I fall asleep at night thinking about my unfinished projects.
There is a very simple reason why I have so many unfinished projects; I start too many. I love planning projects. Sometimes I start by measuring and drawing up plans, maybe for work in my home involving choosing paint colours and fabrics, maybe for alterations to the garden needing earth-moving and extensive plant lists. I like having several projects running at once, there is always something to suit my mood or the weather.
There is however, one unfinished piece of work that is now waking me up in a state of anxiety. I need to finish the first re-draft of my manuscript and send it off to an editor but I cannot be satisfied with it. It is like an iced cake; I had no trouble deciding on the ingredients and the cake looked nicely done when I lifted it out of the oven. I let it cool off for a while then put on a thin layer of marzipan to smooth over the tiny cracks. All fine thus far, but then came the icing, the perfect glossy finish to present to the outside world. It has lumps in it, it slides to one side and loses its gloss, it will not set firm and let me write “The End” on it in a confident, flowing hand. It sits there, unfinished, mocking me but I will not become unnerved or unhinged, my resolve is unswerving, unsurmountable. I must regain the upper-hand, it cannot remain unpublished.
“This recently discovered unfinished work had all the makings of being her greatest novel” sounds fine for an obit. “This unfinished work finished her” less appealing.
I learnt about malapropisms at school but I do not remember being told then that they are also referred to as dogberryisms. This use of an incorrect word instead of a word that sounds similar is generally an error on the part of the speaker but is occasionally an intentional substitution.
Malapropisms appeared in several works before Richard Sheridan created the character of Mrs. Malaprop in his 1775 comedy play The Rivals. The alternative name of Dogberryisms comes from Shakespeare’s Constable Dogberry in Much Ado About Nothing; this character announces that his watch comprehended two auspicious persons when he should have said they had apprehended two suspicious persons.
The word “malapropism” comes from the French “mal à propos” meaning “inappropriate” and one of Mrs Malaprop’s best known mistakes is to use illiterate instead of obliterate.
The Beatles song titles Tomorrow Never Knows and A Hard Days Night are said to originate from Ringo Starr’s malapropisms which were referred to as “Ringoisms.”
The former Mayor of Chicago, Richard Daley, made the startling announcement that “The police are not here to create disorder, they’re here to preserve disorder.”
The magazine New Scientist reported an instance of someone substituting the word malapropism itself with “Miss-Marple-ism” and I think this is my favourite .
I confuse the definitions of homonym, homophone and homograph and judging by the websites I have read on the subject this is not unusual.
According to the OED the definitions are as follows:
Homonym means each of two or more words that are spelled and pronounced in the same way but have different meanings and origins.
Homophone means each of two or more words that are pronounced in the same way but have different meanings, origins or spelling.
Homograph means each of two or more words spelled in the same way but with different meanings and origins and often different pronunciations.
It doesn’t really matter that I cannot remember which is which as I am happy just reading books proofread by people who understand that new and knew (homophones) are not interchangeable. Reviewers like to moan about the grammatical errors and spelling mistakes of new Indie authors and sadly their criticism is sometimes justified; however, recently I have downloaded several classic novels and been presented with here instead of hear, there instead of their etc. in spite of the earlier hardback versions, produced by mainstream publishers, using the right spellings. Presumably reviewers do not read these ebooks as the stories are well known and will continue to reserve their diatribes for the Indie author community.