I found myself in an interesting position at work the other day, and by "interesting," I mean "frustrating." A woman shanghaied me into demonstrating multiple iterations of the same product, and in the course of this, she asked me a question that made clear how skeptical she was of my expertise. Although I outwardly answered her in the politest way I could, in my head, I went, "The fuck you just say to me?"
And that right there is the thing I want to focus on today. Not the customer's demands, but the response I had and how it is reflective of the difference between a writer's personal life and their recorded words.
Let's parse this out. "The fuck you just say to me" is hardly a correct sentence; if you replace the missing words, it reads, "What the fuck did you just say to me?" I've discussed my Midwestern dialect before on this blog, and it's something of which I've become increasingly aware over the years, particularly after spending approximately a third of my life living in the South. My speech patterns differ from those of the people by whom I've often been surrounded, and on occasion, they have called me out on it, which is fine.
What I've been more self-conscious about, however, is the disparity between the way I speak and the way I write. Any time I have a meeting or an interview, I start to freeze up partway through, because I know I could respond to questions or make my own points far more coherently on the page, and my anxiety kicks into overdrive, thereby further garbling my speech. I hate this aspect of my personality, and I do try to rein it in, but it's tough.
In a perfect world, I would have the ability to speak clearly and elegantly at all times, but that's simply not the case, and I suppose it's a flaw I have to accept in myself. Also, I feel like this is a common theme among writers, at least based on conversations I've had with my compatriots and live readings or discussions I've seen throughout the years.
This being a far from perfect world, however, I have to work toward filtering myself better at the outset, and at thinking more quickly so I can form those beautiful sentences I want to utter. Another self-improvement project, then, but at least a (reasonably) worthy one. This way, everyone will someday be able to understand the words that are coming out of my mouth.