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The Rite of Right Writing
by Judy Doyle 
11/20/08
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Writing is a rite. That is, a customary practice is helpful when writing. But is there a right to write? Or is there a right way to write? To write right, one needs a working relationship with words. The challenge is our English language. Write, right and rite sounds the same, but each word has a different meaning not to mention spelling. A doe is a female rabbit. Oh, really? Julie Andrews, in The Sound of Music, told us that “do” is a very good place to start. But our mothers and grandmothers might have taught us to knead dough. No? You didn’t know that? Think of all the words we use that sound the same, but might be spelled differently or spelled the same, but have different meaning. A working relationship with words is helpful. But when putting our thoughts to paper, we need to know if the idea is a novel idea (as in a book) or is a novel (new) idea. I discovered my love of writing when I married a farmer. A new vocabulary was necessary. What “sweep” meant in the city was totally different on the farm. As a city girl, corresponding with my future agricultural husband was interesting. He was intent on telling me what he was doing on the farm. In my agriculturally challenged mind, I was trying to picture him tiling the field. It didn’t make sense to me. One night, when I was entirely frustrated living on the farm, I sat down and wrote an essay about my adjustments, or lack thereof, to living on the farm. The more I thought about and wrote of my adjustments, the more I discovered I enjoyed writing. I completed the essay and placed it on the kitchen table. I finally went to bed about 2:00 a.m. The next morning he had the nerve to wake me up at 6:00 a.m. to tell me he thought the essay was really good. Then he told me I should try to get it published. I didn’t have the slightest idea how to do that, but I began searching the Writers’ Market. I sent the essay to several potential magazines and expected the proverbial rejection notes. One Saturday I opened an envelope from a company in Iowa. The name didn’t mean a thing to me. That changed in an instant. A magazine fell out along with a check for $25.00. I knew I was hooked. I love to write, but regretfully I don’t have a lot of time to do it. I need to establish a rite to write right. Right?



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