My Brain Just Ain’t Big Enough

I admire people who can write a lot of books and even though they are prolific, their talent shines in every story they write. Some people, like me, however, take a while. It’s not that I don’t have time. I used to blame that on everything. Well, it was true when I was working. Now it’s life that holds me back.
I spend an inordinate amount of time worrying. My worry, gene came from my mother, who at 86 can still find more things to have angst over then any one I have ever known. So your cousin, who was a sweet, darling girl, is dating a meth addict she met on line after watching the TV show intervention. My cousin prefers women, not that she didn’t give men a try.  So far she hasn’t had much luck.
One of my sister’s has an autistic daughter who is incommunicative and keeps having seizures. The list is endless.  I find myself doing things that take my mind away rather then let me use it. Reading, is a great escape.
So I’d say maybe that takes up at least a quarter of my brain. Then there is the half of brain I use to run my body. You know, like breathing, blood flow, living. That leaves a measly one quarter to work with.
Now out of that quarter brain I have to at least use half to handle my husband. He is a job, let me tell you.
So I am left with one eighth of a brain for learning and writing. Which brings me to the point of this blog.  I have a lot to learn, still. I was so proud when I remembered the difference between an em-dash and an en-dash, and darn if I am not proud to remember what an ellipse is! And yes, I know when to use it.
But, I learned one the other day from an editor which kind of throws out all they say about using the word had. It’s called past plu-perfect tense. Yes, I kid you not, there is really such a thing. It kinda threw me. What?
You insist I use the word has to remember a past event that is kinda like earlier then another past event. Yeah, you heard me—(See!)
Wikopedia defines it as follows. The pluperfect (from Latin plus quam perfectum more than perfect), also called past perfect in English, is a grammatical combination of past tense with the perfect, itself a combination of tense and aspect, that exists in most Indo-European languages though there is not one in Irish. It is used to refer to an event that had continuing relevance to a past time.[dubious ] Comrie[1]:p.64 classifies the pluperfect as an absolute-relative tense because it absolutely (not by context) establishes a deixis (the past event) and places the action relative to the deixis (before it).
I am still gonna have to figure out when it’s correct to use it. I was told by a talented editor, especially if I am gonna write time travel stories. Uh Oh! I’ve been thinking of writing a shape-shifter story…


  1. Judy // February 22, 2012 at 8:42 AM  

    I had a good laugh over your column, Mary! Worrying does take a lot away from everything. I had a grandmother who worried a lot. I've found that writing is a continuing learning process!So I suppose when I using that part of my brain for creating a story, another part of my brain is working like crazy to make it read properly. Brains are amazing things...

  2. Mona Risk // February 22, 2012 at 8:46 AM  

    Mary, you are so funyy. I am not at your mother's age and yet I worry a lot. My daughter says I'd invent worry if I needed to. Write your way and don't worry about tenses. Let it flow naryrally.

  3. Mona Risk // February 22, 2012 at 8:48 AM  

    Oops, that "naryrally" was supposed to be naturally! Is it me only, or is yahoo complicating and obscuring the id words to the point we have to try 2 or 3 times to get them right!

  4. Mary Marvella // February 22, 2012 at 2:59 PM  

    So funny! It is in women's DNA to worry. No help for it.

    Since your editor mentioned the perfect tenses, we can stop listening to folks who try to take have, has and had out of their writing (and yours, too) to make writing more in the present, as they say.

    AS Mona said, just write it, then go back and add the necessary have, has or had. Or ask me or help.

  5. Pamela Varnado // February 22, 2012 at 4:09 PM  

    Mary, LOL. Your post is a hoot. I can't count how many nights I've stayed up scaring myself with worries. I've gotten a lot better, but I still have a few sleepless nights every now and then. Oh, and thanks for the mini grammar lesson. My brain is always eager to learn something new.

  6. Scarlet Pumpernickel // February 22, 2012 at 6:00 PM  

    My husband is the worrier in our family. He will walk around looking for things to worry about. I try to avoid worrying, it doesn't do any good. It just makes me tired and I've got enough things that make me tired!

  7. Mary Ricksen // February 22, 2012 at 9:45 PM  

    My husband says he lives to tease me and I live to worry!

  8. P.L. Parker // February 22, 2012 at 9:53 PM  

    LOL - I learned about em-dash, etc. too. Shhhhh, at first, I didn't even really understand what "genre" meant, but have learned so much along the way.

  9. Josie // February 22, 2012 at 10:33 PM  

    Worry? As a wife, mother, and educator, that's all I do. :)

  10. Allison Chase // February 23, 2012 at 3:15 PM  

    Lol, Mary! Last night I was all angsty and couldn't even figure out why. Well, having to drive my daughter to the airport today might have been a contributing factor, but the point is, we women like to worry. I'm also a slow writer, which has to do with my not being a very good multi-tasker. I like one thing at a time, thank you. Multi-tasking makes me cranky and forgetful. :)

  11. Joan // February 23, 2012 at 3:36 PM  

    I would have had less angst over the plu-perfect and past pul-perfect tense, if I had more time to worry about it...but I had, have and might have had regrets about the use of it anyway.Now I will have had no excuse not to have had used it.

  12. Mary Ricksen // February 23, 2012 at 6:33 PM  

    You guys are a riot!!!

  13. Hywela Lyn // February 27, 2012 at 6:48 AM  

    LOL Mary sweet friend, thanks for clarifying the 'plu perfect tense'. My poor little brain hurts now, it's all as clear as mud I have to admit I had had an idea I had known how to use 'had' but now I see I actually hadn't had a clue! (If you see what I mean)

    I'm going to lie down in a darkened room now. Don't worry Mary (just don't worry) you make everyone smile and I love you for it!