Monday, April 19, 2010

Tweaker

Like many writers, I’m a notorious tweaker. (Great. I’ve written one whole sentence and Word’s already busted me for the word “tweaker”. Sweet. Now, Word’s underlining “Great” and “Sweet”…because they are grammatically incorrect as stand-alone sentences. Although, it doesn’t seem to have a problem when I put them in quotations. Now why do you suppose that is? This page is lit up like a freakin’ Christmas tree. It’s a wonder I can get anything published.)

Here. I’ll take a screenshot so you can see what I see:


Now. Where was I? Oh, right. The tweaking. It’s not unusual for me to start a sentence, stall in the middle…and after three or four attempts at a smooth landing, I’ll just ditch the whole thing. It gets an added kick when I’ve got Clinton Kelly, my adorable IV added to the mix. As I’m editing, deleting and re-wording, I can almost feel his exasperation…can practically see his cornflower baby-blues roll in mock-annoyance as he waits for me to get it exactly right.

Because in my head, it’s playing out like a skit I remember seeing on The Carol Burnett Show. Carol’s writing a novel…and she’s typing…and you hear the *tap*, *tap*, *tap* of the typewriter (‘cause there were no keyboards, or computers, or cells, or VCRs, or answering machines when her show was aired)…and she’s narrating what she’s writing. So, that’s what I’m doing….and Clinton’s acting out the scene as I type it…and it goes like this:

Kathryn: (Types/Narrates) “Clinton walks in and carelessly throws his jacket towards the bed. It misses and lands in a heap on the floor.”

Clinton: (Stands and looks at Kathryn with a horrified expression) “But…this is Armani. I would never---“

Kathryn: (Throws him a stern look)

Clinton: (Sighs heavily) “FINE. You’re getting the dry cleaner’s bill.” He half-heartedly tosses the jacket towards the bed and winces as it lands on the floor.

Kathryn: “He loosens his tie and proceeds to make himself a dirty martini.”

Clinton: (Smiles. Walks towards the bar.) “Now, that I can do.”

Kathryn: “No, wait. That’s not right. First he’d want to get changed.”

Clinton: “No I wouldn’t. Really…”

Kathryn: “Clinton heads into the walk-in closet and returns in torn sweats and a ratty t-shirt.”

Clinton: (Frowning…squints at Kathryn…who blinks back at him innocently) “I do not own those articles of clothing. I’ll give you cargo shorts and a t-shirt…and I want a gin and tonic.”

Kathryn: “Tick-tock, Kelly. We’re wasting word count.”

Clinton emerges in jeans and a button-down collared shirt. Kathryn rolls her eyes and shrugs.

Kathryn: “Clinton decides to make himself some baked beans and boiled spam for dinner.”

Clinton: (Lips pressed tightly together…stares up at ceiling. Then, walks over to fridge and removes Chinese take-out container. Stares defiantly at Kathryn…stabs piece of sesame chicken with a chopstick.) “No cocktail, no spam. Bite me.”

Kathryn: “You’re not very good at following direction, you know. As a matter of fact, you really suck at this. Remind me not to let you audition for any future feature-length productions I may direct and/or produce. You could have been a star.”

Clinton: (Chews thoughtfully on a piece of chicken) “Are we done here? I’m making myself that drink.”

Kathryn: “Whatever. Are you gonna pick up your jacket? You are such a slob…”

And so it goes…you get the picture. Here’s to all the characters acting out in your heads…

Fierce said...

Haha, I guess the fish from the Chinese place will have to be the stars of your show. Well Clinton, tough luck, but the business is really competitive y'know.

Wait, am I first? Yes I believe I am... I hope... k let's just comment and see... *crosses fingers*

:)
xoxo

diane rene said...

there are days that I toss out the entire post because of the way Word lights it all up.
those geniuses at microsoft really should come up with a better color scheme.
thank you (and Clinton) from bringing a smile to my afternoon :)

Gavin said...

Haha...I tweak stuff all the time. I annoy myself I do it so much some days. XD

kathryn said...

Fierce: Yes, my dear...you are first! You may uncross those fingers now...it makes it really hard to type.

diane rene: Oh, you're very welcome! Yes, Word is very strict...but I'll give them kudos for catching many of my glaring spelling errors. I do wish they'd come up with a better color combo though. I'll have to alert Bill to this.

Gavin: I think we all tweak the hell out of many pieces...but we're our own worst critic, right?

Kimberly said...

You are seriously too funny! Thanks for the chuckle once again! :)

Christiejolu said...

Love the banter! I wish I had an IV.

Oddyoddyo13 said...

I'd totally read that book! You and Clinton are so hilarious...

brite said...

Ahhh...the Carol Burnett Show! That's a fantastic package of great memories! Thanks Kathryn.

Selina Kingston said...

Selina: Uhm, who exactly is Clinton Kelly?
Kathryn: (jaw drops open) You're kidding me, right?
Selina: No! I've seent the name here quite a lot but I've never dared ask
Kathyrn: Get out!
Selina: Oh! OK...see you next time
Kathyrn: GET OUT !!

Bernadine said...

I hate it when I start writing and my page light up like a Christmas tree. Then when I sometimes change it it just underlines the words again and afterwards I'm so confused... that is when I just give up and post whatever I've written.

Sometimes the English language can be very CHALLENGING!!!!

You should have a fab Tuesday, Kath :)

When Pigs Fly said...

Yes, sometimes it's all I can do to get through an entire sentence without rewriting it twenty times. I'm amazed that I even get a post up as often as I do. It all plays out in my head but getting it down on paper is an entirely different thing.

ValleyWriter said...

