21 Aug 2007

A writer...me?

All right...I admit it: I have a fascination with words. Some - many - might call it an obsession. I love cleverly coined expressions, plays on words, unexpected phrases etc. Words often take centre stage in our family. My husband is an academic with several publications behind him, and I also work with language as a professional - and occasionally here in Norway unprofessional - translator. Sometimes, our sense of humour makes others shake their heads. We get a kick out of double entendres, while misspellings in papers or typos in books can get us all worked up. I can read a beautifully written phrase over and over again. It all gets a bit pathetic at times.

However, despite this interest, I have never thought myself particularly good with words. Instead, I admire others for their skill and wish I could do the same. I am a "wanna-be" linguist. A try hard. Not a natural at all.

Come to think of it, it is kind of like my singing. I love to sing but cannot carry a tune. However, that is another story altogether.

Since the advent of my blogging efforts, rumour has it that some of my friends are a little wary of commenting on my entries here in blogosphere. The term "intimidated" was used. Yikes. I was floored to hear that anything I do or say could possibly be taken that seriously. I never knew that I could be intimidating. Me? The "wanna-be"?!

Let me clarify that my friends have all been so sweet in sending me emails complimenting my blog, and a few even think it is well written on occasion. But some felt awkward adding their comments directly on the blog, fearing that their comments might look "second rate" (and yes, that is a direct quote). I can see why people could feel uncomfortable having their comments read by strangers, but since I do not expect my blog to be read by anyone other than those with a special interest in our Norway adventure - and let's face it, that number is exceedingly low - I just never considered that posting a comment could be intimidating. But my eyes have now been opened.

So, I've spent the last several days mulling this over, trying to figure out if there is anything I can do to make people more at ease. In addition to milking the situation at home, of course. Mike would concur that almost everything I now say to him either starts or ends with something akin to "I am a great writer, you know...". A conversation might go something like this:

Mike: "Heidi, could you pass the milk, please?"
Me: "...sorry?"
Mike: "The milk, could you pass it, please?"
Me: "Oh, sure, here you go."
Mike: "Thanks. You seem distracted?"
Me: "Hmmm...just thinking about my next blog entry. Even great writers have to plan a little, you know..."


Christopher: "Mamma, I don't have any clean PJ's!"
Me: "OK. What would you like me to do about it?"
Christopher: "Did you wash some?"
Me: "No, I am sorry. I was too busy working on my craft."
Christopher: "Pappa - mamma is being strange again. Where are my PJ's?"

You get the idea. Things have gotten a little out of hand at home. I must reel in the ego a bit.

I did consider posting a completely unedited entry, one of those "train of thought" posts where I'm just writing about anything and everything that pops into my head. That way everyone could see just how scattered and disorganized I can be. I decided against doing it because it was pointless; the point is that I do like to review my entries before posting (unlike my children in their schoolwork, I might add).

But I think the charm of posting comments is that people can respond instinctively to whatever is written in the original post or someone else's reaction to it. Sometimes a post or comment can get a dialogue started about something that is of interest to several people. It is not about spelling, phrasing or sentence structure. Gawd, we do enough of that when dealing with our kids' homework!

So my solution to it all: Welcome to my world - this is what cracks me up at the moment.

Signs in Norway

Exhibit number one:

Seen on a cattle transport truck. Doesn't it just make you want to run out and buy a big, juicy steak?

Exhibit number two:

Indeed...the question I suppose all young Norwegian guys are asking themselves: Is spilling her better than simply dumping her?!

Exhibit number three:

Is it Stu who is bad, or is everything just plain awful in this washroom?

Clearly, everything can be twisted, and text is always whatever you choose to take from it, not necessarily what the author intended. So let's just have fun with it!


morag said...

Again, I'm at a lost for an eloquently( I had to check in the dictionary for spelling) phased reponse. I'm glad you're working hard at your craft and I do enjoy it very much.
You and J.K. should be collaborators for first novel "the Norweign Magic". I love those signs. Please send me a steak, I'd love to have one of those Fatland ones on the BBQ. Maybe Fatland is where you have to live after you had too many steaks. Maybe the "she" had too many of those Fatland steaks and there is now a special place to spill her. After all those fat steaks you need a specific location to spill for safety reasons. There also seems to be a BAD place to do your "business" after eating the steak. The picture of the cow on the truck is almost enough to turn me into a vegetarian, what do you think Sanu?

angela said...

Hi Heidi,

I have to admit that I was a little intimidated in commenting back since your stories were beautifully written and the pictures are perfect. What an excellent way of communicating from far.Heidi, you do have many talents.

Family Adventure said...

Morag - you kill me. Only you would be able to find a connection between those pictures. That is quite a talent.
Angela - GREAT to hear from you! It took a Fatland truck to get you started, eh?!

Karen MEG said...

Seriously addictive isn't it Heidi :). My family have been very understanding and patient, especially Ian as he sees me feeding my addiction, looking for the perfect blogpost moment, with the help of the digital camera EVERYWHERE we go!
I'll agree with everyone - you are a very talented writer. I'm having a blast reading and feel like I'm right there with you.
Especially this post - these signs are hilarious. Reminds me of another blog I visit every so often - Chinglishness - you should check it out:

Hae Yung said...

Now that you have addressed our insecurities and it's out there, I am now typing whatever comes into my head. No editing what so ever. I am not even checking my spelling. Anyway, Morag is like the first person to comment on everything....she's so competitive!

Sanu said...

Wow! I'm impressed with Morag's writing skills too. Forget J.K., I think that Morag and Heidi should write a book together. I'm sure it would be a best seller (make sure you include pictures...). I'd read it. And Morag, when you become a vegetarian &'ll be a non-veg... Or may be I shouldn't make any dares....seeing what happended the last time I did (I ended up eating shrimp!).
Heidi, can't wait to read your next blog

Family Adventure said...

HY: Looking forward to seeing your uninhibited self. Is it very different from your inhibited self?! I find that hard to believe...

Sanu: I also find it hard to believe that you are even thinking about making non-veg promises after that session last summer. How quickly we forget?! :)

Family Adventure said...

Karen: I love those! I have a bunch at home from a friend of mine. Also, in my line of work, I often see pretty amusing translations, especially from China and Japan. You know what they are trying to say, but it often does not come out all that well. But hey, I bet it would be pretty funny if I were to try to write anything in Japanese or Cantonese, too...

Junebug said...

Oh my God, you are funny!