Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Everyone Needs An Editor

Sometimes I wonder how I ever managed to communicate all those years before my kids came along to edit my conversations. There was no one around to keep the record straight and bail me out of the perpetual state of chaos and confusion they were convinced I lived in.

"Last Monday, when I went shopping —"

"That wasn't Monday, that was Sunday."

"Okay, so it was Sunday. Anyway, I bought six Twinkies-- "

"No you didn't. You only bought five."

“I distinctly remember buying six Twinkies."

"That was two weeks ago on Tuesday—"

"Okay, stop. I don't really care what day it was. Who ate my Twinkie?"

If they truly cared about the state of my mind, they would have realized that my mind was in fairly decent shape before they started messing with it.

At least I knew where my Twinkies were.

It became a major undertaking for me to carry on a conversation with a friend over coffee, without having one or more of the kids run into the kitchen to remind me that I was not relating an incident exactly the way it happened.

"You did not send me to Grandma's by parcel post."

"I didn't say I sent you, I said I wanted to send you parcel post:"


"Because I wasn't looking forward to a long car drive with a thirteen year old all."

"I don't know where you ever got that idea."

If I commented that my house looks like the Ninth Infantry just marched through it, a friend totally understand and overlooked the minor exaggeration, but the kids had to know why I didn’t call them to see the parade. They just had no appreciation for the subtleties of exaggeration, and by the time they finished correcting me, they’d wrung all the humor out of a story and it had about as much appeal as a limp dishrag.

I was always thankful that they didn’t work for the newspaper that ran my columns.


Maryann Miller started her professional career writing a humor column for a suburban Dallas newspaper where a version of this piece was first published. She is now the Managing Editor of and also does freelance editing, all without help from her children. Her latest novels are One Small Victory and Play It Again, Sam.

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  1. What an absolutely delightful post. Thanks.

  2. Ah, very nice. Of course, sometimes it's not just the kids that correct everything.

  3. That cracked me up! Now I have something to look forward to ;).

  4. I know for sure I would make a lousy witness. I never remember people's faces, much less their names.

    Morgan Mandel

  5. Not long after they edit your every word, they decide to ignore you all together. Shows there's always a rainbow after the storm.

    Straight From Hel

  6. Oh wow! Can I identify with this!! Got a laugh out loud moment! Thanks for lightening my day!

  7. Thanks for all the kind words about my latest effort to be funny. I guess it's working. :-)

  8. My favorite story: I was telling a pregnant friend about my experiences of pregnancy and birth with my daughter, when that same daughter, now a teenager, walked into the room. She listened for a moment, then broke in with, "You're wrong, Mom, it wasn't that way at all."


The Blood-Red Pencil is a blog focusing on editing and writing advice. Some of our contributors are editors, some are authors, and some are writing sheep. Yes, sheep.


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