As a writer I freelance my talents by editing and proofreading other people’s work. I can sit at home and earn a few bucks doing a job I’m good at and in some obscure way I think I might be helping an aspiring writer to become better.
I’m shocked to find that so many college educated clients are hopeless when it comes to putting their thoughts on paper. In general they are seriously lacking in vocabulary, they have no idea of grammar and their concept of sentence structure and dialogue makes any cartoon character’s language shine like an English professor’s by comparison.
Just recently I edited the final thesis work for a guy who was ‘perfecting’ a screen play for his Master of Fine Arts degree, if he’s awarded the degree he owes me big time, and I have to assume that to write a Masters Degree you must have at least a Bachelors Degree to begin with. His English comprehension was at about a Grade 5 level, and his spelling and grammar were nonexistent. It was so bad that some of the mistakes were actually amusing. I struggled to understand what he meant by a ‘Sod off shotgun’ and a ‘Fuktupt highst’ and there were others I never could decipher. In retrospect I’ve come to realize that it is a sad situation that is getting worse with each generation.
Is this due to a failure of our education system? Are the role models within our society contributing to this appalling lack of appreciation of the written or spoken word by their own failings? I cringe when I hear Magic Johnson speak in his less than perfect English, and I shudder when I listen to newscasters who might look good in front of the camera but when they open their mouths it’s so obvious that they never read a book or learned even the basics of their native language.
I hope well written books, plays and poetry are not dying art forms, as someone much smarter than me once said, ‘Art in all its forms is the one facet of human endeavor that separates us from all other forms of life.’
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