Friday, November 12, 2010

Are Part of Being Young

Editing comes naturally to me.

I have a friend (I call her a friend), whose blog I started reading a while ago. Her blog is different than mine, and I'm sure it appeals more broadly. She allows for variances from the rules of writing; hers is more of a stream of consciousness flow, conversational in its manner. She writes while her emotions are still raw and powerful, and I would not be surprised to hear that her keyboard was wet from her own tears at the end of more than a few of them.

Without realizing how damaging this could be, I reflexively critiqued her writing, from placement of punctuation to spelling errors, typos and verb agreement, and so on. I didn't mean to offend her, and luckily, she knew that I intended no such thing. She politely notified me that she didn't think she wanted my help, and it was then I realized that I had been essentially editing her diary or journal.

Her thoughts, her feelings...shared with the internet, but still her emotions, laid bare. I had run roughshod over them, because while I was reading, my eyes would stumble over misused grammar, and it jarred me away from the perfect immersion of her story. I wanted everyone who read it to experience her weavings without interruption, and I had tried to change it to fit my view of what it should (or should not) be.

This revelation made me think about my friends (I call them my friends), and how we approach writing our blogs. Some write their blogs like journalists. They are art critics and sports beat writers, political strategists and foodies. Starting with a play or a plan or a plate, they explore each part of it with their words. Others still are travelers, whose blogs are a place to record what they experience on their journeys, so we might see the world through their eyes.

My writings? These are my essays, awaiting publication; my arguments, prepared to face attack; and my speeches, searching for the right audience. Each word is carefully chosen, every connotation is weighed carefully against the others. Even my mother tells me that my thoughts appear to have "boiled" for a while before I couch them here. I strive to be thought-provoking. The written word is more to me than just a tool to convey thoughts. It's the medium in which I choose to frame my existence.

An apology to my friend (I call her my friend) for trying to edit her soul from her blog.

Until another time,

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Each and Every Note Another Octave

I voted today.

My lovely spouse had gone before me (while I was taking the children to school), and called to say we weren't on the registered voter list. She mentioned to me that the volunteer had said that sometimes people just drop off the list. She reminded me to have my driver's license handy.

When I got there, I went to the registered voter line, organized alphabetically. I handed the volunteer my driver's license, so I wouldn't have to spell my last name (which is easily misspelled).

Still, it got looked up wrong, and I was told I was not registered. I pointed out the error, and after flipping back a page, my name was found, immediately following my wife's unsigned line.

Then I mentioned that my wife had already been there, and that she had been informed that she was not registered, and that she had registered again, and that she had voted. I was assured that her vote would count. Which makes sense, after all, it's a secret ballot, how would they know which one was hers? Since she doesn't plan to return and vote again under her registered name, I think she'll be able to vote in future elections, as well.

Our volunteer looked rather embarrassed about all this, so I told her that it was still pretty early, and she'd probably only had one cup of coffee so far. Her fellow volunteers laughed, and I went to retrieve my ballot.

How did it go, you ask?

I voted to increase the local property tax, because I have seen the school district budget, and I know how the state money has decreased, while the need to educate our children has not. Also, some of the school buildings are so old, they are out of code; they need repairs or replacement of certain fixtures.

I voted against all incumbents, because sometimes I'd rather have "the devil I don't".

I voted for everyone running unopposed, because they need affirmation, too.

I did not vote for anyone in the race that I had not researched (Judge 3, 10th District Court), a fact that bothered me. I should have looked at the sample ballot on the Secretary of State webpage, so I would have been better prepared. I won't be missing this one in 2012.

Until another time,