One of the things I shared with my daughter-in-law’s 5th graders during last Friday’s chat about mistakes is the fact that I hate grammar – likely because I’ve never been very good at it! The students were shocked to hear that as part of my “classroom confession” given that I was there in my capacity as a writer! I told them I write by ear and put punctuation wherever it seems to fit. I also confided that commas are a particular weakness of mine much to the chagrin of my lifelong editor (i.e., my son’s 6 grade English teacher). They loved the idea that an author has absolutely no clue what punctuation goes where and that I seemed almost proud of it. I’m not, of course. Actually, I’m more than a little bit embarrassed by it, but I was willing to swallow my pride to make a larger point about embracing our mistakes, which, based on the following “thank you” note, I think I mostly succeeded in doing:
Dear Mr. Blackwell,
Thank you so, very much for coming and, talking to our class today. All the way from Miami, Florida. I also, am very thankful for the book, you signed for me. I really liked it when, you told us about what inspired you to write and, when you told us how to publish a book. Thanks again!
P.S. The commas (and periods) might not be in the right spots. You inspired me to put them in the wrong spot!
No need to be alarmed Emma Manning Blackwell! I’m pretty sure Cooper knows where they really belong!