A very good friend of mine once scared the shit out of me in a way that friends should not do.  She told me that there is an uncharted moment in life that boasts no herald and no fanfare but at which you have aged so much, you now like the smell of lavender.  I have never heard anything so horrifying and since that day I make sure that I smell lavender at least once a month to make sure I still hate it and my youth is intact.  It’s a bit like the ridiculous tests you do when you are 19 like pinching the skin on the back of your hand to check elasticity, or putting a pencil under your breast to check for sag.  I complete all three exercises now in the light of the full moon, with a young goat at my side for company.

There are however two skills that have left me in my dwindling youth.  First my ability to drink like a sailor and remain both coherent and standing, but more worrying, is the loss of my ability to spell.

I should explain that from my first day at school I have been able to spell correctly and perfectly first time.  I am not trying to be boastful and I am not exaggerating.  I could.  Even if there was a word I was not sure of, I could usually recognise a wrong spelling.   My personal theory was that because I did so much reading I had almost a photographic knowledge of most of the widely used words, and wasn’t really spelling but comparing.  Now however I am not only making mistakes but there are words I have to think about very carefully before committing to print.  Words like restaurant (I worked in one for long enough for goodness sake), and thorough was the one that stopped me in my tracks the other day.  I am embarrassed to admit it but earlier today I had to think about stationery and stationary.  What is happening?!

This is not good, what with me planning a future as a writer.   I have always had a large, very large reading vocabulary.  If there was a word I did not know personally, the other words in the sentence would catch me up and carry me on.  My writing vocabulary was also fairly large and I had time when writing to ponder the best choice of words for my meaning.  My verbal vocabulary has always been limited and this is something I would like to work on.  My head is an ever maelstrom of ideas, conclusions, thoughts and fleeting brilliance.  It is very hard for me sometimes to get my meaning down on paper and even more difficult for me to verbalise what I feel, what I think.  I usually end up saying something like…dude, its you know, like, cool when asked my opinion on the state of the economy.

Since starting the course I have designated a bright pink Moleskin notebook as my vocabulary record and I already have a few entries of words I recognise and vaguely understand but which I dont really use either in my writing or my verbal life.  It is getting quite full after only three weeks!  I plan to use it to check my spelling as well…

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