Someone recently told me a couple needed to have commonality for a relationship to work. This is a myth. Take, for example-Jack Sprat and his wife, Mrs. Sprat. Rumor has it that Jack Sprat could eat no fat; his wife could eat no lean; so betwixt the two of them, they licked the platter clean. Because of Jack’s Crohn’s Disease and Mrs. Sprat’s sweet tooth, the two have been living happily on fat and lean since 1639. What if they shared their love of Little Jack Horner’s Christmas pie or Little Red Riding Hood’s basket of goodies. What if Jack Sprat ate all the fat, and left his wife the lean. A fight would break out betwixt the two of them – and become a murder scene.

Scarlett O’Hara and Rhett Butler. Americans fell in love with Scarlett and Rhett in 1936 not because of the commonality between Rhett and Scarlett, but because of the passion they shared. Picture: Tara Plantation, Atlanta Georgia, 1873. Debonair Rhett Butler, and Scarlett O’Hara, a vision of loveliness in her corseted dress: Scarlett: (After she has lost everything) tearfully says to Rhett “Where should I go, what should I do” Rhett replies “Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn” The applause. The romance. The pain. The drama. The passion. The Pulitzer Prize. The alternate ending,if Rhett and Scarlett agreed on everything and had common interests:
Scarlett: “Where should I go, what should I do?” Rhett: “Gee Scarlett, honey, I don’t know maybe we should sit down and discuss it over a mint julep.” Not the same, is it?

The ultimate odd couple: Miss Piggy and Kermit the Frog. He is a frog; she is a pig. Not much in common there. They are loved for their passion for each other-not their interests.

It is a fair criticism that all these characters are just that, characters. But they are beloved characters because of the passion their love entails, not the common interests they have.

As for real people, sometimes commonality is a hindrance. Bonnie and Clyde, the notorious bank robbers, killed nine policeman and several civilians. They shared a common interest – murdering and stealing. Having a common interest did not fair well for them, they both died violent deaths, him at 25 and her at 23. It has often been questioned whether they would have become two of the most notorious bank-robbers if they had not met when Bonnie was 19 and Clyde 21. Separately, they were adventurous; together, they were deadly.

Napolean Bonaparte and Josephine de Beauharnais, she was wealthy; he was not. He was a great leader, she was not. They had nothing in common, but their love story has been told for two centuries. Even when Napolean divorced Josephine because she had not given him an heir, they remained in love. Common interests – no. Passion, yes, an abundance. Their love letters have been read by millions who wanted, who needed, to feel their passion.

Sharing common interests and philosophy are good, but they should not overshadow having a passion for life. People with common interests can be found, in a second, on the internet. But finding someone to share passion – that can take a lifetime.

Using the Right Words

As an editor, I appreciate the value of using correct words. People do not feel good; they feel well. Children don’t run quick; they run quickly. And, using double negatives is not acceptable. Never. Not. No. Unless someone is writing dialogue and wants to insinuate that the speaker is not well educated, never, ever, ever use double negatives. Those are my big rules. I also have a fondness for commas and semi-colons, but the real love of my life are the words. Which is why I am a very proud grandmother. Very proud indeed.

My seven year old granddaughter participates in cheerleading. As a good, caring. loving grandmother I pick her up every Saturday morning and take her to cheering. That is how important my grandkids are to me – they take priority over sleeping in on Saturday morning. Trust me, I am inherently lazy, this is a big sacrifice for me. A few weeks ago they were practicing forward rolls and cartwheels during cheering practice. One girl did not complete her forward roll, instead she participated in her own personal pity party crying over her failed attempt. But, the crying did not subside. She continued crying and carrying on until cheering was over one hour later. When we got in the car to come home, I asked my granddaughter why this girl was crying uncontrollably. Her answer astounded me.

“Well, meme,” she began, ” I think someone used the wrong words and hurt her feelings.”

“What,” I asked.

“Someone told her she was wasting her mother’s money if she couldn’t do a forward roll. What she should have said to her was that she would be wasting her mother’s money if she didn’t do a forward roll.”

Since I didn’t get the chance to sleep in that morning, my brain was a little foggy. My granddaughter, as smart and intuitive as she is cute, sensed my confusion.

“She shouldn’t have told her she was wasting money if she couldn’t do it. That put too much pressure on her. What should have been said to her instead of couldn’t was didn’t. She would have been wasting her mother’s money if she didn’t do a forward roll.”

This child obviously has her grandmother’s intelligence.

