The Imperfect Susannah B.

As you know I write every day no matter what else is going on in my life. It brings me lots of joy.

That said, I’m always mortified whenever I make a mistake.

In Monday’s post I spelled the word muslin wrong. First I wrote Muslim as in the Muslim Brotherhood and my friend Bill asked me if I was indeed wearing a Muslim’s bathrobe. Working nearby, I neurotically came home to change it only to spell it wrong again; it’s muslin not muslim which he brought to my attention today.

Please don’t get the wrong idea, I ask him to edit. The last thing I want to do is come off as a moron which is exactly the issue I want to address.

My fear of appearing stupid is vast not to mention ridiculous so here comes the million dollar question – Why is perfection such a goal of mine and a painful one at that?

For starters, I didn’t go to school opting to model instead and believe me when I say, if I could do it all over again I would have made skid marks to college. I tell this to disappointed 16 year old girls with invariably too much eyeliner who can’t fathom why I urge them to study rather than chase a modeling career.

It’s not that I don’t get the draw, after all I lived and breathed everything connected to fashion at their age. The walls of my room were so plastered with pictures of Lauren Hutton and Jean Shrimpton you couldn’t tell what color they were painted.

Unfortunately I did not have aggressive parents when it came to making important decisions. My mother, who was rather busy with her cocktail hour if you get my drift, really didn’t mind my glamorous aspirations since she too had them when she was a girl and liked living vicariously through her daughter…the fashion plate who could barely conjugate.

My father, a great guy, didn’t have the ‘You’re going to school young lady and that’s that’ gene either. I do remember him gently knocking on my bedroom door to tell me if I wanted to pursue my writing because I loved it even back then, he would be more than happy to fund my education. He liked that I wrote. In fact when he died there was a poem I had written when I was 10 carefully folded in his wallet that really broke my heart. Knowing your father was proud of you after the fact is a tough one, let me tell you.

So despite my years of galloping around the globe I still feel inferior, so much so, that when I make an error I take it to heart.

First of all, so what if I spelled a word wrong, what’s the big deal? This is the tough voice in me that tries to drown out the panicked, pitiful one.

I remember reading the letters exchanged between Ernest Hemingway and F. Scott Fitzgerald. Spelling didn’t exist for either one of them. It was actually funny the mutual mistakes they made and they’re considered 2 of the greatest writers in history.

Does that make me feel better?

Not really but I do like knowing that bad spelling doesn’t necessarily mean you’re a bad writer.

My other issue is grammar since I write by ear. Many times Bill or my other friend Ed will gently challenge a line to say that it’s not grammatically correct and my answer is always the same, “Yeah, but it sounds right.”

Coincidentally Ed was the one who told me Winston Churchill also wrote by ear.

Many esteemed writers didn’t go to college. Woody Allen for instance started penning jokes in his late teens earning a living ever since. Not that I’m comparing myself to him but it does make me feel less inferior knowing that someone I admire isn’t formally educated.

I do think of myself as more of an organic writer anyway. I never know what will appear on the page always as surprised as you are at what it will be.

I had no intention of penning this today until I got the ‘Muslin’ email that inspired such a siege of self-berating that it wrecked my walk in the park.

How silly am I?

Let’s recap:

I’m not such a great speller, neither was Ernest or Scott. Mr. Churchill also wrote by ear and just to remind myself, I am extremely self-taught that may not include a dusty diploma to shove down people’s throats but it is something to be proud of. It’s also quite alright to be a chronic work in progress.

Muslin – noun – lightweight cotton cloth in a plain weave.

Muslim – noun – a follower of the religion Islam.

The Imperfect Susannah B.

About Susannah Bianchi

I'm just a girl who likes to write slightly on slant. I've had a career in fashion, dabbled in film and to be honest, I don't like talking about myself. Now my posts are another matter so I will let them speak for themselves. My eBooks, A New York Diary, Model Behavior: Friends For Life and Notes From A Working Cat can be found on Thanks.
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14 Responses to The Imperfect Susannah B.

  1. Liz Morley says:

    I discovered your site late last night after reading your piece in “More” magazine (Dec.11/Jan.12 issue), “How George Clooney Saved My Self-Esteem”. I howled with laughter and used precious ink to photocopy the piece. I wrote on the top of my copy “the funniest thing I’ve read in a very long time”. I spent the following hour reading your blogs until my eyesight became blurry. Fun, lovely, real.

    After reading today’s post, you are officially my wordsmith hero!
    Liz M.


  2. D. D. Syrdal says:

    Everybody makes mistakes. I’ve been horrified to re-read something I wrote and caught an incorrect your/you’re. :::cringe::: among loads of others. That’s why there are editors and proofreaders in the world 😉 And college is no guarantee of perfect spelling. I’m excited that you have another piece coming out in More! Congratulations! I’m sorry to say I missed the last one, didn’t locate a copy in time. I’ll be on the lookout for the next one now!


  3. polkenhorn says:

    Well…because of your earlier article in More…I took a subscription for me and for one of my daughter-in-laws…she and I both love the mag. Look forward to my next issue for your article. Nothing like being a ‘celebrity’…woohoo! I opted out of a college degree…and couldn’t be happier.

    My writing is ‘my writing’ ~ I write the way I think and talk…that’s me! You do likewise…which of course I love!


    • Thank you for being kind, it’s very appreciated. Yes, writing is very personal. I forget that when I’m feeling less than which is very old stuff that shows its ugly head. I’m glad you like More.


  4. Jeanette Hamilton says:

    I’ve always been a good speller but I’ve never really thought of spelling ability as a big deal one way or the other. Like you pointed out, there are lots of excellent writers who don’t excel at spelling. I’d rather read something entertaining or thought-provoking with a
    misspelled word than something boring with perfect spelling and grammar. And your writing is always entertaining. Can’t wait for the June issue of More, especially since you’re writing about short hair, of which I am a huge fan.


  5. Alva Chinn says:

    Who knew…you too?


  6. rachel bar says:

    Since we live in such a competitive society, it’s no wonder that we feel bad about anything we do which is less than perfect. After all, even when it comes to spelling we have a competition (the spelling bee). The day you will not need to justify your spelling mistakes (because you’re a funny and talented writer), by comparing yourself to other great writers who could not spell, is the day you would become comfortable with yourself, warts and all. I hope I didn’t make any spelling mistake here:)


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