Sometimes, I like looking at lists of unusual words. I’m strange; I know. But recently I ended up viewing a list of phobias. I never knew there were so many things that had their own phobias—knees (genuphobia), fear of buttons (koumpounophobia), fear of heat (thermophobia). Florida, this time of year, would not be a good place for someone who suffers from that condition.
I looked for a phobia related to grammar or punctuation. The closest I found was graphophobia, the fear of writing. I’ve experienced many writing-related fears. I always feared what I wrote wouldn’t be good, or I wouldn’t do it right. I avoided the words lie and lay and who and whom whenever possible for years. Semicolons scared me, so I didn’t use them.
I wonder if there should be a phobia for receiving papers back from ninth-grade English teachers with bloody red ink pens. My essays from Mrs. Gilbert came back dripping red. I often wondered how many red ink pens she went through in a school year. She scared me, but I learned a lot from her.
So, pick your topic. You can write about phobias and things you fear. You can write about English teachers who helped or hurt. You can write about any writing-related fears you may have. We all have them. If you’re ready to face and overcome those fears, take a look at the Style, Grammar, Punctuation, and More program that begins next week. It may be just the antidote you need.