In some circles, I am known for the sweetness of my nature. My family has a different story to tell, especially after I’ve tried to make my way through a technical manual. My language becomes anything but sweet, my expression resembles a Halloween mask, and my husband reminds me to breathe by saying, “In through the nose, out through the ears.” I launch into rants about people who give instructions on a device they’ve never seen in a language they don’t know, and plot revenge against the companies that hire them.
Then I decided to create patterns for handbags.
I can sew, I can write, and I can teach. How hard should it be to combine those skills in clear, easy-to-understand directions? Don’t ask – you don’t really want to know and I couldn’t tell you even if you do. Let’s just say that I’m not sure I could recreate my handbag from my instructions, and I know what I’m doing.
Perhaps that is the point. Whatever I write, I know what ought to be on the page because I put it there. The words are simple, the syntax perfect – so what’s wrong with the reader? The irony gods are going to great lengths to tell me there’s nothing wrong with the reader. The fault lies with the writer – with me. And perhaps, if I’m an attentive student, my critique group will find me much more amenable the next time my submissions aren’t as clear as I try to make myself believe.