Dear Sean

DEAR SEAN:

I really enjoy your daily postings, but it bothers me when your grammar is incorrect. I don’t know if it is on purpose to be more folksy? Dumbed down? or what, but someone who is a writer should really be more cognizant of how his words impact the reader.

When I read a sentence with blatant incorrect usage, it is jarring and lessens my respect for what you are saying—and I’d rather that didn’t happen…

THANKS-FOR-LETTING-ME-SAY-MY-PIECE

DEAR SAY-MY-PIECE:

You’re absolutely right. I have terrible grammar. I’ll admit it like a man. When I first learned this about myself, I was in community college. I was in my late twenties.

My English professor had cotton hair, and every word she uttered sounded like rural Mississippi.

I remember my first class. I was nervous. I had just left work, I was wearing sweaty clothes.

Underneath my breath, I talked to myself. “You’re not a stupid man, Sean,” I was saying. “You’ve got this.”

Sometimes, I have to remind myself that I am not a complete ignoramus.

One trick I’ve learned is to remember the people who believed in you.

My fourth-grade teacher, for example.

She encouraged me to write stories. My grammar was atrocious. I was the son of an ironworker, and I was born naked at a very young age. My sentences read like they were written by a plain hick.

Example sentence:

“I once seen Johnnie Andrews with a big old kite fixed to his back, and Lord, he jumped off the dang roof! He broke his ankle and everything!”

My teacher would correct my paper in red ink, then hand it back to me. At the end of every draft, she would include a note that read:

“YOU’RE MY FAVORITE WRITER, SEAN!”

These simple words are actually code for “I love you.” And they inspire me.

I would therefore rewrite the ballad of Johnnie Andrews’ famous descent from his father’s pump shed until the story carried a more metaphorical tone.

I didn’t deserve the “A” she gave me in English. The “D” in math, however, I earned fair and square.

On my final report card, she wrote: “YOU’RE STILL MY FAVORITE WRITER, I’LL MISS YOU NEXT YEAR!”

You don’t forget people who were good to you. Which is why I remember my college English teacher.

For one of our first college English assignments, we were supposed to write about our first true love. Then, the professor would read our stories aloud in class.

You can imagine the kinds of papers she received from a group of blue-collars, middle-aged students, and dropouts.

Guys like me had a hard time spelling “received” correctly. In fact, before I wrote that word just now, I had to recite the grammatical rule a few times.

“I” before “E,” except after “C,”
And sometimes “Y,”
Except when filing jointly,
Please excuse my dear Aunt Sally,
With liberty and justice for all,
Pluto.

The man who sat next to me in English was a commercial plumber. He wrote about his wife that day in class. His grammar was worse than mine.

But that teacher—God bless her—read his paper as though she were reciting a sonnet.

Then she read my piece. God, I almost died when she announced my name. Not only did I feel like one of the most under qualified students, but my story was about a chocolate Labrador.

The teacher read my words—grammatical errors included—as though she were reading a Robert Frost masterpiece. She read them until people started sniffing and dabbing their eyes over a dog they never even knew.

Then, she smiled at the class. She lifted a textbook and held it high for a room of mill-workers, plumbers, waitresses, and janitors.

“See this textbook?” she said. “This is just a bunch of rules.” Then she placed a hand over her heart and closed her eyes. “This is where the words are.”

When I graduated I was pushing thirty. That woman attended my ceremony. Afterward, she found me in the parking lot. She hugged me and said a few code words to me.

“You were my favorite, Sean.”

Then she kissed my cheek and walked away.

Anyway, I’ve forgotten what I was talking about.

Yes, I remember. I’m sorry you lost respect for my words because of my bad grammar. But I can’t blame you. My stuff isn’t literature. I’m not sure what it is.

Either way, writing has changed my life, ma’am. It’s made me a better person. It’s helped me learn about who I am, and who I want to be. And for that I am grateful.

By the way, your message got me thinking. There’s something I want to say to you, I hope you don’t mind. But I think you deserve to hear it from someone, and that someone might as well be me.

You’re my favorite.

Thank you for letting me say my piece.

105 comments

  1. Pat McRee - February 12, 2019 6:54 am

    As I think of all the worthwhile things a human being could do on a Monday or whatever day this woman’s note was mailed, this isn’t on the list. Why would someone use her limited minutes on this earth and 54 cents for a stamp to deliver a putdown? Your forgiveness is humbling, Sean, but I’m not there yet. She’s not my favorite.

