Lily wrote about words in hard covers, Alexia talked about words in mac-wearing hardbacks, and Tommy told us of his love for crafting words.  Now it is my turn

I love words, but….

It takes me a month of Sundays to read a paragraph and two months of Sundays to write one.  The words misbehave and jump up and down the page like a naughty schoolboy.  Words with more letters than I have fingers are impossible for me to read, say or understand.  I need silence and no interruption when reading something important,

I do read books, but it can take 12 months for me to finish one, if you don’t believe me just ask Elly.

When I was young all words were committed to paper with an ink pen.  Misspelling and ink blots were there for eternity and enough to intimidate me from writing for life.  Ink blots always happened near the end of the page and if the letter or exercise was important it had to be discarded and begun all over again on a new page.  The memory of an Aunt who returned childish letters and envelopes with red correction marks on them many months after they were posted had the totally opposite effect to that which she intended.  To this day I fear a blank page.

With my introduction to computers backspacing and spellcheck became my firm friends.  No more smudges or blotches to mar my work.  The chance to make changes and correct major mistakes and move sentences or paragraphs to a more suitable place was worth more than any Lottery prize.

There are many well educated Bloggers out there whose work I look forward to and enjoy, while there are others who write in such a complicated way that I have no hope of ever understanding the message they wish to convey.  There is room for everyone and no obligation to read every blog

I have read blog posts complaining about and almost condemning bad grammar, punctuation and misspelling.  The authors never seem to realise how hurtful such a post can be, no allowance is made for the effort or indeed courage it takes for some people to hit that publish button.  Not everyone has reached or is capable of reaching A* grades.  There is room for everyone.

If everyone had a Ph.D, who would empty the bins?  There is room for everyone.

The recent story going the rounds of the Irish Blogworld of 500+ people queuing in Grafton Street, Dublin for a sales assistant vacancy in a Londis convenience store is a wake up call.  I wonder how many people in that queue had completed a university degree.  I am sure they were wishing that There is room for everyone.

UPDATE: Follow up post on this subject at Magpie’s Nest

27 thoughts on “Words

  1. Darragh

    Thank you GM, that set a smile on my face. There is indeed room for everyone, and everyone is welcome. Your point about spelling, grammar and skill is well taken – the heart is not in the style, but in the substance, the effort and the love behind it.

    Thanks again. I’ll remember this one. x

  2. lilinator

    Loved the post Grannymar.

    Your comment ‘Misspelling and ink blots were there for eternity and enough to intimidate me from writing for life.’

    Your winning of the ‘Best personal blog’ in 2008, (with its ‘ink blot’ logo) is one ink blot worth cherishing! I hope that IBA ink blot helped wipe out the damage from all the earlier ink blots.

    Please keep writing. Please keep entertaining us all

  3. Nick

    That post strikes a few chords. I’m a slow reader as well, it can take me a week to finish even a very short book, while Jenny can read at a cracking pace. And yes, how wonderful it was when word processing arrived and we no longer had to retype and use carbon paper!

    I happen to be very good at spelling and grammar but as you say, so what if other people aren’t so good, it’s the message that counts. I always get annoyed at those pedantic letters in newspapers pointing out that someone has misused a word. Aaaargh!

  4. elfinamsterdam

    I used to speed read, as a kid in fact I won a prize for the amount of pages read in 2 weeks. Then it turned out I was dyslexic, and in fact I actually was seeing entirely different words and sentences…. I was as it happens making my own books up!

    So getting through the books at a cracking pace isn’t the best way.

    My spelling is atrocious, a lot of which is down to the dyslexia, the words look fine to me… but they make no sense. And even after I hit publish you are likely to find yards of mistakes that even spell check cant fathom.

    But I love writing, and its taken me a long time to say that. I love reading blogs too and I adore books… when I take my time (chances are even if we are reading the same book I’m reading a different story, but hey I’m happy so, what matters)

    Thanks for this post GM, and for your belief both here and in person that there is room for us all. You have always made me feel very welcome and that makes a huge difference.


  5. Ian

    Spelling? Shakespeare spelt his name differently each time he wrote it.

    Punctuation? Have you ever looked at James Joyce’s ‘Ulysses’? And what about e.e. cummings?

    It’s content that matters

    (By the way, the Londis queue was estimated at 2,000 by TV3 but was for 100 jobs)

  6. Brighid

    This is a heart warmer. I’m quite sure that the Great Mother has you on her list of inspiring scribes. You should be proud, you’ve encouraged so many of us.

  7. Grannymar Post author

    @Darragh – Glad to make you smile. I will be thinking of you speaking at the Masterclass for Enterprise Ireland this morning. Enjoy!

    @Lily – The generosity of my fellow Bloggers brings encouragement to keep plodding on.

    @Alexia – I tried to teach Elly that with books she was never alone or without a friend. Thankfully words became a major part of her daily diet.

    @Nick – You are a kindred spirit! I do remember the dreaded carbon paper and can feel it on my fingers as I type. You forgot the hours spent having to re-thread a typewriter ribbon….!

    @Elf – Come in and welcome every time. So you understand my ‘Jack-in-box’ words then, I look at the shape of a word and decide if it looks right or wrong. I can recognize a friend’s car number plate from 200 meters off, I think I go by the shape and it is usually easier because it contains numbers.

    @Ian – You have to admit that a name like Shakespeare is not am easy one to remember. So far I have not attempted James Joyce’s ‘Useless’ – that is what we called it as a child – maybe someday!

