Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Worts and All by Jess Lourey

I am an efficient (perennially stressed. anal. stretched too thin.) person. Some days, I’m even like Martha Stewart on speed. I am a full-time college instructor of writing and sociology, a single mother of an eight and five-year-old, and a mystery writer with three books coming out within one 13-month period. Crazy, right?

I didn’t necessarily think so, until I noticed I was even altering the English language to accommodate my need to get stuff done sooner. I was making illegal contractions. Word shorts. Worts. The term is an example of what it defines (and if there is a word for that occurrence, please let me know because I bet it’s a cool word).

How it goes is this: I find myself typing really fast (Incidentally, this fast typing happens while I’m giving student feedback to online papers, not when I’m writing novels. I find that when I write creatively, my Muse comes more with the force of a whoopee cushion than a tempest.). So I’m typing so fast that spell check can’t keep up with me. I’ll be four lines past before that little red squiggly line appears, indicating I’ve misspelled a word. I look back and realize that what I’ve actually done is Frankenstein two words. “Awkward wording” becomes “awkwarding.” “Your thesis issues include…” becomes “Your thesissues include…”

What’s happening? Is my brain growing a horn? Is this evolution or a cry for help? Or do I just needitors? Help me.


Sue Ann Jaffarian said...

When you figure out what it is, call me. Maybe we can get a group rate for the obvious therapy involved. :)

And how the #$%@ do you manage to get out 3 books in 13 months??? I bow to your greatness. Is it something you can bottle and ship to Los Angeles? Am will to pay...

Mark Terry said...

Awkwarding. I like that, although I think I prefer awkwording.

Actually, I've often felt that AWK was a giant bird of prey, circling the words on the page, looking for the slow, the weak, the stumbling, the ill... waiting to cull the herd, so to speak.

Jess Lourey said...

You can't edit my worts, Mark. That's bad form. I like the visual of the Awk, though. ;)

Sue Ann, three books in 13 months was an accident that I don't know if I can recreate. I actually had June Bug written a few years ago, so it came out in March 2007, and in the interim between signing a contract for June Bug January 2006 and about two weeks ago, I wrote Knee High by the Fourth of July and August Moon. Phew.

jbstanley said...

I think crows say AWK when they're happy. You see, those loquacious black birds know what a humorous woman you are!

Julia Buckley said...

Jess, you rule. It's very 1984, very NEWSPEAK, to create those worts. I think I'm going to try it, because my grading takes me eons.

In any case, I think you are most admirable, because you balance it all--mother, teacher, writer. I'll bet you take Geritol every day.