    Reply
  2. theholtgirls - February 12, 2019 7:00 am

    Sean, Thank you for your gift of grace, and for reminding us of what really matters. This thing you just wrote is my favorite!

    Reply
  3. Sandi in FL. - February 12, 2019 7:35 am

    I actually thought the grammatical errors were intentionally a part of your writing style. But in the long run, it’s the essence of the message imparted that is much more important than the way the sentences are worded. Hang in there, Sean, and keep on keeping on! You have a great fan base and are dear to our hearts.

    Reply
  4. Stan Perry - February 12, 2019 7:57 am

    The college English teacher was right. Words are used to convey a message and you do a good job doing that.

    Reply
    • Stan Perry - February 12, 2019 7:59 am

      Story those last two words are redundent.

      Reply
  5. rantsandravescom - February 12, 2019 8:13 am

    I love this column today. Isn’t it amazing what a few words of encouragement can do.
    I hoped the lady who wrote in finds something new to read and leaves you alone.
    Continue writing just like you have been doing. I hear the voices of the people I grew up with. Some of them only had an 8th grade education from school. Back then you good get a diploma for going 8 years. By then you were considered old enough to be of real use on the farm. Their grammar might not the best but they were good people who would do anything to help you.
    We have tried to give our children a better formal education I just hope they also have learned to be kind to others-a tradition in the south.
    Thanks again Sean. I love your kind of writing. Keep it up. ‼️

    Reply
  6. Carol - February 12, 2019 8:18 am

    I’m a retired teacher. This piece was my favorite.
    Thank you.

    Reply
  7. Toni Tucker Locke - February 12, 2019 9:10 am

    I just learned the difference between the English idioms “Speak my piece” and “Say my peace”. It is no wonder to me that English is one of the most difficult languages to learn–even for native speakers! Thank you for expressing yourself so well, Sean, whatever grammatical form you choose to use! It’s all good.

    Reply
  8. Barb - February 12, 2019 10:19 am

    👌🏻❤️

    Reply
  9. Joan Raines - February 12, 2019 10:32 am

    This reminded me of a book I read titled “These Is My Words”. I remember the look on the Librarians face when I asked if they had the book. One of disbelief and you surely don’t mean that. One of my favorite books. Have read it twice. The heart is what matters and you have that in spades.

    Reply
    • Cindy - March 12, 2019 12:40 pm

      I’ve also read that book, bad grammar and all, and I loved it. If we go around correcting things about others all day, we never get around to improving ourselves, do we? You are correct when you say the heart is what matters.

      Reply
  10. Janellen - February 12, 2019 10:38 am

    I am thrilled you got the correct message from your teachers. I love your words that come from your heart. How sad this woman felt it necessary to share her wisdom or lack of. Now she needs to sit down and read Miss Manners book. “You are my favorite Sean.”

    Reply
  11. Linda Leighton - February 12, 2019 10:57 am

    I like you just the way you are! I enjoy reading your stories every day and I am glad my friend told me about you. Keep them coming!

    Reply
  12. Nancy - February 12, 2019 10:58 am

    Love this Sean and agree with all of the above comments. “You are my Favorite, Sean!” Always!

    Reply
  13. Angee Robertson - February 12, 2019 11:11 am

    Sean thank you for being such an example of love. This is a great lesson in how to accept and respond to criticizism through the lens of love. Thank you for being an example and forging the way. I too am a writer and I will be releasing my first book in May. Our stories are very parrellel as I too went to community college in my late 20s. It took me 4 years to get a 2 year degree between working full time and going to school in the evenings. I always loved to write and my 6th grade teacher, Mrs. Bell, was my biggest cheerleader. Later as an adult I ran in to Mrs. Bell at Wal-Mart and she remembered me and asked if I was writing. The answer was no because along the way I listened to the critics and gave up on sharing what was on my heart. The calling wouldn’t let me go though and here I am in my late 40s finally writing. I know no time is wasted though and once those critics start rolling in, I’ll know how to respond now, by telling them they are my favorite.

    Reply
  14. Elizabeth Edens - February 12, 2019 11:12 am

    What grammatical errors:-) Good grief, writing is about communicating and that can be done in 1000 ways with words. You do an amazing job at it. Don’t stop! She is obviously missing the bigger picture.

