I was buoyed today by Peg at Peg O’Leg’s Ramblings. In honor of tax day, she reposted an earlier musing. With her Me No Like-y Tax, she says, “each time the word ‘like’ is used, except to express a preference or to compare things, it will be taxed.”
Being a writer and a bit of a grammar freak, I’m all for it. I once snatched a marker from my daughter’s purse in the middle of Wal-Mart so I could correct a glaring apostrophe lapse on one of their signs. Emily abandoned me in the toothpaste aisle, my marker thrust toward the lights in triumph, but I felt, I knew it was my sworn duty to uphold the standard in this Apostrophe-Challenged World. After all, it’s not the first time I’ve caught Wal-Mart flubbing one of their signs.
But because apostrophe errors are widespread, I had to chill – my self-imposed burden became too much to carry alone. It was easier to let that one go and pick a new battle. Mostly.
Dictionary.com‘s definition of amazing is “to overwhelm with surprise or sudden wonder; astonish greatly.”
I was driving along the other day when I heard a radio ad for The Mineshaft Restaurant outside Milwaukee. Hmmm, I thought. Wonder if this place is worth the drive? After the radio announcer called it “The amazing Mineshaft” at least four times during the 30-second commercial, I decided I just couldn’t go there.
Not because the food isn’t good – I’m sure it is. I’m sure the wait staff is efficient and the place is clean. But when the waiter puts your meal in front of you, will you be speechless because of the astonishing way the pasta has been arranged on the plate? Will the pie bring you to tears? Probably not.
Others are noticing this amazing epidemic. The Huffington Post jumped on the bandwagon, and CBS News went so far as to suggest that amazing be banished. There’s even a Facebook page dedicated to Overuse of the Word Amazing.
The other night I was watching Steven and Chris on CBC. They’re engaging and fun, making fashion and food appealing and enjoyable. Their style consultant dressed her models in spunky spring fashions, then went on to call many of the ensembles amazing. She even called some of them uh-mazing.
The only truly uh-mazing thing I’ve heard lately is when Pope Francis kissed a relic holding the dried blood of St. Gennaro, turning part of the blood to liquid. And the poor guy only got credit for a half-miracle, because not all the blood liquefied. Apparently he didn’t kiss hard enough. Bummer.
So I’m with you, Peg – it’s gotta stop. Not sure if taxing is the answer, but I’ll keep my marker ready just in case…
Early last year, I sent a short story to Guideposts magazine. It was a pared-down, cleaned-up version of a story about my grandma that I submitted sometime back in 2012 or so that they rejected. It was such a nice rejection letter that I couldn’t get too mopey about it – at least for long, anyhow.
But that letter made me rethink the story. Ever pick up an earlier version of something you wrote and think Good grief! What was I thinking?? It’s kind of like that shudder you get when you find an old picture of yourself from the Age of Big Hair. Yeah, you know what I mean.
That first story didn’t have the oomph it needed.
So early last year, I dug grandma out of the slush pile, dusted her off and started rewriting. I tightened everything up and tweaked until the cows came home. Then I sent the story in again.
And didn’t hear anything. For weeks…and months…
I just about shrugged it off for good when I got a call from a story editor at Guideposts. They liked the story and wanted to work with me to make it fit the magazine’s style.
It took a few days of back-and-forth emails and phone calls, but we ironed things out, and throughout, the Guideposts team was upbeat, professional and helpful. It made me recall a few stories I’ve submitted to other publications that have been hacked up and changed so completely that I hardly recognized them as my own work. Guideposts modifications stayed true to my story while it loosened the feel to fit their magazine. It was a good experience, one I hope to repeat soon.
Here’s a link to the story on their website. As an added bonus, you even get a huge view of my head right at the top of the page! Thankfully with no big hair…