I AM THE WORLD'S WORST SPELLER. I have been all my life. My homework -- from Miss Pedrow's third-grade language arts class to Dr. Gurevitch's doctoral seminar in persuasion and attitude change -- all came back with the measles, solid red marks from top to bottom. "Good writing, atrocious spelling" was the verdict of just about every essay contest I ever entered (even those I won).
I don't misspell just hard words (diaphanous, anyone? soliloquy?); I misspell words like "maybe" and "because" and "famous." I misspell my own mother's name, Elfreida. My misspelling is epic. It's rich and vibrant and ever changing. It can even be fun.
"I think of them as little puzzles," my Post editor K.C. Summers once said of the find-the-funny-word challenge inherent in proofing my raw efforts.
But mostly it's just hugely embarrassing to be a professional writer who is routinely laughed out of Scrabble games. Not to mention perilous. I was put on probation at an Atlanta newspaper for causing excessive spelling trauma on deadline...
- From Why Stevie Can't Spell, in this Sunday's Washington Post Magazine.