    Reply
  15. Amanda - February 12, 2019 11:27 am

    You’re my favorite. ❤️

    Reply
  16. Jean - February 12, 2019 11:45 am

    Sean apparently we speak on the same level. Everything you write sounds correct to me. If you want to see truly bad writing…visit Facebook. It will make you feel like a Rhodes Scholar. You will always be my favorite Sean!

    Reply
  17. W. Gary Smith - February 12, 2019 12:02 pm

    The literary “world” is filled with songs, poetry and other famous writings containing words and phrases that can be considered grammatically and metaphorically incorrect.
    Actually our Constitution does not state that our freedom of speech has to be grammatically correct.
    In other words, I believe that an “artist” or “writer” can do anything they want to communicate their views and experiences.
    That being said, SAY-MY-PIECE
    “How do you like them apples”?
    and “Go ahead and make my day!”
    .
    Sean, BTW, YOU ARE MY FAVORITE!

    Reply
  18. Camille - February 12, 2019 12:11 pm

    You, Sean, are the embodiment of all that is good in this messed up world. Everything that comes out of your mouth comes straight from your heart. We are all so fortunate to have an ambassador like you to bring us such perfectly written words, everyday, for free! When anyone, such as “Miss say my piece,” lodges a complaint against you, it is “jarring” and lessens my respect for them and I would rather that didn’t happen, but as they say, manure happens! Keep those folksy words a comin~

    Reply
  19. Susan Self - February 12, 2019 12:17 pm

    I love the Sean that you share with us. Please don’t paint over anything. Thank you.

    Reply
  20. Ange Ingram - February 12, 2019 12:19 pm

    Sean, Say-My-Piece’s complaint is wordy and desperately needs editing. W. Gary Smith, above, is entirely correct. Dialect is a powerful tool and many prize-winning poets, novelists and plain scribblers use it to great effect. You certainly don’t need any cheerleaders; however, (notice correct punctuation) your daily messages to your followers are so important to us that I believe we all want to take the hide off of anyone (however wordy they are) who criticizes you. You are my favorite and my early morning tea would fall flag without your wisdom. I love you. Hello to the wife and dogs!

    Reply
  21. Jamie Byers - February 12, 2019 12:26 pm

    Sean, your grammar and your way of telling stories is what is so endearing to us. Please leave the rule book on the shelf, and continue to write. We love you for who you are, not for what others think you should be. God bless.

    Reply
  22. Naomi - February 12, 2019 12:47 pm

    Sean, if it’s any comfort to you, I’ll tell you my story. I have been married to a country boy (who grew up on a farm) for 39 years. Although he graduated from college, is a retired Southern Baptist preacher, and a retired Lt Col after spending 42 years in the AF and AF Reserve. He also likes to write, primarily letter to the editor of our local newspaper. I have to read them before sends them to correct his spelling, grammar and punctuation. “You can take the boy out of the country but…” My background is a bit different. I was born in Birmingham, AL, to parents who were immigrants from Russia & Poland.

    After my mother and her two brothers learned English, they became fanatics about proper grammar. In fact, both of my uncles became printers. They started a printing company on the back porch of their parents’ house. This endeavor lead to the largest printing company in the state of Alabama. My oldest uncle, who actually grew the company, dropped out of school in the 6th grade. So, you can see from this that I was surrounded by relatives who were always correcting my grammar. This didn’t end with them. My teachers in Glen Iris grammar school and Ramsay High School in Birmingham made sure we graduated with exemplary grammar.

    After graduating from high school, I started college at Southern Illinois University. In my first English class I had to write a paper about something that I don’t remember because it was so long ago. Anyway, I got an A+ on the paper with a note from the professor that said this was the first paper he had ever gotten with no errors on it. I was really proud of that A+ because people were making fun of my Southern accent. They thought that everyone from the South were “hicks” and probably couldn’t do well in college.

    I love your writing. It’s the first thing I read in the morning, after I say my morning prayers and have a cup of coffee.

    Reply
  23. D moore - February 12, 2019 12:54 pm

    You always take the high road…love.
    We could all learn from you.

