• Nathaniel G. Sands

Hows my Grammer? And additional thoughts from my recent trip to Myanmar

Grammar and punctuation is often a burden to me when writing. Instead of focussing on content many like myself find themselves fixed on ensuring a lack or errers. What drives this need for perfection? What makes someone upset when reading a your insteaad of you're? or an it's instead of its? Is understanding not enough? Must our written words succumb to our egotistic drives?

Writing has become a lazy man's game. I assure you my first novel, 'The Event Horizon' would'ldnt have made shelves if not for modern technologies aid in correcting the simple flaws of this humble writer. And of course, even after professional editing, there was still many.

Leah and I read before bed every night. Currently we are almost done 'The lion, the witch, and the wardrobe,' by C.S. Lewis, but have made it through a good number of novels in our 10 years of nightly reading. Ussualy once or twice a novel I will find an error, often what seems to be a typo, and I always make sure to point it out to leah, letting her know "even professional writers and editors make mistakes.'' We bot get a kick out of it; perhaps because it reminds us even the most brilliant minds are not perfect.

I'm making a conscious effort to not edit this post, (perhaps you've noticed,) even though I see many squiggly red lines. (and that's after many words misspelled have magicaly transformed themselves to their proper spelling after clicking on the space bar.) I'm doing this this for two reasons... One: To prove that content trumps grammar.

Two: To remind you that even someone who reads and writes every day continues to make mistakes when transforming ideas into written form.

Three: To prove (to you and myself) I am no perfectionist.

I think about what the world was like before all this technology we have. How difficult it must have been to write a novel 100 years ago, even 20 years ago.

My dad got a degree at the University of Toronto when I was a child. When our family got our first computer (I was roughly 8 years old) my dad took to teaching me typing. He told me it was a valuable asset to have no matter where I went in life. I remember every day holding my hands in the typing position, looking at the screen and attempting to do the entire alphabet without looking at my fingers, often reaching my right pinky over to feel that big rectable that sayd 'delete'. (right now I feel it calling to me!)

When my dad went to college he handed all his assignments in typed on a typewriter. He was so enthoused with our computer and the ease of correcting mistakes; " I had to constantly use white-out," he would say to me, "and wait for it to dry before I could continue writing." With programs like Grammerly, modern technology has nearly perfected man's eternal flaw.

But I challenge that assertian: Flaws are inevitable; human's can never be perfect. And if we could, would we even want to be?

Recently I traveled to Myanmar. Me and the small group I went with brought food and supplies to a village in poverty. I noted a few things:

The hhomes were separated by not much more than trees, low wooden fences ( for what would seem to be keeping the general livestock in order) and thin dirt roads and paths.

Whhen invited into one of the homes for lunch, I noticed the open layout... No doors in te doorway, shared rooms, even looking across te way I could see into the neighbouring homes.

There was also utility poles put up as of recent I found out. Meaning power would soon be reaching this little villagw, changing the very fabric of this unique community. Our leade4r Rod was so encouraged by this, metioning the fact they could get things like refrigeration and air condition (the heat in Myanmar can be a killer, literally!)

I agree all this stuff is amazing, and will certainly improve the phyrical health and contentment of all te surrounding residents.

...But I couldn't help feeling conflicted. I have learnt there is alwys a cost to convenience.

A local home with no power

I am all for enriching lives and easing the burdens of those struggling. My intentions while starting my blog was to reflect on our burdens that we seem to struggle with here in western society, in an attempt to give insight's insto some of the problems I see day-to-day, which is much different than those in Myanmar. In this home without power, I saw a close-knit family who relied on each other, a community that worked together, and cared for and loved each other!

When I come home, I may wave to my neighbours as I pass, I may even say hello, but how many do I know by name? With all our improved technology, are we any happier?

Yes, technology has made life easyer, wheter it's writing an essay or relaxing in front of the t.v. after a long day. But if theres one thing I know to be true, it is that there is always a cost to convenience.

Speaking at a local church through a struggling interpreter

It was almost Christmas when we visited Myanmar. I had the opportunity to speak twice in front of a small congregation and I used the opportunity I had to be as vulnerable as possible. I told them about many of my own struggles, specifically in flawed relationships, familial and otherwise. I told them how they may see us as rich, but I see them as rich! Our culture never happy with what we have, always buying and loaning - Christmas more focused on what to own instead of being grateful for what weve been given.

I told them in spite of what they may see on Facebook, us westerners certainly don't maintain a smile year round. Technology has a way of distorting our true natures and creates a circle of inauthenticity we just cant seem to shake. Yet here I am, onb the oter side of lit up screen... Another flawed individual, just trying to understand what all this means.

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