Chirkets and Cherries


Arithmetic, math, numbers in general flee in terror at the approach of my pencil. Letters, as in spelling, delight in taunting. Almost the word emerges correctly. Unfortunately, ‘almost’ only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades. One high school teacher entered this in my year book. “I have enjoyed the originality of your writing, especially your spelling.” Compliment or tease, who could tell!

My college creative writing teacher was kinder. Letters and words are skipped due to my brain’s eagerness. My hand can’t keep the pace. Hence, to the creative teacher’s delight, I coined a new word. I intended to write ‘chirp of the cricket.’ The words became squished as one, ‘chirket.’ He might have wondered if I done it on purpose, except he had seen too many of my mistakes.

Recently I was working on Sunshine and Shadows. (Part of the Steeple series) The scene was being set for a diner/gas station gone to seed. Instead of giving the word ‘cheery’ two e’s, I gave it two r’s. When I re-read it my first impulse was to correct. A second thought suggested it be left, cheery is overused.  The reader will never know it started as a typo. (Except now I told!)

“Forgotten, resentful of being neglected, the dinner presented a poor welcome to tourists. The site was neither friendly nor inviting. Last year’s weeds lay plastered in the cracks of the parking lot. The rusted gas pumps cherry red paint was wearily dulled. Lynne’s Diner. The sign hung crookedly over the front door. Peeling paint, a molting roof, and cracking windows attested more loudly than the ‘closed’ sign of its demise.”

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