    Reply
  24. Jan Hammett Smith - February 12, 2019 12:54 pm

    So many grammatically correct pieces have left me feeling nothing but flat-lined.
    Grammar Police Beware!
    IT IS THE HEART OF THE MATTER!
    Sean, you are my favorite …

    Reply
  25. Arlene Stevens - February 12, 2019 1:02 pm

    When I was a young girl I found a note that another had written about me. The contents of the note may or may not have been true but none the less, were very uncharitable. One of my teachers found me crying and told me this… She said that lead is the most powerful element on Earth. Prolonged exposure to it can cause incredibly harmful effects and even lead to death. If wielded without regard it can disable, disrupt, and disappoint and destroy even the most stalwart. However, if applied to paper in a positive and encouraging way, it’s indeed the most influential and healing element known to man. It has scratched out rough drafts of peace treaties… painstakingly scrawled the most sincere love-letters….. and sadly recorded countless last wills and testaments two beloved family members. She told me that most importantly, lead has the ability to reveal the contents of someone’s heart and therefore I must always, always be painstakingly careful not to ever use lead to harm a person.
    Thank you, Sean, for using lead in the most responsible way. Thank you for encouraging us to be thankful, graceful, merciful, and loving.

    Reply
    • Susie - February 12, 2019 1:40 pm

      Arlene Steven’s, thank you, beautiful.

      Reply
    • Judy - February 12, 2019 3:50 pm

      Beautiful, Arlene Stevens.

      Reply
  26. Ruth in AL - February 12, 2019 1:09 pm

    As an old retired English teacher, I love your writing Sean. Words means so much, grammar not so much!

    Reply
  27. paula jones - February 12, 2019 1:14 pm

    You my not have been my ”first love,” but I definitely love you. Thank you for making my mornings better every day.

    Reply
  28. Annak - February 12, 2019 1:20 pm

    Sean, please never change anything about your writing. You touch and bless more souls every day than you will ever know with your words just as they are.

    Reply
  29. Roxanne - February 12, 2019 1:31 pm

    I grew up in a rural town in northern Louisiana. My mother was a teacher. She corrected my grammar constantly, and I have excellent grammar. . .but I still have my rural sound. I now live in a rural town in Texas. We have a preacher, a very smart man, and there are times he sounds like he never took a grammar class in his life. . .but only certain times. He uses it for effect–for the folks who are sitting in the pews who sound like they’ve never had a grammar class either–but who are NOT dumb or uneducated. When this happens, he will sometimes say, “That don’t grammar good, but it SHORE does preach good!” And we all laugh, because sometimes grammar doesn’t paint what’s in the heart. “That does not sound grammatically correct, but it most certainly explains my point.” Does not sound NEARLY as heart felt.

    Reply
  30. Connie Havard Ryland - February 12, 2019 1:37 pm

    I always love your responses to the negative people who write you. Don’t change your style for anyone. You are perfectly wonderful just like you are. I read your column every day. I usually comment on them. You touch my heart with your words and make my day better. Sending love and hugs every day.

    Reply
  31. Penn Wells - February 12, 2019 1:41 pm

    Never underestimate the power of letting someone know you care whether they live or die – and that they are loved.

    Reply
  32. Tom Adams - February 12, 2019 1:51 pm

    Sometimes we – Often times we – Most of the time we – get caught up in things that – Instead of what is important – Psalms 46:10 – Be still, and know that I am God…… My day was getting out of hand. I was caught up in things. Now that I have taken time to “be still” I will have a great day and a blessed day. Thank you “Say My Piece” for your comment. It has changed my day. I wish you well and have a great and blessed day.

    Reply
  33. Roger - February 12, 2019 1:56 pm

    This… this is one of my favorites.

    Reply
  34. Patricia Pope - February 12, 2019 2:05 pm

    Love your style, Sean! Love your excellent grammar, but mostly love your heart! Thanks for making my day! Former English teacher💖

    Reply
  35. Keith - February 12, 2019 2:07 pm

    Just put this on my facebook page… quite an exercise, the words are wise!!!

    Reply
  36. Margaret Jackson - February 12, 2019 2:07 pm

    I am a fourth grade teacher. I try my best to teach the rules of grammar -and spelling- but it is the students who write from their hearts who are my favorites.

    You are my favorite.
    MJ

    Reply
  37. flkatmom - February 12, 2019 2:08 pm

    I speak your code Sean, and this is one of my favorites. ❤

    Reply
  38. Lisa Perkins - February 12, 2019 2:16 pm

    You should have given them a peace of your mind, then you’d be at piece. Don’t worry, their is still time to go they’re. 🤣🤣🤣🤣

    Reply
    • Janet Mary Lee - February 13, 2019 4:11 am

      lol, Lisa!

