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Tuesday, August 23, 2016


I wrote a novel in my mid twenties. I thought it was great.
Of course the technology was a little different back then. We didn’t have smart phones, or pads or laptops or even desktops back then. You had to chisel your story onto rock slabs.
When you made a hard copy, you really had a hard copy.
I sharpened my chisel, and let the chips fall where they may. Not surprisingly, my rough draft was full of misspellings, grammatical errors, and plain old miss-chips.
Cleaning up the mess did a job on our pre-historic vacuum cleaner.
My mother had spent some time as a secretary before she married Dad, and could chisel sixty impressions a minute. She volunteered to proofread and rechip my manuscript.
She acted like doing all that work was a treat, and being an ungrateful and self-centered son, I never doubted that it was.
Until this year.
One of the things about rock-slab hard copies is that the technology is not compatible with either Microsoft or Mac. The other, is that a novel of rock-slab tends to weigh down a bookcase after thirty years or so.
I could have just thrown the whole thing out, but instead I decided to transcribe it slab by slab into Word.
In many ways I was doing the same work my dear mom did, with one major difference. I didn’t have to correct grammar, spelling or punctuation. Mom’s work was impeccable.
I wasn’t five slabs in before I understood something basic about motherhood.
Moms are cool
Moms are calm
Moms don’t care
If your book’s a bomb

They somehow know
The things kids need
How to make a project
Of fix knees that bleed

Moms work hard
To make kids happy
And all they ask
Is a poem that’s sappy

So while I review
My story that ain’t
I realize
My Mom’s a saint

Now a clip from Throw Momma From a Train.  What-do-ya-mean inappropriate?