Yesterday I misspelled a word. It was a terrible feeling to spellcheck the difference between ‘super’ and ‘supper’. For years I’d been eating the latter – one would assume the spelling of it would have become just as familiar. As I tried to come to terms with my instant mortification over the obvious mistake, I found myself wanting to eradicate the moment instead. How could a writer confuse those two words? Without telling anyone, I withdrew into the pain of thinking that perhaps I wasn’t really a writer after all and was only fooling myself.
I spent the whole day going through the thesaurus, looking up new and creative substitutions for those two words. I compiled a list and was adamant about increasing my vocabulary.
Super: wonderful, great, fantastic, marvelous, fabulous
Supper: dinner, tea, evening meal
Sitting down at my computer, I was resolute in never misspelling those words again. I wrote them over and over until the writer’s remorse I was feeling ended. Looking at the books on my desk that had ‘by Melinda Cochrane’ on them, I realized that I was indeed a writer and had become an author. But the story of me becoming one was not a story I had shared. However, it revisited me every time I made a mistake in anything in my life.
It was a trauma that made me a writer. What that trauma was doesn’t really matter anymore and as a survivor I now find it irrelevant to share the details of it. I find a great deal more peace in saying I was offered something much bigger as a result – my love for words. I remember how, immediately after the event, I sat in my room writing and writing until the pain came out as a perfect fictional story – unlike the real events that took my innocence.
All of the violence led me to a gift, one which has taken me on many winding roads. To this day, if I were to tell anyone what words give me, I could not express it verbally but could express it very well on paper.
You see, to misspell a word may be a mishap to some but to me, a writer shaped by negative events, it means losing the part of me that gave me hope and continues to do so. Words create life, they reclaim life and yes, they can take back innocence.
So as I sit tonight eating my super supper, I thought perhaps sharing my journey would allow other writers what I have allowed myself – to feel less of a need to correct and more of a need to simply enjoy our multifaceted personalities.
Photo by Melinda Cochrane – all rights reserved