When I write, I try hard to entertain the reader. Sometimes I succeed without even knowing it. For instance, after my column "Masks" was published, I received a ton of emails. Everyone wanted me to know that the Beatles sang "Eleanor Rigby," not Simon and Garfunkel.
Believe me when I tell you that I knew that. I used the song in my English teaching and clearly recall the cover of the album I used. It was definitely the Beatles.
However, during a TV concert, I distinctly recall Simon and Garfunkel singing "Eleanor Rigby" as part of a medley. I guess I had a senior moment and attributed the success of that song to them instead of the Beatles.
While writing, I attempt to envision those who are reading my work. Sometimes I can actually see their heads as they are bobbing up and down or back and forth. I can hear some voices humphing and others tsk-tsking.
I recall one reader who wrote to tell me that my suggestions for having a literate home were "elitist and impossible." She told me that 'ordinary' mothers don't have the time to work with their children on such things as the alphabet and numbers. She thought that material should be saved for the teacher. Boy, is she the Queen of Denial.
Another reader took me to task for saying that "Organized Religion is the Work of the Devil." Okay, okay, perhaps that title was a slight bit aggressive. However, everyone's entitled to an opinion, right? I got lectured plenty after that column ran. Apparently, I tweaked the moral outrage of some narrow-minded wingnuts.
Still another reader corrected me when I called an anole a gecko. Gee whiz, folks, get a life! Anole, gecko, lizard – the little critters are still cute, fast, and engaging no matter what they're called. And, for the record, what's in a name? A rose by any other name would smell as sweet. Thanks, Shakespeare!
So, there's something for everyone in my writing – even for those who read the column with a fine-tooth comb and dissect every word and phrase. As a former English teacher, I am usually fairly good with grammar. It helps to have a grammar checker on my toolbar, but I usually catch mistakes myself.
One of the most recent complaints I received was this – "You talk too much about getting old." Guess what? It's one of the topics closest to my heart right now. Can't escape it and, considering the alternative, I feel blessed to be able to write about it. One cannot youthen no matter how you try. All of these crazy Housewives on Bravo Channel keep trying to beat the clock. It amazes me how shallow they are. Physical beauty takes a back seat to mental acuity as far as I'm concerned.
So, while you read my columns, make a list of what drives you crazy. Let me know. After all, I'm in this business to please the reader – not just myself. Perhaps I'll do a future column listing all of your comments. Keep 'em coming!
IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO CONTACT DR. SMITH, SHE CAN BE REACHED AT HER EMAIL ADDRESS: JSMITH1313@CFL.RR.COM OR IN CARE OF THIS NEWSPAPER.