Here there be monsters (socratic) wrote,
Here there be monsters

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I'm all right by the way

I guess it is time to address the subject that's been on the mind of every person who reads my journal. That is raw hot crazy monkey sex with Catherine Zeta-Jones. Wait, no, it's spelling. Right. Spelling. Not as in Aaron or Tori but as in bee or check.

My spelling is atrocious. I make no bones or denials about it. I can explain it fairly easily though. See, when I was a youngster my parents had the wonderful idea to put me into a super progressive private school in the neighborhood. It was one of those schools where the students call the teachers by the first name and nobody gets any grades or pledges alleigance any flags (I don't even know if we had an American flag in the whole building, although we certainly had flags of other nations.) It was liberal as hell and really poor at teaching academics.

One of the policies there was to teach creative spelling. That's right, spelling as a 'creative' activity. You may commence raging against the dying of the light.

You done yet? Okay, a couple more moments.

There we go. Now it's not that spelling as a creative activity doesn't have a long and illustrious history. Chaucer lived during a time of unregulated spelling. If it looked like it sounded you were good to go. This made writing easy, reading hard, and Scrabble damned near impossible. This age has passed, fortunately for Milton Bradley, and now people are expected to spell things in conformity to one of the various dictionaries floating around out there.

My school did not receive the memo.

So for the first, oh, 11, years of my life I was not asked to spell things correctly, in fact I was taught that trying to spell correctly was tantamount to being a worthless corporate drone, and possibly a conformist nazi, at the tender age of 8. Of course my last year there, they switched things up on us and started having spelling quizes (still ungraded, of course, although they were marked) and the like to try and prepare us for entry into the rough and tumble world of high school. We felt kind of betrayed like all our teachers had been Mr. Miyagis, implementing a secret agenda of what they REALLY wanted us to learn and holding back the good stuff until later.

They didn't really teach grammar either, but fortunately I picked that up from voracious reading and talking. My spelling was not so lucky, it has never recovered. Once you're past the critical period it's difficult, if not impossible, to fully repair whatever damage has been done. I'll never be a great speller. I can accept that. In my opinion spelling isn't even all that important. Bad grammar is dangerous because it can confuse and distort meaning. Bad spelling is annoying, but rarely distorts meaning unless it is truly terrible in a way that my spelling is not. Yes, if you spell "flour" as "floor" that can be as hard to read as "Steve and John is Coalworkers in 1955." I don't do that.

My spelling sucks. When I have formal or important documents I use spellcheck and a dictionary to try to correct for this. In my journal I don't tend to worry about that kind of thing. I am also an extraordinarily quick typist. I can reach 100 WPM or more on a regular basis, although usually I stick with around 80 WPM because there's no point in straining my fingers or brain trying to go at top speed. I do make the occasional typo and I don't bother to look over things before I post them. This is also acceptable to me. If I were charging for this journal or presenting it as an example of my best work then I would worry about matters of presentation. It's supposed to be a laboratory for my writing and thinking though. The equivalent of scrap paper or a physical journal. I am happy to have other people look at it if they like, that's absolutely fine, but I'm not going to bother to put the thing through spellcheck or proof read every sentence.

There were 5 spelling errors and 1 typo (or 4 spelling errors and 2 typos, I couldn't tell with one of them if I'd forgotten a letter or simply not typed it) out of 1200 words last time, and I got a comment about it. Come on.

I know I nit pick grammar, but to me grammar is meaning. It is the essence of verbal expression. Spelling is just arbitrary rules. "Okay, let's spell thought with a ugh instead of a aw. Let's turn ys into is when we pluralize. WHEE"

I'm not much of a fan of arbitrary rules and that's why it's difficult for me to get all worked up about spelling. If you can't see past a few misplaced vowels to what's being said, well then maybe you should be looking elsewhere for textual amusement.

After all, sudites hvae shwon taht poelpe can raed srcablmed txet lkie tihs petrty wlel so lnog as the frsit and lsat ltetres are crorcelty palced.
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