’Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe: All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.
That opening stanza for Lewis Carroll’s nonsense poem, Jabberwoky, is pretty familiar to most people. Most. Probably not my friend, Doug. Doug is much more a no-nonsense kinda guy and we are all the better for it. His blunt honesty is brutal in a sledge-hammer kind of way and any silly walk or delusionary wandering from reality is strictly forbidden in his presence. Keep it real or get the hell out!
My hyperbole, colourful speech and/or generally accepted use of social BS is blasted from our conversations like Little Boy on Nagasaki. I am usually left reeling from some reality check reaming, staggering from some speech slagging and beaten by be-ration when I leave his truth, whole truth and only-the-truth company. I am reprimanded into plain-speaking for at least as long as it takes to get away.
I usually readjust to the world of lies by dropping into a car dealership, reading the news or listening to a politician……only takes a minute of immersion to erase my newly found focus on reality.
But then Doug read my book………
OMG! ‘Gobsmacked’, ‘anthropormorphized’ and ‘Plimsoll line’ started a word war between us. He hit me first with typical abuse over my use of flowery prose (which he referred to as big words) but followed that up with a few unusual ones of his own. He seems on a mission to fix me.
The last word he threw at me was kind of fitting: ‘paraprosdokian’ (means: a figure of speech in which the latter part of a sentence, phrase, or larger discourse is surprising or unexpected, often in a humorous or anticlimactic way). He thinks I do that. The fact that he sent that word to me is an example (kinda) of that. It was a surprise. It came from him — of all people! He was presenting a walking example of the word!
I think I am in for it. I am gonna have to keep it simple from now on. Hammer simple. Simple simple. Homer-Simpson-simple. OMG!
I mention all this, really, because it illustrates a surprising benefit from having written a book. I am getting some comments on it, of course, but they are almost all wonderful, personal and illuminating comments that reveal a lot about the reader and not just a few things about the author previously unknown. I am learning how people read and understand the (my) written word, I am hearing my own stories told back to me with emphasis on different parts than I intended. I am hearing about my use of vocabulary and what my written ‘voice’ is. I heard yesterday a quote that amused a reader all to hell and it was not intended to be funny at all!
And, unsurprisingly, Sally is being uber lauded for being a saint and an Amazon. AND a great editor!
In effect, writing a book and getting comments is like writing an e-mail and sending it to thousands. The responses you might get make you re-think what you wrote and I am sure everyone has had that experience…? Imagine that feeling times a thousand!
This is all a lot of fun; way more fun than I expected and NOT just because of the extra (and always sought after) attention but also because it is a segue into more personal, intimate and funny conversations. Honestly, some long standing relationships seem somewhat rekindled over it. What a gift!
Put bluntly, Doug: it was all worth it.