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My daughter, the psych major at Ohio State, is getting into the habit of emailing me her class papers to edit. I was in college before computers; I typed papers on an actual typewriter and did not have the luxury of sending them through the intertubes to my parents for editing. And, believe me, the lack of Spellcheck® and proofreading was starkly evident. If you are a regular reader of this blogmess you are familiar with my lack of editing prowess.
So it is incongruous for my daughter to ask me to edit her stuff, but even weirder that yesterday my roommate from college, who still lives in LA, emailed me two college essays to proof for his son. I guess because I have occasionally been paid for writing they think I can influence their success by adding a comma and changing a sentence structure here or there.
The subject of writing influence was brought to my attention by my friend and (much more talented and successful) fellow writer, Bill Brohaugh over at Everything You Know About English Takes Up Too Much Space to Write Out the Entire Name of Your Blog.
He used an amusing “on-line gadget” to determine that some of my writing is mildly similar to L. Frank Baum or Edgar Rice Burroughs (whom I assume was an assassin or mass murderer since they always use his middle name). My parody of “Take me Home Country Roads was oddly found to be wildly channeling Oscar Wilde. I thought it more similar to John Denver, but who am I to question the internet.
I have to say that I like Bill’s gadget better than the one my sister found some years ago that said I write like a girl. Well, Oscar Wilde was similarly inclined, wasn’t he. Nevertheless, my masculinity is not threatened; I mean, it's not as though I've carried that memory with me for 5 years and still recall the mocking comments that followed. What worries me is that I might edit a paper for my daughter or my friend’s son, the colleges will run an analysis and accuse the poor kids of plagiarizing a convicted sexual offender or a mass murderer. That would be embarrassing.