When I Can’t Edit My Brain Farts

by James Wallace Harris, Tuesday, June 5, 2018

I’ve never been good at grammar or spelling, especially in early drafts. So when I say I’m experiencing new glitches in my writing, I don’t mean the common mistakes I’ve made all my life. I’d be quite embarrassed if folks read the first drafts of this blog. I rewrite many times before I click Publish, constantly repairing and tweaking words and structure. And even then, I still spot mistakes and wince.

However, in the last few months, I’ve been noticing holes in my sentences where I’ve left out words or tangled them up. They’re a new kind of textual brain farts. For several years I’ve struggled with verbal brain farts, failing to remember names and nouns when talking to my friends. I don’t believe what I’m experiencing is early signs of dementia, but thought glitches caused by slow neuron access times. All my friends my age have similar hiccups with their comm skills. I assume these new mistakes are just more of the same, all part of a slow decline in brain cell efficiency due to normal aging.

Pug

The great thing about writing over talking is I have plenty of time to shape what I say. Writing is like make-up, I can make myself look much better than I really am. What troubles me is when I send an email, or post a comment on a website, and then see a blooper I can’t reshoot. That hurts. Especially when they aren’t grammar/spelling mistakes, but garbled sentences that sound like Yogi Berra imitating Donald Duck.

For me, it’s much more embarrassing when people see snaggled-tooth thoughts than to make a “their, they’re, there” mistake. Blogging is exercising to think clearly. Revising my paragraphs sculpts my thoughts. So reading something I wrote that’s wonky makes me feel I’m losing it. Of course, other people might skip right past my potholes without making judgments. But I’m horrified when I’m reading along and bounce jarringly over a big one.

It doesn’t take a Nostradamus to see aging will bring additional quirks in my quarks, and at some point, I’ll stop making sense. But here’s the Catch-22. If I stop writing my mind will only get worse sooner. Writing is the cure for poor thinking or thinking poorly, even when the brain is turning to mush. I can’t give up.

I’m going to be in real trouble when I stop seeing mistakes. I hate when I can’t edit my brain farts now, but the real horror movie begins when I stop discovering those mistakes.

JWH

4 thoughts on “When I Can’t Edit My Brain Farts”

  1. Same here. I sometimes struggle to remember names of people. I have to check my blog posts because I sometimes inadvertently leave words out. Instead of building a Wall, why aren’t we developing drugs that would help alleviate these aging conditions?

  2. Tomorrow–June 7, 2018–my review of YEAR’S BEST SCIENCE FICTION STORIES: 1952 will be up on my blog (http:\\georgekelley.org)
    and Friday–June 8, 2018–my review of YEAR’S BEST SCIENCE FICTION NOVELS: 1952 will be up on my blog, too.

    Thanks again for inspiring me to read these early anthologies!

  3. Jimmy me boyo, dinna fash ye’sel’. Slow down, and think fer a minute; all that goes on about ye is just an annoyin’ cacophony o’ dreck that fuzzes yer brain and makes ye think ye be too slow and maudlin’ to keep up wi’ the pace o’ the rest of the world.

    Not true. Tis true that the pace of data and bullshite has increased, but the signal to noise ration has only gone down, not up. Yer brain is just as useful as it ever was, but it’s been inundated with so much crap that it canna handle it as it once could.

    Once upon a time, we all could process and redirect as much as needed so that we could be on top of the latest issues of interest to us. At the same time we all expanded our universe of interests and opened wide the intake of all those things. Our processors are not new, they are built to handle that which we wished to and were interested in handling in an earlier age.

    Problem is, so much of the noise has crowded out the signals that we fancy and it leaves us trying to catch up.

    It’s time to circle the wagons, build up the fences and learn to filter better now that we have to do so. We’ll never be young and feisty/stupid again in this life, so it’s best to focus on what we do best while we can.
    Fr’instance, ah could ha’ typed th’ entire screed in th’ mock Irish/Scots BS style, but Ah’m tryin’ to live more in the real world. At least for noo’; much of what I see, hear and ignore makes me wonder if there’s time enough to invest – and any reason to do so.

    And if that means spending a little more time on the editing side of discourse, well we can just chalk that up to the wisdom that comes with age – and still being alive.

    Strive on!

    1. You’re a wise one, Jim. Maybe my efforts to narrow my focus of interests is my way of slowing down. I’m starting to see some interesting trends on Facebook, Twitter, and blogs, where others are tuning out the chaos and focusing on narrow personal interests. I’m reminded of something from the distant past when I was tripping through the doors of perception and my mind was experiencing a hurricane of sensory overload. I found peace by focusing on a song that was playing.

      My mind has never been 100% efficient. It always has had brain farts that needed to be edited. I just forget that.

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