ON WRITING

“It’s very easy to quit during the first ten years of writing. Nobody cares whether you write or not, and it’s very hard to write when nobody cares one way or the other. You can’t get fired if you don’t write, and most of the time you don’t get rewarded if you do. But don’t quit.” Andre Dubus

Tuesday, 13 October 2009

Language Wars

I pounced on the table, beating off all comers, spread out my books and papers, and snatched a few enjoyable minutes of my latest novel (Constance by Rosie Thomas - great in case you're wondering) while I waited for my ESL student in the local library. 'If you're going to be understood, you need to speak American English or British English. If you want no-one to understand you, speak Australian English.' What the??? I spun around to project fiery darts at the snappy Yankee tutor who has taken up permanent residence at the end table, but he was protected by two dark Asian heads hanging onto his every word. My adrenaline had nowhere to go...Ha! I spied my eager Taiwanese student approaching, such anticipation on his face. Was I imposing gibberish on this poor soul? How unfair of me. I waited til he was seated. 'Whaal, Justaan, howdy. How y'all doin'? Everythang cool? Faantaastic! Waahl, let's hit it.' Justin blanched, clearly confused. Maybe he was terrified he'd missed something from the list of Australian idioms I'd given him to study. 'Eh...bonza,' he squeaked. Bless him. I'll make an Aussie outta him yet.

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