The Taylor Swift Defense

Songstress Taylor Swift has made an enviable career by writing and singing her truths. While some of her songs (like Hey Stephen from the Fearless album) speak of sweet love, Taylor’s lyrics often touch on the other side of boy/girl relationships; the stuff that some might find embarrassing.

She’s gotten a lot of flack for speaking the truth. Grown men have said they love her, but wouldn’t date her, because of the risk they run in having a song created about them that might document a failed relationship. “Chickens,” I say.

Though my format is different, like Taylor, I write about my feelings and experiences. Nothing is off-limits. Is anything safe?

It shouldn’t come as a surprise, then, that I am currently writing about my divorce and all of the traumatic, embarrassing, and disappointing parts of the transition.

The other day I was advised not to tell the world that I have my kids in play therapy (to help them adjust to the upcoming changes). But what is wrong with telling this truth? My kids are benefitting, and as a parent I am doing what is responsible for their well-being. Should I not disclose the things that led my husband and me to separate? Should I not share experiences that might help someone else (going through a similar life-trial)?

The argument that it’s private doesn’t hold weight. What is private? Isn’t sharing, caring? Don’t others benefit from shared experiences? It’s not slander unless it’s said with malicious intent. Is secrecy, then, an attempt to hide a bruised ego?

I’m willing to disclose my own bruised ego.

Here’s this gem:

Yesterday I failed another CloudCrowd test, after three mind-numbing hours of writing, editing and proof reading. I even had back-up this time to ensure that I’d pass; mom was a room away to double-check my work.

It looked good, I thought, but I failed.

When I had settled down enough (after receiving my rejection email; F-word F-word F-word), I went back to look at the critique.

1. I made one subject/verb agreement after the thing had been written and during my last minutes before posting. I knew I shouldn’t have changed act to acts (the subject). I didn’t even think about the verb. Bad, bad writer girl!

2. I was accused of not comparing and contrasting the subject matter, which was the main objective to the second written piece. The fact that the subject was “Religion in the United States,” and that I compared the freedom from religion in our country to countries who do not allow such freedoms, seemed to go unnoticed.

3. My mom and I had major discussions about whether our freedom was “from” or “of” religion. Ultimately, I chose to say “from” since our government doesn’t require us to practice a national religion, nor are we ruled under a government that preaches a particular choice. We are free from being told what we should believe.

4. The last time I tested, I wrote far more than the 200 words that were required. I felt that this set me up to be judged on more errors (resulting in fail number one). Yesterday, I decided to keep it closer to the word limit, but with a topic like U.S. Religion, this was hard. Still, I thought I did a good job, though apparently I was wrong.

My frustration with CloudCrowd has me questioning whether or not I should hang up the editing piece of this budding writing career.

At the same time, I wonder if I should try again with a different company whose reviewers are a little more open-minded to written interpretation, especially on the written exams?

The truth is not always pretty, but there is power in its function. I believe in this wholeheartedly.

M.

Are you a secret keeper who believes that things should be private or do you speak the truth despite the consequence of embarrassment?

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An Open Letter to the Grammar Lovers

Dear Grammar Lovers,

I can spot a written mistake a mile away. When I hear one, my toes curl. It’s a curse that follows me everyday and I tend to not correct the mishaps, because I don’t want to be rude. In my head I fix poor grammar, spelling, and usage all the time. I love the written word and like to see it used properly.

It is much to my dismay, then, that in the past two days my on staff grammar police have found three errors in my very own written work.

I could die.

Why am I missing them? What is happening?

It’s the very nature of blogging to write and publish often, in which case time is not on your side. Without an editor to red pen every piece, it is possible to miss the errant mistake in your written work.

Most of the time I write the first thing in the morning with coffee and children’s television. When it comes time to review, a piece can either be easy or a pain in the neck. The easy ones get a look-see (maybe) three or four times. The tough ones, the longer ones, get looked over more than that and there have been occasions where I’ve fixed so much that I need to delete the entire piece and walk away.

I don’t want to bore my dear readers with all of the mistakes that cause me sleepless nights, but there is just one that gets me every time; the near constant misuse of me versus I.

Sophie and I went to the park. I went to the park. Yes!

Sophie and me went to the park? Me went to the park? No!

Sometimes I stop myself to catch it, to work it out, but it’s easy once you think about it.

My main intention for this post is to issue an apology for my most recent grammar issues, should they have caused you any concern (or raised eyebrows).

For my to that should have been too, I apologize.

I feel terrible for the comma behind literally in yesterday’s post, since it made my mother questions it’s placement. She didn’t understand why I put it there, but I really did have a good reason. I wanted you to know that I was breathing in the actual morning and not just the air. It’s still a confusing sentence, alas it was posted and I’m trying to move on.

By far the worst and most unnerving problem, the one that will take time for me to recover from was the spelling of my heroine Katniss, whose name I’d begun with a C (more than once). I should have googled her. I should have checked. For this I sincerely apologize. It’s also is a pretty compelling reason to actually read books and not just listen to them.

From here on out I want you to know that I love being corrected despite the heart palpitations that occur when made aware of their existence. Please don’t hesitate to offer up a suggestion or simply send me a message saying, “Line 6, word 4, fix it!”

I get it!

I appreciate your time in doing it!

Red pen me!

Sincerely,

xoM

p.s. Please note, I am also mindful that I am “comma crazy.” The first step to getting better is to acknowledge the problem. I promise I am working on it.