Friday, January 27, 2012

This Writing Thing

In a rough draft of my blog post about Thanksgiving, I wrote this sentence:

I have a lot of thing to be thankful.

Writing is much easier for me than even two months ago. But still, almost every sentence I write has a mistake--usually several. Sometimes I can't remember the word I want. Sometimes I leave out several words. My spelling is awful. But the thing that pains me most is the grammar: the confused word endings; the mixed-up genders; the wrong tenses.

So I usually re-read every sentence in a whisper before going on. I spotted an error in the sentence, fixed it, and then re-read it again:

I have a lot of things to be thankful.

I don't use a grammar checker, partly because I worry that if I don't correct errors myself, my language skills won't improve. But I was still sure that something was wrong. But what? I whispered the sentence to myself over and over, trying to figure out why it still didn't sound right: For thanksful? By thankful? To thankful? Ah, I know. I had left out the final word. I fixed it:

I have a lot of things to be thankful for.

But then a voice--a chorus of high school English teachers, actually--in my head said: never end a sentence with a preposition.

Was that really true, I wondered? But I heard the chorus, again: when in doubt, leave it out.

I deleted the sentence. Back to the blank screen. Damn this writing thing is hard.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012


Last week I had minor surgery. I haven't been hospitalized since Spaulding.

In the two years since, I've been trying to recover the many functions I lost: walking, talking, right arm movement. I've also been learning new things, things that I wouldn't have to learn if I didn't have a stroke: how to fill out medical forms with my left hand;  how to be sure that an infection doesn't blossom in my right side, where I can't feel much; how to explain to the hospital aide why, no, I can't spell my husband's last name out loud.

After surgery, I had some crackers and ginger ale in the recovery room, trying to shake off the groggy feeling. After a while, the anesthesiologist came by again, wanting to know if I was ready to go home.

"Do you think you're back to baseline?" she asked.

Baseline? What baseline?