      Reply
  39. P Landrum - February 12, 2019 2:18 pm

    Thank you for being real ! I love your writing. It brings me home to the south. It has so much richness, warmth and feeling.

    Reply
  40. Ala Red Clay Girl - February 12, 2019 2:25 pm

    Can you imagine what “Tom Sawyer” or “Uncle Remus” would have been like if Mark Twain and Joel Chandler Harris had used correct grammatical English? Sean, keep on writing your way; the rest of us enjoy reading your stories. You’re my favorite!

    Reply
    • Karen - February 12, 2019 2:55 pm

      You have a heart full of love, and it pours out on all of us. You are my favorite, and apparently, the favorite of many others. The fact that your speaking events are sold out, so far in advance, says that your heart is what is important to us. Thank you.

      Reply
  41. D Goude - February 12, 2019 2:29 pm

    Don’t ever change Sean❤️. My son introduced me to your post. We love you just the way you are!

    Reply
  42. kimber - February 12, 2019 2:31 pm

    You’re my absolute favorite. I shift-click-delete through a lot of my emails, but never yours. No matter how busy I am, I stop and read yours. And it never disappoints. You’re teacher was right… there are rules {and I’m a fan, most of the time} and then there’s heart. Heart always wins. Always.
    Super thankful for your words.

    Reply
  43. Carol - February 12, 2019 2:35 pm

    I don’t know her , yet I feel sorry for her!
    I love your writing, cause you write the way I read. !
    Thank you for being you, and making your stories jump off the page like I’m right there with you !
    Your my favorite!!
    Love ya!

    Reply
  44. Judi Sprayberry - February 12, 2019 2:43 pm

    The grammar doesn’t matter Sean. It’s what’s in your heart! I’ve always been particular about grammar too but I don’t even notice it in your writing because that’s your style! Some folks are just too picky! They miss the ‘heart’ of it! You are my FAVORITE and you are loved!

    Reply
  45. Anne P. - February 12, 2019 2:46 pm

    Sean I think it is important that you know you are my favorite too. Not just today but every single day you begin it with a smile, laugh and often a tear or two. You bring the overlooked things in life to their proper importance. Please never stop writing – we all love being along for the ride!

    Reply
  46. Janie F. - February 12, 2019 2:53 pm

    When I started writing and sharing it on my blog just before my 63rd birthday I realized something. I had forgotten almost everything I ever learned about The proper way to write. But I found a small group of friends who couldn’t have cared less and so I write. It may not be proper or pretty but it comes from my heart.
    Your writing touches hearts Sean! That is the mark of a true writer! You have got it right.

    Reply
  47. lauren weber - February 12, 2019 2:55 pm

    I love reading your stories, don’t change a bit! As I’m from Alabama, I grow up seeing the things you write about!

    Reply
  48. Kathy Daum - February 12, 2019 2:57 pm

    When I enter your world, my grammar switch clicks off. I know grammar. You show me truth, love and kindness. When I read “To Kill a Mockingbird, ” I didn’t mentally check the grammar. Yes, I enjoy you as much as Harper Lee.

    Reply
  49. Allen Wilhite - February 12, 2019 3:04 pm

    Wouldn’t it be a lovely world if everyone talked and wrote the same? Blah. Correct grammar changes in every language, dialect, geographical region, colloquialism, and clique. She should try reading a little eecumings next time her grammar fetish gets in the way. hewasawriterwitharealdistainforgrammarandpunctuationmarks

    Reply
  50. Don Helton - February 12, 2019 3:22 pm

    And yet, unlike most people, you properly use some of the more esoteric grammar rules such as the subjunctive mood as in “…as though she were reading…” as you did in this piece. Believe me, your’re doing just fine because you the true meaning of your thoughts come out, every time.

    Reply
  51. Gale Smith - February 12, 2019 3:28 pm

    A college English instructor once defended my use of ain’t in a theme he read to the class. One student was put off by my “poor grammar.” The teacher said ” when you know the rules, you are allowed to break them.” Communication between the writer and the reader is what matters most.
    Sean, you have that connection with your readers.
    The few who chose to be proofreaders are missing the point.

