Yesterday morning as I lay in bed shaking off the last vestiges of sleep – I found myself contemplating grammar. More specifically, my grammar.
I’ve mentioned this story before, but it bears repeating. In 9th or 10th grade, I was given a wonderful gift. My teachers allowed me to write – essays, poetry, stories, whatever – instead of completing the much-hated and oft-whined about Warriner’s English assignments.
This was a lifesaver for me. It unleashed my creative potential, encouraged me to write and learn the fundamentals of writing like no mundane grammatical exercises ever would.
In all honesty, it was the sheer amount of complaints and whining that probably wore them down. They were undoubtedly sick and tired of hearing about how much I hated the Warriner’s English Composition books. And I’m sure there was some sense of whimsy as well. If she wants to write so damned bad, then let her write. Who knows, maybe she’ll actually get good at it.
I don’t know if that was what my teachers were thinking. Most likely they just were tired of hearing me whine. But I got my way, and I began to craft poetry and stories. I’ve been thankful for it no matter the reasons.
Yesterday morning as I groggily considered some of the comments I’ve received on my writing (mainly from my father) I conceded that, although the fire is there, the basic elements are just a little bit off. I may know how to write, but the building blocks of correct grammatical usage are a little…wanting.
My husband and I went to the same high school. As I lay in bed, pondering grammar and what I should do next, the answer came to me and I giggled quietly.
“What?” he asked.
He has heard from me on plenty of occasions how much I despised the Warriner’s books. Especially a few years ago when I saw the 3rd Edition of Warriner’s on a bookshelf at a cleaning client’s house. I had stared in horror at the book, memories of my struggles to muster up the wherewithal to blunder my way through an exercise showing clearly on my face. The client’s wife was a teacher and he seemed amused at my reaction.
“You are going to laugh at me.” I said, “But I think I need to get those damned Warriner’s books and start learning proper grammar. It will improve my writing and make me look less amateur.”
He didn’t laugh, but I’m pretty sure I ‘heard’ him grin.
And later on, after a cup of coffee and a dive into the newest Nicholas Sparks book (damn you, Nicholas Sparks, I’m like some crack addict when it comes to your books-which never fail to make me cry), I pulled up the series on Amazon and ordered grades 9-12 in the series.
So there you go, now you can have a laughwithme. Because I guarantee you, I’m laughing too. It’s been 26 years since I escaped those damned books in high school, and now I’m going back and doing it again…voluntarily.
I’m sure I could have picked something else – something that was perhaps a little more friendly. But somehow, it seemed fitting to place the order for Warriner’s. I suppose I could always inflict them on my child when she gets older…if she annoys me enough…