Thursday, January 28, 2010

Five Lessons Learned from the Curmudgeon

Hi, this is Twila. I have the secret password to Cec’s blog, and I thought it was time for me to jump in and share a few writing tips I’ve learned from working with our lovable curmudgeon. (I didn’t get his okay first, but it’s too late now.)

Five important lessons:

1) There shall be none of this business about rolling your eyes or dropping your jaw. “That’s so cliché,” Cec says. Manicured lawns are just as bad. That makes my husband very happy.

2) It’s improper to say, “I sold OVER five million books.” It should be “MORE THAN five million books.” Hey, if I’m selling that many books, does it really matter?

3) Starting sentences with words like hopefully is not a good thing. I can’t remember why, but hopefully I’ll never do it again.

4) For some reason Cec thinks “feel free” is cliché too and said “tsk tsk” in my presence. “Do you know how hard it is to come up with another way of saying feel free?” I said. He responded by rolling his eyes.

5) It’s always a good idea to have someone else proofread your work. That way you won’t submit something that reads like this: Hapy 77th Burthday to yew, Mr. Cecil Murphey! The world is a better place because you are here!!!!!!! (Oops, there's another lesson. The use of excessive exclamation points is a definite no-no.)

Hopefully, Cec won’t get too mad that I’ve posted this. He’s told me over five million times to mind my own business, but sometimes I just can’t help myself. Please feel free to send him warm birthday wishes—just don’t tell him how you found out. I’m sure he’ll drop his jaw at all the attention.

“I’m so glad I have job security,” Twila said. “The curmudgeon can’t fire me because he can’t live without me.” With that she giggled and went about her work, which, by the way, is enough to keep her busy for the next ten years.


  1. Thanks for the advice. Hopefully, I’ll try not to roll my eyes or tighten my jaw next time when someone tells me they sold over 5 millions books as we stroll over manicured lawns. Feel free to proof red my comment. Seriously (I hope that’s not one of those … ), I appreciate these lessons. Keep them coming.

  2. c.murphey@comcast.netJanuary 28, 2010 at 9:00 AM

    Twila: I read your comments.

    I avoid words such as hopefully or fortunately because they don't modify anything. Instead of hopefully, Twilla stop posting without permission, what I mean is: I hope Twila will stop posting without permission.
    Adverbs like hopefully and fortunately have now become idioms in English.

  3. Who me? I don't know what you're talking about. :-)

  4. Cute post, Twila . . . er, um . . .
    And Happy Birthday, Cec!
    Feel free to roll your eyes or clench youy jaw as much as you wish. Hopefully you won't get a headache.

  5. Happy Birthday, dear Cec!

    P.S. Your blog is so helpful. Thank you for sharing your wisdom with us.

  6. Twila, I love it! Hints of all kinds. Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday Dear Cec, Happy Birthday to YOU!

  7. How do you feel about quotes?
    “For him in vain the envious seasons roll,
    Who bears eternal summer in his soul.”
    Oliver Wendell Holmes

    Many happy returns.

  8. Hopefully next time Twila will post her reminder the day before Cec's birthday. Running around, her mind always forgets things like that. Need I say more?

    Good writing is irresistible. The bad--well, it makes Cec cringe.

    Belated birthday blessings!

  9. A Very Happy Birthday, Cec. Looking forward to seeing you again at the Florida conference*

  10. Cec, I do hope you had a wonderful birthday, and my greetings arrived on time.

    Twila, thank you for the fun (and informative) post.

    This blog is great. Keep it rolling folks. (Or whatever is permissible.)

  11. Aw! I'm late! I Hope you had a wonderful birthday, Haraka!

  12. Happy belated birthday and thanks for the smile!

  13. Also belated, but, hopefully, not too much so. :-) Looking forward to seeing you in San Antonio.

  14. Happy Birthday, even if it's a little late, and best wishes for many, many more.

  15. Belated wishes for a happy birthday! A sense of humor among staff is priceless. But posting on your site sounds like a prank, or worse yet, a crime! I hope you had a sense of humor on your birthday. I admit I enjoyed the insight. =)


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