I will not presume that my relationship with spell check programs is particularly unique. I’ve heard of some rather interesting replacements, so I know that I am not putting forward anything new and groundbreaking. That said, I think that the spellchecker on my Kindle seems to be out to sabotage my efforts. Thusly, I have decided to write a plea for understanding, should I include some egregious errors. Or even small ones.
You see, ages ago my laptop crashed. Last year, my husband resurrected it somehow using mad computer skills, but he had to remove the battery. Then the kids lost the cord. So at the moment, my computer access is limited to my Kindle and the few moments I can grab on computers at the public library. I do so appreciate this little thing. I really enjoy it. It’s a handy size, takes decent pictures, allows me to access my email and the internet, plays music, stores ebooks, and even borrows library books. On top of all that, it allows me to write.
My Kindle, however, has spell check. And since I need to watch where I’m typing, I sometimes fail to notice that it has selected an entirely different word from what I had originally intended. I am usually the sort of person who rereads and edits everything, including posts on social networks, so this isn’t always a horrendous problem. But when, as I used to say, the Muse is speaking, and therefore I must hammer out the words as quickly as I can, I don’t always notice what has gone wrong.
The little things, like it’s and its, or were and we’re, are irritating, but the random word substitutions truly get to me. This evening, for example, I was emailing some friends and too busy watching my thumbs tap away to catch “especially zinc eye.” I think I probably meant something much more prosaic, like “especially since,” but I can’t recall my exact thought. Zinc Eye, indeed.
Earlier this year, I needed to write a letter to a university on my oldest’s behalf. I meant to write the word “incorporates,” but Kindle, working in cahoots with the university’s website, wouldn’t allow me to adjust the word: Spellchecker kept changing it. Finally, when it read something like “incorinnocorpincoinincorpin,” Kindle offered the obvious correction to “mechanized.” I wound up deleting fancy words like “incorporates” altogether and writing what I hope was a coherent letter but probably sounded like babbling. I can only hope that the admissions office thought, “Great Scot! We must give the poor child a chance to escape this present mentally restrictive environment! Let us grant a full scholarship!”
My Kindle’s spell check is also a nuisance when I attempt to write fiction. I’ve been trying to get stories out of my head and onto a page, whether digital or paper, so I’ve been pecking them out on my Kindle with mixed results. Recently, I was attempting to write a scene in which a character is hoping to escape being manipulated in a political power play. Kindle didn’t like a word. Kindle added an R. So, a new scene is written: instead of a political situation, the poor character has become The Sacrificial Prawn, and a completely new story emerges…
In a dark cave lit only by flickering torches and a pit of fire, robed figures stand, chanting. Their tall, forbidding leader strides forward from the shadows. He holds up his claw-like hands, and his insane voice shrieks over the throbbing of drums: “Bring forth the Sacrifice!”
Slowly, carrying the giant chessboard, the henchmen present the Sacrificial Prawn, its tiny legs waving frantically…
Perhaps the Kindle is onto something. Flickering torchlight or politics… Maybe I should take that particular hint after all.