Oh how I can relate. That's why I think I could never be a good fiction writer. I'm too much of a self-editor that I have a hard time letting the ol' creative juices flow. Now maybe if I just had someone to transcribe all my thoughts... preferably tall, dark and handsome, and shirtless. Oh wait. That might cause more distraction. But it's a nice thought isn't it?! (See, and I didn't even go back and delete that. Maybe I'm turning over a new leaf!)

....Petty Witter said...

A Facebooker myself, Twitter doesn't allow me nearly enough words - after all why use 250 (?) when you could use 350?

Spot said...

Um. I don't know what you're talking about. Seriously, everything I write comes out perfectly the first time. Hahahaha. I wish!! I don't know about you, but besides Word correcting my spelling and grammar, I have a Dicitonary.com tab open too. Just to make sure I'm spelling and using those big word correctly! The joys of writing!

I absolutely adored The Carol Burnett Show when I was little! Thanks for the trip down memory lane! You (and she) make me giggle.

♥Spot

cbk50266 said...

Ditto. Love Dictionary.com. And Word needs an option for "I disagree, and remember my disagreement and apply it in all future writing."

"I'm so glad we had this time together (ear tug)..."

kathryn said...

Kimberly: You're very welcome, sweetie! I've wanted to write about this for some time. I can't tell you how many times I can picture people standing around...just waiting for me to make up my mind!

Christiejolu: Honey, that's the beauty of this...if you listen really closely, you'll realize you probably do have one. The real issue is whether you want to have 'em in there!

Oddyoddyo13: Aw, thanks sweetie! He definitely brings out even more creativity in me!

Heather said...

I have only used word a couple of times. I know I write bad, but I hate seeing just how bad.

Clinton would never make it in showbiz, Carol would have thrown him out on his ear! LOL!

kathryn said...

brite: What a wonderful show! I found a clip online where Carol flashes Tim Conway to get him to laugh. (I'm sure this happened all the time.) The live audience just makes it all the funnier.

Selina Kingston: Aw! I would NEVER talk that way! (To you, anyway!) If you're ever interested, you can just click on his face in my sidebar ("dangerously inconsistent iv") and it'll take you to his site, sweetie. I'll spare him the pain of knowing you've needed to ask!

Bernadine: Aw, sweetie! It's got to be very challenging when you're writing in another language! English is my first language and I have plenty of trouble with it! Hope you have a great day as well!

kathryn said...

When Pigs Fly: I know just what you mean, Jen. Sometimes, it all pours out into this stilted, jumbled mess on the page, right? Other days, my fingers are absolutely flying over the keyboard...I love those days!

ValleyWriter: Oh, you are too funny! Honey, let's just give that a shot and see how it goes! I mean, a little distraction never hurt anyone...right? He'd sit at the keyboard...staring deep into your eyes...waiting for you to speak. Oh, forget it...it'll never work.

...Petty Witter: What? Hmmmm....why do I think you're multi-tasking on your blog comments, sweetie? I'm thinking this comment is meant for someone else...

kathryn said...

Spot: Oh, please...don't even get me started on the dictionary/thesaurus features...I'm even known to have the "online rhyming dictionary" open, just in case! Ya just never know...

cbk50266: Ha! Actually, that would be their thinly disguised slap-on-the-wrist "Add to custom dictionary" option. That's where I've put many a word that Word didn't feel was usable. Loved that ear tug!

Heather: Ha! It's actually imagining Clinton's reaction that made me originally think of The Carol Burnett Show! They reacted the same way that I believe he would! I think he'd be better at it than you'd guess, sweetie!

Kingsmom said...

You're so good at that....

kathryn said...

Kingsmom: Aw...thanks, sweetie! I do try (oh, so very hard) to listen to all those voices!

Lauren said...

I feel particularly targetted by that last line...

Arizona Mamma said...

I think you could write a book. You obviously are good at character development.

Sara Louise said...

I too am a tweaker!
This post is great; The Carol Burnett Show, Armani, dirty martini, the word tweak... you can't ask for much more really :-)

kathryn said...

Lauren: Well, I believe you probably should! Hell, we both should! But I meant it as a compliment. You knew that, right? Only the cool kids have the voices, sweetie.

Arizona Mamma: Why, thank you my dear. Maybe I could write a book. The question is: Would you read it?

Sara Louise: Ha! "I'm Sara Louise...and I am a tweaker." (Audience: "Hi, Sara Louise...") I suppose it's inevitable-if it can survive the tweak, then it's fit to print!

Kristy said...

I so do not understand the whole - wear khakis and flats when you are slummin to the grocery store or relaxin on the weekend. That would be very dressed up for me for those occassions!

Wendy Blum said...

There are too many voices in MY head to make anything coherent in character writing form most days XD
This is why I come to your blog, Kathryn. Knowing you are so great at writing these narratives of yours takes pressure off me =)
Danke Schoen.

kathryn said...

Kristy: I think it's more a "Do as I say...not as I do" kinda thing. We all slum...we're just not supposed to broadcast it!

Wendy Blum: Ha! You're very welcome, sweetie. I'm always happy to relieve the pressure...we certainly don't need more of that. Ever.

Alicia said...

Hahaha, good one. But you know what bothers me is when the voices in your head want to talk to you at 2am and you're too tired to write down the awesomeness of the conversation and then in the morning you can't remember it. We should be able to insert a memory card (please refrain from suggesting where to insert it) and record those late night/early morning gems of perfection.

kathryn said...

Alicia: Oh, you are so right! Didn't you mention once that you call your cell and leave a message? I thought that was a nifty idea. I'm always telling myself, "You'll remember in the morning." Yeah, right!

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