I was typing away this morning when the Inner Child came skulking around the library door.
"Whatcha doin'?" asked the Inner Child.
"I am typing up the second draft of The Bodice Ripper," I said.
Her little face beamed.
"Let me see," she demanded and perched on the arm of my chair before the window. She looked eagerly at the screen before emitting a squeal like that made by subway train taking the corner after Eglinton station. "THAT'S not how you spell it!"
I looked uneasily at the monitor. As you all know, I am the typo queen.
"How I spell what?"
"Bodice Ripper! Look! You have spelled it 'Bo Dice Rip Per.' Nobody will be able to read it!"
"Listen," I said. "I know you won't believe this, but not everyone is able to understand your semi-literate keyboard tango dancing. Not everyone was good at phonics in school, and to such readers, unless a word appears according to its conventional spelling, they cannot recognize it."
"What do you mean, 'conventional'?" demanded the Inner Child, and her blue eyes loomed largely in her face. "Are we going conventional? Have you sold out to Grammar?"
"It's not a question of selling out, it's---."
"Sell OUT! Sell OUT! My Outer Adult is a Sell OUT! She is a slave to the forces of the MAR-ket! I knew this would happen if you went back to school. They broke you. Next you'll be singing Kumbiya and demanding women priests while dancing topless on the cathedral lawn."
"I only ever sang Kumbiya at Girl Guides. Nobody wants me to hear me sing Kumbiya, to say nothing of seeing me topless on the cathedral lawn. The cathedral doesn't even have a lawn. Besides, I am not back at school. I am between terms of Polish classes."
"Say something in Polish," said the Inner Child, displaying the attention span of a libidinous fruit fly. "Say something clever."
"Studiuję codziennie źeby móc biegle mówić po polsku."
The Inner Child laughed until she fell off the arm of my chair.
"Thanks so much," I said. "I hope I get a better reaction in Kraków."
"But seriously," said the Inner Child, mopping away her tears with my unfinished new vintage dress, "if you spell my work the way you spell, you will ruin the joke."
"My dear girl. Try to have more confidence in your abilities as a storyteller. Believe me, as amusing as your...unique...style was for the first few chapters, there is no way it could alone hold the attention of a reader to the end of the book. Meanwhile, as I say, many people--including Hilary and Aelianus --just cannot read your writing, and thus we must remove the barricades."
"Okay," said the Inner Child. "As you are the Outer Adult, I suppose you must have your way when it come to boring things like RULES. However, I have one request, since I take it you need me to finish the glorious tale."
"Anything within reason," I promised.
The Inner Child looked suddenly pathetic, like Notburga's great brown eyes when she asked me, in our shared guest room on the Isle of Wight, whether Hewbert would live or die.
"Just don't change the spelling of Hewbert," she whispered.
"It's a deal," I said. "This is Scotland, after all."
You may find the first Sunday installment of The Bodice Ripper here.