- Karl Thunemann
An Iffy Construction
When Gertrude, my principal reader, finished a previous entry, (“A Starting Lineup—at Last!”) she had a quibble about the coda. It read: If this practice be worthy, may its benefits be spread far and wide. She called the word “if” into question, calling it “humble mashed potatoes.” I had already expressed my belief that everything was interconnected, and that messages may be sent with confidence across the cosmos. So why back away, into a wish-washy, less than cosmic “if”?
To drive the point home, Gertrude printed in large letters: “What if you assumed everything you were practicing was right and leading to wellness?”
At first, I grudgingly admitted she had a point. But soon I proceeded to embrace her suggestion (as I usually do) for recasting the coda: May this practice be worthy, and may its benefits be spread far and wide.
Now my first impulse was to insert yet another epistle, just as I am doing here. But doubts arose. Why
shouldn’t I just effect the change as if it were no more than a minor instance of rewriting?
Gertrude printed in large letters: “What if you assumed everything you were practicing was right and leading to wellness?”
Well, I do fiddle incessantly with my prose. Rewriting will always be with me, and it would be abusive to leave little landmarks throughout the manuscript announcing, here lie changes, because they would be, as I say, never-ending. But where a significant change has been made, attention must be paid. Dwelling in gratitude sometimes is hard work; it demands consciousness, transparency and evolution on the part of the dweller.
This is one of those cases where “if” doesn’t do the job whereas “may”—the tried and true—works just fine. Indeed, other changes may require similar signposts as I make my way from one village of gratitude to the next. I promise to use them sparingly.