Practise makes perfect – or so the adage goes.
‘Perfect’ being relative of course and depending on myriad factors including ability and talents. The awkward upshot of this being that some people’s 'perfect' is better than others. More perfect, I suppose. Which is awkward but a fact of life and why we venerate certain people and not everyone.
Golf is a useful way to contextualise this. The hardest game of all – and famously associated with a quote…
“the harder I practise, the luckier I get.”
Only, this isn’t true, or for me it isn't, anyway. I have been practising this wretched game all my adult life and yet I remain basically abject while others around me have it mastered. But this is quite normal. I am just doing my best with the abilities I have.
Writing is another of my pursuits which I am very practised at having written and published many millions of words.
My writing had inauspicious beginnings – failing my English Language O level (grade E) with few of my teachers putting much money on me. My history teacher, Mr Brennan, was an imposing man who’d studied at Oxford. I was never one of his favoured pupils and some years later, I bumped into him on the golf course. We exchanged hello’s and then he said wryly, “I hope your golf is better than your history.”
You'll have heard people state that ‘everyone can sing.’ And within reason, I agree with this and the same applies to writing also.
Everyone can write!
Constrained by vocabulary, our writing output will require different degrees of effort and time, but logically, anyone who can speak can also write. Sure, not beautiful prose, nor grammatically correct but nonetheless, writing that can be understood and enjoyed; a category I happily occupy.
Since, I am not a trained writer. I am hazy on colons, vague on exclamation marks and ambivalent on apostrophes.
Recently, here in the UK (home of the English language) the obscure society for the proper use and protection of the apostrophe has just been disbanded. Given up the fight, its founder conceded.
By nature, I tend to be a traditionalist. Most usually, I am wary of ‘progress.’ I prefer most things as they were and I push against changes to our language to make things easier – an example being the phonetic spelling of words rather the correct spelling. Subtle thereby retains its 'B' because it is correct but don't ask me to explain why. It just is.
The same applies to the use of the apostrophe.
Until it comes to THE BROTHERS TRUST that is - and explains my ambivalence because BROTHERS is notably lacking its apostrophe – and deliberately so - for IT and other tech reasons and so our fledgling charity might have even hastened its demise?
Writing, though, is a skill that can be improved. Any writing 'success' I've had is borne out of bone headed determination and interminable rewriting. Even these blogs are written umpteen times – and even when I sign off - Mrs H always finds a litany of errors with a heavy eye roll and a tut at the blind man in her life.
Which brings me to an important announcement and the reason for this rather oblique subject for a post.
We learn anything by copying people who are already proficient at something. It follows then that great writers are great readers; writers who've honed their skills learning from the authors of the classics.
A confession then - I am a terrible reader and yet nonetheless, Open Links is a worthy read - even just for the cause that it supports.
I have redrafted the manuscript – to make it non-year specific and updated the prize money for the story’s hero (note the use of the apostrophe here) and it is to be re-published by The Brothers Trust as a print book only.
Orders will be taken online via www.thebrotherstrust.org with copies being dispatched in the new year. I can sign copies (if you wish) and as an exciting enticement for this first print run at least – every 50th copy will be signed by TH and his brothers also.
Mr Brennan’s assertion on the golf course was correct - I am a much better writer than I am a golfer - but how good a writer, in the context of Open Links is not so important because of the cause it supports.
With ALL proceeds going to Anthony Nolan - every four copies we sell, a new donor can be added to the Anthony Nolan register in their fight against blood cancer – which means that at some point, somewhere, someone will have a chance of life.
What’s not to like?
Merry Christmas to all my readers the world-over.
Thanks for coming to my blog this year.
More to come next year - with typos no doubt and tuts from Mrs H too.
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