    Reply
  52. Jack Darnell - February 12, 2019 3:29 pm

    I never had a teacher tell me I was their favorite, but I knowed I was!
    Good one my friend, the truth comes from the heart, yours is obvious. I do wish the proof readers didn’t have to work so hard on mine. I will never forget wht one old mason said to me on a tricky brick job. “Don’t worry Mr. Darnell, I’ll make you look good!” He like my proof readers have accomplished that. hahahahahaha
    Sherry & jack

    Reply
  53. Debbie Taylor - February 12, 2019 3:37 pm

    I was moved to tears when I read your teacher’s comment: “See this textbook?” she said. “This is just a bunch of rules.” Then she placed a hand over her heart and closed her eyes. “This is where the words are.” I think that one statement will enable me to stop being such a perfectionist when I write … how freeing it will be!

    Reply
  54. Jeanne Butler - February 12, 2019 3:37 pm

    Grammar chammer. I love your writing. Grammar is not one of my first worries in life. Love and happiness are. Poor woman who wrote you that letter has no idea. Love you Sean

    Reply
  55. kathleenivy - February 12, 2019 3:47 pm

    Amen Sean, amen.

    Reply
  56. E HG - February 12, 2019 3:50 pm

    Man, you nailed it with this one.
    Saw you in Gadsden–you’re the real deal–an uplifting Southern voice who reminds us life-long Southerners of our humble origins, and that having the courage to speak and write about it is not just okay, but is excellent! God bless you 🙏 ❤

    Reply
  57. Judy - February 12, 2019 3:53 pm

    You are my favorite, Sean.

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  58. Carlin T Brooks Jr - February 12, 2019 4:01 pm

    Yes, the words are in the heart!

    Reply
  59. Carolyn Allen - February 12, 2019 4:02 pm

    I love this one Sean but you’ll just have to accept
    It….some people will NEVER “get it”! There, I’ve
    said me peeece! 🤣

    Reply
  60. Jen - February 12, 2019 4:07 pm

    I teach teachers how to teach children to write and to read. Every word you have said is true. True. True. It is less about how you write than what you write. Speak from YOUR VOICE. From your heart. I’m sharing this with my students today. You are my favorite… and so is SAY-MY-PIECE. (Honestly, anyone who puts their heart on paper is my favorite. I have very excellent standards.)

    Reply
  61. Marilyn J Barnard - February 12, 2019 4:17 pm

    Isn’t it strange how some scriptures seem to resonate with you all day! Today’s reading was in Mark where the woman poured valuable oil over Jesus. Some present criticized her because they would have used it differently. Jesus basically told them to back off because “She did what she could.” (Mk 14:8) I don’t know why, but in today’s world, we seem to hand out criticism like it were freebies from the grocery store while we withhold encouragement as if it were the last breath of oxygen on the planet! Everyone has an opinion – and that’s not a bad thing, unless they are waiting for someone to tell them what to think so they can have one…Observing others generates our own creativity and ideas develop of how we could do/say it. But…trying to impose your standards on someone else because you feel superior…well…that’s just wrong!

    Grammar Police have a job and I’m grateful for their intervention at times. However, in the great big scheme of things, what really matters? …the story? …the way it’s written? …its spelling and punctuation? …What’s going to remain in your heart? …the tale or the misplaced comma? What you focus on and remember is going to say a lot about who you are. Like the woman, YOU do what you can, and you do it wonderfully!

    Reply
    • Jim McConnell - February 12, 2019 5:13 pm

      Marilyn, a very thoughtful comment — and some good advice for all of us. Thank you!

      Reply
  62. Jim McConnell - February 12, 2019 4:28 pm

    Well, Sean, I genuinely feel sorry for the person who wrote to you about your grammar. I’ve never noticed whether or not you follow all the rules. That person is apparently so intent on the rules that she doesn’t see what you are saying. It must be very uncomfortable to have such a constipated view of life.
    Don’t you change a think. We depend upon you to bring some cheer (and tears) to each of our lives daily. Thank you.

    Reply
  63. Kevin Rollins - February 12, 2019 5:03 pm

    Well, just bless their heart. At times it may be difficult for others to comprehend the dichotomy of a Southern thang. Please keep up the fabulous writings, it does my soul well.

    Reply
  64. Valerie - February 12, 2019 5:56 pm

    You make me feel worthwhile. Thanks.

