Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Editing for the Tooth Fairy

by Rachael Phillips

My grandson hunched over a piece of wrinkled paper, thinking faster, I knew, than his small fingers could write. “Are you making up a story, Joey?”

He threw me a jack-o’-lantern grin. “Nah. Writing a letter.”

An upstanding member of the Nosy Grandmas of America, I had to know. “To whom?”

“The Tooth Fairy. She’s late.” He shook his head at such inefficiency. “But I better edit this again before I put it under my pillow.”

Words to warm a writer grandma’s heart. Perhaps some of my poor grandchildren have inherited the big ears that run in my family. Maybe I have passed on my poor map reading so that someday, they will end up in Cleveland, when the interview was in Chicago (hey, they both start with C).

But Joey’s Tooth Fairy correspondence gives me hope my descendants will make this world a better place because of wisdom they learned from Grandma, namely:

  • Most sentences don’t end with semicolons, no matter how local newspapers read.
  • Restaurants whose menus offer hamburger’s and french fry’s should be closed by the Grammar Board of Health.
  • “Laying down” often involves losing cash, whereas “lying down” involves a nice, soft sofa or bed and a brief vacation in Dreamland. The wiser choice is obvious.
  • Slapping a, comma, in random, places, does not necessarily, a good, sentence make.
  • “UR gr8” may impress some Tooth Fairies. Some may even like “Your great.” But if we aspire to higher quality and possibly bigger bucks, grammatical fairies prefer “You are great.”

Finally, spelling and grammar checks are our friends, but they can be sneaky. The best final check is one—no, two, according to Joey—done by exacting humans. And not that I’m prejudiced or anything, but he’s the smartest eight-year-old in the world.

How about you? Any writer wisdom you hope to pass on to your family? Any perfect child/grandchild stories? Pictures?   


  1. Fun read Rachael. I'm glad there's still some magic in the world that keeps grammar strong. BTW I've never gone to Cleveland instead of Chicago, but laying and lying is always a challenge for me and that's no lie.

    1. Thanks, Mary! [Chuckle] I think those two words make a lot of people crazy. For some reason, they've never bothered me. Farther and further are my nemeses.