    @Brighid – A little more encouragement… add your URL/blog address when you are submitting a comment so our friends here can link to and enjoy your blog.

  8. Annb

    Well done Grannymar – from the world’s worst speller! I’m so bad, that on the rare occasions when I write with pen, I keep expecting little red squiggly lines to appear under any words of 4 letters or more! Blogging has saved my sanity! Keep up the good work.

  9. Grannymar Post author

    @Annb – We are not alone, making the effort is what it is all about!

    @Brighid – You did well. Go to the top of the class and hand out the pencils! 😀

  10. Magpie11

    Hi there……As a teacher and past sufferer from blots and splodges, and the unwillingness on the part of my teachers to try to work out why I was like that, I loved this post and its positive message.

    Since writing my email to you I have read the whole post and am even more convinced of what I wrote.

    Knowing what i know now there are many people like you out there whom I could have helped in the past.

    I’ll say no more without your express permission.

  11. Grannymar Post author


    Thanks for the comment and the email. How about writing a blog post at Magpie’s Nest that I can link to, or have a Guest Spot here. You decide. It looks like I am not the only one to suffer in this way! We will chat more about it.

  12. Alice

    Grannymar, you certainly struck a cord in me when you mentioned those bloggers who write posts “complaining about and almost condemning bad grammar, punctuation and misspelling.” I agree most heartily! Fact of the matter is, I used to try and write those “complaining posts,” not about grammar and writing, but about things in the world which I could do nothing about except complain. Little good did it do, and I soon discovered it didn’t make me feel good about complaining PERIOD. So I’ve made a conscious effort NOT to complain about anything unless I can do it to myself in a humorous note. No more complaining on my blogs. And I may not attract a big audience or sound terribly intelligent, but “there is room for everybody” as you said, and I feel very comfortable with my blog and with myself. You have the magic ability to connect with thousands through the words you use on your posts, whether you read fast, or find writing easy or not. Long live Grannymar!

  13. Grannymar Post author


    Thank you for the kind words. Once you are comfortable with what you do, then have fun and enjoy.

  14. rummuser

    Grannymar, I have only complaint. The blogworld and Microsoft in particular seem to think that people like me who use English grammar and spelling are from the stone ages! Every time I use a word with ou in it, it gets underlined automatically! This is American imperialism which is replacing the old British one!

    Magpie 11, I am looking forward to your response to my comments here as well as the one that Grannymar has given the green signal to.

  15. Grannymar Post author


    Not alone does the spell checker dislike the ‘ou’ in words, it does not correct a word with two misplaced or incorrect letters.

    For those interested Magpie has followed his comment above with a post at Magpie’s Nest

  16. wisewebwoman

    It never ceases to amaze me: those who value context over content.
    I would never hear from my dyslexic niece again if I ever mentioned her transposed words and lack of grammar. I treasure each and every daily email she sends me. An insight into the daily life of a 21 year old that never ceases to inspire me and sometimes makes me cry.
    I love the cluttered LOLs, WEVs and <3s my granddaughter sends me regularly with no time for spellcheck or sentences, just running off at the keyboard, half formed words tumbling over each other.
    I feel so sorry for the pedants who miss the most delicious writing in the world.

  17. Grannymar Post author

    @WWW – You will always be welcome at my house of mumbo jumbo!

    @Judy – Now that is a big word:– ‘typographical’, thank goodness for cut & paste!

  18. Baino

    I type fast and the thoughts flow from my brain to my fingers with little time to consider syntax, grammar, spelling or punctuation. I spell check of course but damned American spelling makes that inaccurate as well. The beauty of the English language is that you can muddle it up completely and make yourself understood, surely that’s a coup . . no other language in the world can be spoken/written badly yet still be understood. Gotta love it.

    (Don’t tell me about queues for jobs . . .I’m out there trying to find one! And you’d be surprised how many people with degrees are queuing for quite ordinary positions – I’m one of them!)

  19. Gary

    I think I came across someone like your Aunt the other week when I was reading a book I’d borrowed from the library to find that some previous borrow-ee had “corrected” the editor and proof readers work by crossing out certain words and phrases and writing their own interpretation in the margin, it seems that the borrow-ee had a pathelogical hatred of American phrasing which was all the more wierd as the book was written by an American, set in America and about a specific American subject.

    The borrow-ee just couldn’t help themselves it seems.

  20. Grannymar Post author

    Baino, you are here by the scenic route again. 🙁

    As I said there is room for everyone and I hope the room with your special job comes real soon.

  21. Magpie11

    Catching up….Grannymar has unwittingly touched on a topic about which I know a considerable amount and yet am aware of how little I really know…..Visual Stress….

    Rummuser has touched on another about which I have strong opinions (surprise surprise)

    I am only sorry that Mr Webster (of Webster’s Dictionary) died before completing his overhaul of the spelling English…. color/colour?

    English is (apparently) the second most difficult alphabeticised language in the world….Finnish is the most difficult…. It is a beautiful language, or rather a language capable of extreme beauty of expression….unashamed as it is of using words and expressions from other languages..(cf French) and not afraid to evlove…but it is illogical in its spelling…
    Save us from such as Dr Johnstone who would cast the language in ancient stone…..

  22. Grannymar Post author


    I am still playing catch-up with the information you sent me. Hopefully tomorrow will allow more time.

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