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50 I COULD TITLE THIS WAVERING I don’t know if you’ll like this. Sidestepping the use of affect and effect, I evade discomposure that would surely come from showcasing what I don’t know but should. Regardless of my higher education in English , as well as my even higher education in creative writing, I still cannot remember when to use affect or effect. Sure, I can name sound effects. And I know a face and demeanor create a person’s affect. But there are other nefarious ways in which to use these terms. Actually, I’m not quite sure if nefarious is the word I want. I’m not quite sure if I know nefarious’s meaning. I’ll go look it up. I just looked it up. Nefarious has nothing to do with this. Though I liked the way it sounded in that sentence. Once, I heard a writer say I should put my ear to the page. Actually, he (she? I don’t remember who the writer was) was not talking to me specifically, but to a room full of writers in which I was sitting. I would like to think we were all listening, collectively learning something about how sound and reverberations saturate our mouth, cascade out. Effect to me is more pleasurable to pronounce than affect. Affect reminds me of those commercials with a talking duck pressuring me to get insurance. I am unsure if the advertise- I Could Title this Wavering | 51 ment is affective (?), though perhaps it is because I think about that duck each time I am hesitant of which word to use. I am often hesitant of which word to use. I am wound up by this. It creates a wound in my writer-capability confidence. Choosing the right word, at the right time—all of this is something of which I will always be unsure. And so I avoid all use of effect and affect. Instead, I use words relatively similar in meaning. I wonder how this affects effects impacts my writing, my writing’s meanings. Either way, I’m in command of this essay’s language, even if it is to cover up my lingual uncertainties. Still, it’s my say. I dictate how to hide my grammatical failures. I don’t know if you’ll like this. The effect (?) of this, of my absent confidence, coils in me. Tight. Tangled with truth and myth—rules and conventions —too knotted to separate the decrees from how I write. My pages present as comprehensible, perhaps even intriguing, but underneath those polished, published sentences is shame for not knowing the laws of language and elements of style— for all of those sins of syntax I commit on every page. Always. You read slick words that satisfy your need for rich writing, but underneath it all is a hollow self-confidence. Or its opposite . This is where the anxiety nests. Fear of being found out, of how this costume of polished composition, these slick words that lay atop a lack of self-confidence, will one day be apparent. Liar identity revealed. The foundation from which 52 | Chelsey Clammer my writing struggles to grow is embedded with these uncertainties that bully me. Yes, I am wound too tight by worries and second-guessings. Yes, I know this is a wound of mine. The smooth statements others make about my writing should soothe me. If I were to hear them. But what I hear is a chink opening, silently. It reveals a previously undisclosed part of me. The same part that insists praise is really rejection. And rejection screams itself into my presence. Always. A fact. A loudly vetoing voice. Judgment screeching, jarring. I want an unsounding. Unwind. Uncoil. I’m not sure how to do this. I waver. I’m not going to get all lugubrious over this, though it appears that I’m tending to get all loquacious over this, because apparently words are what I hide behind, and create how I consider the world. For instance: Every time I write wind I get confused by which meaning I mean to make. A river can wind. As in around. I would like to think a river can wind, as in push, gust, a gesture of intentions that lunges onward, towards me—its character encouraging . The river does this for me. It winds forth a rallying draft of air—strong, though subtle. I can’t see it, but I can feel how...


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MARC Record
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