“If she tried and she failed, meaning she couldn’t do one, she would feel bad about wasting her mother’s money. That’s a lot different than if she didn’t do one, which would mean she did not try. There is nothing to feel bad about if you can’t do something; the only time you should feel bad is if you don’t try to do something.”

So, even a seven year old waif of a girl realizes the importance of words. Use them wisely. Words are the one thing no one can take away. They are free. They are recyclable. There is no interest compounded daily on words. You do not need a password or a pin to retrieve words. They cannot be foreclosed upon; they can not be lost in the wash. They can be fun; they can be sad. They can even be facetious, sarcastic, and redundant. Use cautiously. Appreciate them.

The one bad thing about words is that they cannot be taken back. Be a seven year-old. Use words wisely.

Edit or Debit?

So, here I am without a job.  Without food.  Without heating oil.  Without a marriage.  I have a good friend; she has been my best friend since 4th grade, who has come to my rescue.  She has suggested I do free-lance work as a book editor as I had edited her books-she is an author- Deborah J. Hughes; check her out in Amazon.  I have loved reading and writing my whole life. I can remember being in second grade and correcting mistakes teachers’ had made on assignments they passed out.  Needless to say, I was a precocious child.  In 4th grade, Mrs. Perkins used to play a dictionary game with us on Friday afternoons.  She would say a word and the first person to find the word in the dictionary would win the prize, usually a Reese’s peanut butter cup.  I won every single time we played that game. And I didn’t even really like peanut butter cups. Soon I was excluded from games,  so I did a lot of reading-and a lot of correcting.  My father had always corrected my improper use of good instead of the adverb well and I would go through books counting the discrepancies.  In eighth grade I remember our math teacher, Mr. Mercer, calling someone a dingbat.  I corrected him.  HE told me a dingbat was a foolish person; I said no, it is a thing you can pick up and throw.  I was right, but not very bright as that teacher never really liked me after that.

Back to my friend, Debby.  There is a German word Schadenfreude that means happiness at the misfortune of others, receiving pleasure by the pains of others.  The musical Avenue Q has a great song about Schadenfreude “right now you are down and out and feeling really crappy, and when I see how sad you are it sort of makes me happy!”  Debby is one of the few people I know who genuinely cares about others.  But she also has a sixth sense and seems to call me when I really need someone to talk to.  As a writer and my best friend since 4th grade, she has inspired me to find other authors who would like help editing their books.  So here I am – ready, willing and able.- with dictionary in hand as if I am still waiting for Mrs. Perkins to read another word. 

SO. I still really don’t know what misfortune has put me in this predicament, I am just glad that there in one person helping me out. Thanks, Debby.

Blog?????

I have a really, really old dictionary. It was published in the year I was born. Did I say really, really old . . . let’s make that REALLY REALLY can’t stand up without my back and knees aching old. . . But this well-faded, well-used dictionary does not have the word BLOG as an entry. It has blob, which is a “globular mass of any moist substance or a duck’s egg.” Where blog would be is the word bloke, which, by the way, is a general term for gentlemen: Well ladies and blokes-who is naming these technical terms? Has the English Language run out of possible variations of letters and now has to reuse words?

The word DASHBOARD is displayed in the left hand margin of my blog (or is it the post). A dashboard is the dirty thing in the front of my car, the thing I throw all my garbage on . . . Now-a dashboard is what????? Really, I am asking . . . what is a dashboard? Tags? Those are the things I leave on the expensive Christmas gifts and tear off the cheap ones. “Tag” is also used to describe an ancient game, before video games and cell phones, where archaic young blokes and lasses would run around trying to “touch” each other so they will be it. What they were to be was never determined – maybe they would become the blob.

So . . . this blog (which I prefer to call blob as blog is not officially a word according to Mr. Webster in 1963) is going to be a challenge for me. But, I can handle it. At this point I can handle any challenge – I went back to school to get my B.S., so I could make enough money to eat and heat my home. The coin flipping- heads I eat, tails I heat, was not working as well as I had hoped. After graduating summa cum laude, with a huge student loan, I went to work for a respected attorney, Jeffrey Silverstein in Bangor, Maine. But-he never paid me more than poverty wages – so -here I am trying to make ends meet. I have been substitute teaching which has been interesting. Other than that I will have lots of time to blog, blob, tag and post. The blob might be about talking to a brick wall (aka, my husband) or some of the confidential (ha! ha! ex boss) information from the law office or stories about Terry Robichaud, Mr. Silverstein’s assistant (lots more about her later)

So where am I going from here? I have no idea . . .