    Reply
  65. Mary - February 12, 2019 6:03 pm

    As a homeschool mom, my daughter always called me the “Grammar Nazi.” I just couldn’t tolerate the there, their, they’re and the peek and peaks, and the to, too, twos, and the you, your, and you’res being thrown around incorrectly. But Sean, your writing is from the heart. It reminds me of our shared roots. We talk differently in the South –so our writing should obviously be different, too! Don’t change a THANG!!!!

    Reply
  66. Jean Hom - February 12, 2019 6:14 pm

    I love reading your stuff. I think it’s great that southerns write like we talk. Zora Neale Hurston wrote a classic and her writing was anything but proper. You and her are two of my favorite.

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  67. Esteban - February 12, 2019 6:16 pm

    Grammar police write and sound like this: “Ending a sentence with a preposition is something up with which we will not put.”

    Reply
  68. Carol Heidbreder - February 12, 2019 6:19 pm

    Keep your words coming from your heart. They are like a balm to the soul. I am an old retired teacher and I want to tell you that some of the dearest words I ever would read also demonstrated sometimes scary grammar. But the words…yes the words! I got it! And smiled at the grammar. A win win!

    Reply
  69. Emjay - February 12, 2019 6:37 pm

    Wonder if Say-my-piece ever read “Huckleberry Finn?” I’m a grammar nerd whose senior thesis focused on Mark Twain’s use of the right word. And that degree in English is largely due to a fifth-grade teacher who wrote “TOPS!!!” on my final report card. I’m enthralled with your ability to churn out daily posts that touch so many. You’re my favorite.

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  70. Edna B. - February 12, 2019 6:50 pm

    I, too, love today’s story. Your style of writing and storytelling is unique and we all love it. I always wanted to write a book, but it just wasn’t meant to be. However, I found my spot when I started my blog and I’ve been writing there ever since. Sean, don’t change your style. We love your stories just the way they are. God Bless you, and have a wonderful day, hugs, Edna B.

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  71. Ellen - February 12, 2019 7:06 pm

    I’m guessing you could use good grammar if you wanted to. But if you did, what be left? It wouldn’t be style, that’s for sure. Nor charm neither.

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  72. Wadena Sieler-Colbert - February 12, 2019 7:41 pm

    You are my favorite writer Sean; don’t change!

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  73. Tim House - February 12, 2019 7:41 pm

    Beautiful sentiment behind this story. And yes, your teacher was right, ‘Then she placed a hand over her heart and closed her eyes. “This is where the words are.”’

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  74. Gaynell Lumsden - February 12, 2019 8:25 pm

    I LOVE YOU and your writings!

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  75. Judy Cobern - February 12, 2019 8:52 pm

    You are also My Favorite!

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  76. Gwen Monroe - February 12, 2019 9:08 pm

    You’re a jewel. I’ve not noticed your bad grammar!!

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  77. Marilyn - February 12, 2019 9:24 pm

    You were so kind with your response to the criticism, and it gave me a message too. First, I love your writing and I have never been offended by your use of the English language, but I am critical of others when they “mess up”. So, because of your response, I will try to overlook what I deem to be wrong grammatically by others, with no thought of correcting them. Thank you, Sean for your writing and do not change a thing!

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  78. Mary - February 12, 2019 10:22 pm

    Loved it. I try and sometimes I cringe when others make mistakes but God loves us all no matter how we speak or write. Give it a rest.

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  79. Betty - February 12, 2019 10:53 pm

    You just keep writing the way you do. I think “correct” English sounds stilted at times. We understand you & your are our favorite, Sean.

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  80. Betty - February 12, 2019 10:56 pm

    Yes, to whom ever wrote about not liking Sean’s writing, I know that should be “you’re” writing but I bet he understood it just fine.

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  81. Betty - February 12, 2019 10:58 pm

    Oops, I meant I know it should have been “you’re” our favorite.

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  82. Catherine H Jones - February 13, 2019 2:29 am

    Your writing is perfect just the way it is! You write in a way that reminds us of who we are and where we come from.

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  83. Barbara - February 13, 2019 2:40 am

    Sean I have only been reading your work for a short time but I have read enough to know it comes from the heart. Like someone else said I delete many things in my email but never you, I look forward each day to your column I love it because it is written with feeling and with heart. Don’t change a thing.. YOU are my favorite.

