Monday, May 08, 2006

Beware of the "Should" People. They're Multiplying.

I don't know how you feel when someone tells you should do something, or act in a certain manner, but I know how I feel. It annoys me.

Maybe it all started when I was at George Brown College and so many of the people in the Human Services Counsellor course were members of Alcoholics Anonymous. "Don't should on yourself" was one of their favourite expressions. And I still think it's good advice, but I'd like to amend it slightly to include don't 'should on other people either."

The word, or its intent has been popping up frequently. Harper implies that we should all be happy with the budget, since everyone gets a tax cut. Well, if everyone gets a tax cut (and that's not quite accurate) then revenues will fall. And he's got lots of spending plans. Next thing you know, he'll be telling us how necessary it is to raise more money, by cutting frills (read services here, if you are not a Conservative) and increasing private health care.

A few days ago, the latest issue of This Magazine arrived. There's an article in it by the writer, John Degen, titled "Suffering for One's Art is Romantic, But it's Still Suffering." I agree with much of what he says about arts funding, but here's what got my attention and got my goat, too. (Note the word too at the end of that sentence). He says, and I quote:

"A good novel should take five years from conception to launch."

He goes on to talk about "writing, rewriting, self-editing, finding an agent, (if you are extremely lucky), finding a publisher (see finding an agent), editing again, copy editing, launching and touring."

Maybe he's right, and there are writers who have had to endure an even longer time line; but, that should sticks in my craw. It could be that I don't like his idea of how long it ought to take. because in five years and one month, I'll be sixty eight. That's awfully close to seventy, and I sure hope I finish my novel before I hit the next decade.

There are other people who are saying you should to me. A member of the e-editing circle I joined is quite fond of that little word. You should never end a sentence with 'too,' says he. And, you should never use strange descriptive words. He also listed quite a few, you should not's, but I'm not going to mention them.

I'll think I'll go and break a few writing rules. My errors, if indeed they are errors, can be corrected when I rewrite, and rewrite. But right now, I want to make some, and I need to, too.

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