The Weight of the Wait


Tonight, as America holds its breath waiting to see who we have chosen as the next leader of the Free World, I am awaiting my editor’s first perusal of THE BOOK–at least what I have done to this point–while my comp students wonder when I will finish grading their second major essay.

But I just can’t grade another essay tonight.

Paper grading, composition grading, is the bane of my existence. I absolutely detest it. Particularly for the college courses I teach. Those grades weigh so much more heavily than the students earning them, it seems. They ruin grade points, ruin class rank, and ruin my reputation.

“She’s so picky.” “No matter how you write it, she won’t be happy.”

Run on sentences. Vague pronouns. Pronouns that don’t agree with their antecedents. Redundancy redundancy redundancy. Missing commas. Dead constructions.

After 25 years, I understand: getting teenagers to write is difficult enough, let alone having that writing be grammatically correct. But I just really want to read something refreshing and delightful and complete.

How do I teach that, I wonder? And is my editor saying the same thing about my work, I wonder?

Her opinion of my writing will weigh heavy on me, as it should. Because it will be the weight that shapes the story, determines its parts, and informs my reputation as a writer. Of a book. THE BOOK.

I wait on her, while they wait on me. And America? Well, that wait is almost over.

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