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  84. Janet Mary Lee - February 13, 2019 4:24 am

    What beautiful teachers you have remembered for a reason. For that same reason I always remember you. Both my children teach English and writing, and they too prefer heart over grammer. You can teach Grammer…Heart is a gift and hard to teach. You do so my friend..You and this piece are again one of my favorites!! You just always fill my heart. Love to your whole family!!! Kisses for the pups!!

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  85. Shelton A. - February 13, 2019 4:46 am

    Well done and well said, Sean. You make me laugh and shed a tear or two…you write great truths. You consistently make me think. Forget about the ‘rules’, just write.

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  86. Patricia Gibson - February 13, 2019 4:55 pm

    I love you Sean no matter the grammar !

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  87. Jobeth - February 15, 2019 2:07 am

    Just keep on Keeping ON!!

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  88. Kathi harper-hill - March 1, 2019 6:29 pm

    You know as well as I do the proper way to write. But, I ask you: who the heck cares? I write like I was raised, which is important since I write Appalachian humor. When people want to correct me, I tell them Appalachian is my first l language. My neurologist, who knows I know but speak as I wish, once told me, “There’s no such word as worser”, when I told him I was. I let him know I was speaking the language of my people!

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  89. Dev - March 12, 2019 6:09 am

    I love this so much, if you wrote any differently than you do now… it just wouldn’t be the same. It is what we love about your writing. You’re my favorite.

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  90. Rhonda Caldwell - March 12, 2019 11:27 am

    I love your style. My grammar and spelling aren’t perfect either so maybe that’s why I never noticed it in your writing. Or, maybe the words from your heart make the errors inconsequential (thank you smart phone for showing me the correct spelling of that word.) Anyway, if you changed anything in your writing, you wouldn’t be you. And you are the reason I read your stories. Thank you for sharing moments and memories of your life. I give you an A+.

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  91. Susan Emerson - March 12, 2019 12:37 pm

    I read your blog — less than often, but more than occasionally. I come back to it because I really love your voice. I love the warmth you show for all of humanity. I love your light tone and the way you can sneak a tear jerker in all of a sudden.

    I am a person with very good grammar (the product of spending most of my childhood with my nose in a book.) There are situations where bad grammar bothers me. If someone is trying to be formal, or especially if someone is obviously trying to throw his/her weight around, then heck yeah, I expect perfect grammar. But I consider grammar kind of situational. For the warm, friendly, touch-the-heart style of writing you do, I think your grammar is just fine.

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  92. Theresa - March 12, 2019 3:35 pm

    The words from the heart are the ones that matter.

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  93. Mikki Adamson - March 12, 2019 3:38 pm

    Don’t worry about it, Sean. Pity that person who put your writing down. Those are the type people who enter their golden years as very lonely people because others have stopped talking to them due to the fact that they have often been corrected by that person and therefore have stopped communicating with him/her. ( How do you like my run-on sentence?)

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  94. Elisha Brewer - March 12, 2019 3:41 pm

    Who gives a darn about the rules of anything but the heart? Those are the reasons I keep reading and then doing the next right thing.
    Elisha
    Fairhope, Alabama
    ( but on Fish River)

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  95. Kathryn - March 12, 2019 6:55 pm

    Great piece! I’m a former English teacher and some mistakes do trigger my inner grammar Nazi, but your writings are wonderful!

    I wish you had ended it with, “Your my favorite!” LOL! Kudos on using “you’re,” the grammatically correct form; many people, even writers, don’t know the difference.

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  96. Pam Simpson - March 12, 2019 7:08 pm

    Your writing always touches my heart. When the message is that wonderful I don’t even notice the misspellings or punctuation. It’s the words and the intention that means more to me. If someone only looks at the Grammer and punctuation I think they miss a lot. I write like I speak, try to spell the words correctly but don’t always get the punctuation correct. I love your stories and love the way you write. Please don’t change. I loved Lewis Grizzard and Erma Bombeck. But now you are my favorite.

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  97. Roger Brothers - March 13, 2019 2:58 am

    Writing is “correct” when it conveys the message especially the heart felt ones that speak of the human condition and spirit. One of the most compelling, beautiful and profound pieces that I ever read was “written” (really spoken and transcribed by a second party) by an elderly former slave that wasn’t even literate much less grammatically “correct”

    Reply

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