ nice, don’t say nothin’ at all!

By the way, it always tickles me that the people who are most arch in their criticisms of my work often do so in e-mails that are rife with errors of their own making.  It might be fun to point those errors out to them, but usually I don’t bother.  I know how it feels when someone tells me I’m stupid.  There’s no point in dishing out the same kind of treatment to someone else.

Now back to my book.  My WRITERALITY may be broken, but I hope my READERALITY is not.