Friday, June 25, 2010

SPECIFICITY

I tend to drivel in my own detailed world. Describing is a passion for me. Maybe it comes from the dancer in me. Dancing tells a story through movement. It can be a simple scene or a full-blown story. The dancer chooses how to move his/her body to accentuate music and hopefully bring out a desired emotion. Simply: they describe hate, joy, fear, love, sight, smell, touch with their bodies.


We do the same but with ink...or fingers tapping the keyboard. Take your pick.


Maybe my desire for description comes from being a driven mom. I have labels, tags, sticky notes on almost ever tangible surface in my house. We've had charts. (Damn the charts, people.) I'd say I'm pathetically organized.




But on occasion and with so much going on around me, I'll lose sight of what is need. Same goes in my writing. I'll find myself too busy frolicking in the make believe mansion of dimly lit corridors in my head instead of simply stating the obvious.


"Pick up the toilet seat."


Do you have any idea how many times I've had to say that living in a house with four guys? Arg...


This morning, the six year old is, well, draining--as they call it in my house--while I'm wiping the glob of toothpaste out of the sink in the bathroom. I notice, yet again, he's peeing on the seat. 


"CJ, I told you to lift the seat."


He shrugs, finishes, and gazes up at me. "Peed on the seat, Ma."


Little turd adjusts his shorts and leaves the bathroom.


I'm standing there slightly steaming and chuckling. And that's when I noticed it. 


My words.


"Pick up the seat."


In his mind, he did. He picked up the seat...the LID. 


Apparently all these years I should have been saying, "Boys, pick up the lid and then LIFT the SEAT!


Huh? Who knew?


(Had to add this photo. WTFlip??)


Okay. So, chose your words wisely. Use them specifically. 


Do you ever get bung up in the way you communicate?

15 comments:

  1. Funny story. It'll be great to remember stuff like that for your kids when they get older.

    And yes, we sometimes forget the obvious in our writing.

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  2. I wonder if that's why my six year-old keeps repeating the seat tinkling? Maybe I need to use more specific words, with a little demo as well?

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  3. Love your new background Sheri! But I'm not sure that excuse would work in my house. The seat is the seat and boys have to sit down sometimes too! Still a funny story though.

    Thanks.

    Today's guest blogger is Tahereh AKA TH Mafi!

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  4. OMG!!!! I've been making the same mistake with my 8 yo. Groan. His 10 yo brother figured it out, so I figured he had as well.

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  5. Oh boys!!! Haha! I do love the new background too. Seductive-oooh la la.

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  6. I only have girls, so I can't speak to the seat-tinkling... but I can say I wish there were some way to mix a little of your problem w/mine. An English major, i got my love of description pounded out of me when I became a journalist. Now, starting my second career as a novelist, I have to fight being too concise. My husband's always, "Explain this more. You're rushing here. Take your time..."
    Me: But I'm supposed to get to the point! Oh... wait... ;o)
    It's a craft~

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  7. that is TOO funny! I guess with men (even the lil ones) you gotta be reeeaaallly specific...lol

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  8. omg that is hilarious. hahahahaha

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  9. lol--that's an awesome story!! But you're right, it's a great lesson in clarity and concise descriptions!!

    Also, what in the world is going on in that last photo?????

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  10. Ha! Yes, the exact words seem to leave less squirm room for the guys. Difficult to master, but deadly to wield!

    "Your shoes don't belong there." - my personal fav, because it induces guilt. Isn't that what moms are for? :)

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  11. I am suddenly grateful that I have a sister and not a brother...
    lol, that's a funny story, though! You're right--clear communication is SO important.

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  12. *sigh* nothing like sitting down on the already cold toilet seat and feeling pee...
    "WHO PEED ON THE SEAT?!"
    Yes, I've woken my family before with that one...turns out it was my husband.
    j/k. It was my 5yr old.
    So cute.
    Loved the story. :D

    I'm working on feeling what I want the audience to feel.
    I find it hard to slow down and make it feel pretty as well as sound pretty.
    It ends up sounding succinct and boring...it'll get there.
    Have a good weekend!

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  13. LOL! How funny! Just this week my daughter yelled, "Oh you heck words!" at someone she was mad at. I don't know who would say that in place of bad words. *nervously looking around* =D

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  14. When I write I tell myself that I need to leave some things to the imagination and let the reader make connections, but in real life I like to be specific.

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  15. Yes. As a teacher we were taught to always put a positive twist on things--instead of "No talking" it's "Thank you to the students who are quiet" or "Keep your hands to yourself" instead of "No hitting." Now that I'm a mom, I find myself doing the same thing. It's kind of exhausting, but for the life of me, I can't stop!

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