Wednesday, March 10, 2010

I refuse to be flabby, and in other news: Lauren Bacall is on Twitter

So the other night I was wasting precious hours of my life sifting through reams of "interesting links" recommended by those I follow on the Twitter-sphere when I came across one called The Waistline Test, which assesses whether your writing is ‘flabby’ or ‘fit’:
The test works by counting percentages of words in five categories commonly associated with stodgy sentences: weak verbs, abstract nouns, prepositions, adjectives/adverbs and 'waste words' (it, this, that, there). For every writing sample you submit, you will receive an overall fitness rating ranging from lean to heart attack territory:

Lean Fat-free
Fit and trim In excellent condition
Needs toning Would benefit from a light workout
Flabby Judicious editing required
Heart attack territory May call for editorial liposuction!

My initial thought? Brills!

But then fear set in.

What if I took the test and it spat back horrific results to me? Like that my writing was morbidly obese and destined for a life lived on treadmills and jogging trails in the backwoods of scary places, where scary people hang out cooking meth and living out of trash bag tents? If that was the truth, did I really want to know? Or was I better off blissfully oblivious and semi-delusional about my writing abilities?

Then again, now that I'd seen this Waistline Test how could I not take it? It would be like not pushing the button on that Mr. Bubbles contraption filled with bleach in my friend's shower back when it was a new product and I figured it was filled with body wash, thus giving the whole shower experience as we know it a contemporary, car wash-esque feel. "How modern!" I thought in glee, after pushing the button and allowing "body wash" to whir past me, till I screamed out in realization that it wasn't actually a Jetsons shower machine but rather a cleaning device that was shooting bleach into my face and mouth. Yeah, seeing the Waistline Test was kind of like that, except now I tread with minor trepidation when I'm about to push any buttons.

Was my ego writing checks my body couldn't cash? I needed to know, so I took the test, shielded my face with my hands and peered through my fingers at the results and ... I passed!!! Quite nicely, I should add. I pasted in the first couple paragraphs from my book and got back:

fit and trim.

For whatever this particular writing test is worth, all I have to say is PHEW. At this point in the month I don't think I have the emotional stamina to endure a reading of "flabby", much less anything that would call for editorial liposuction.

Now for all I know this test could be a crock of monkey poop, and I know there are other things that matter in good writing (i.e., expression, fluidity, clarity, etc.) but I do think it's an interesting way to assess overuse of adverbs and other evils that tend to weigh writing down like an anchor. See how your writing measures up, if you're curious.

In other news: Lauren Bacall is on Twitter(!), which is basically just as amazing as hearing someone like Grace Kelly or Joan Crawford pontificate on how tacky Hollywood (and the world in general) has become and how much better it was "back then", when everyone beat their kids with wire hangers chain-smoked and men wore suits and women wore heels and tattoos and cleavage weren't the norm but the exception, reserved only for seedy characters in seedy "B" flicks.

Here are my fave LB tweets:
"Yes I saw Twilight my granddaughter made me watch it, she said it was the greatest vampire film ever. After the "film" was over I wanted to smack her across her head with my shoe, but I do not want a book called Grannie Dearest written on me when I die, so instead I gave her a DVD of Murnau's 1922 masterpiece Nosferatu and told her, now that's a vampire film! and that goes for all of you! watch Nosferatu instead!"


"Enough of me being a negative Nancy, its just that I am glad I got to see the Osca
rs of the 40s & 50s. Grace Kelly would have died if she saw what I did at the red carpet (a tattooed gum chewing woman with too much cleavage and a man in sneakers)."


"I'm so sorry you guys didn't like my Studio 54 image simply because I was smoking, believe me there was far more worse things going on there
then smoking! I was not expecting such negative feedback, ugh all this stress has made me want to light up and relax with a cigarette. The good thing about being 84 is that I can smoke as much as I want."
Lauren Bacall is the woman I want to grow up to be. "Literate and tart" were the words Roger Ebert recently used to describe her. She's a beautiful, no-nonsense woman who's been around long enough to know what timeless chic really is and could care less about what you and I think of her musings because she's right, after all. I can just imagine her lazing in some huge claw-footed bathtub in one of the many master bathrooms of her gigantic estate, tapping away with manicured red fingernails on a laptop picked out for her by some tech-savvy personal assistant. Like a modern-day Norma Desmond with a platform to reach the masses she lazes beneath her blanket of white bubbles, plumes of cigarette smoke curling around her head, as she tweets about the good old days when film meant something. When fashion mean something.

When a good vampire movie meant something...


Mandy said...

I'm cracking up at the flabby writing test. Yet I'm SCARED to take it myself. My writing is not as poised and trim as yours. This I know. So I'll just settle for the fat kid in need of a treadmill as far as my writing is concerned.

I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE Lauren (Betty) Becall. Always have. I wish she was my grandmother. Then we could've smoked together and I could've worn her heels and iconic dresses from the good ole days.

I wish Lauren still had films being made with her in it. I mean, I LOVE Diane Keaton and Meryl Streep too. But Lauren still has a place and I would adore seeing her alongside the likes of today's movies.

Andi said...

I knew you'd be trim because I can't stand reading bad writing. :)

Thanks for posting the Lauren Bacall on Twitter...that is perfect.

paisley penguin said...

Lauren rocks...and that voice!!!!

Tracy said...

I submitted my last blog post and got the result "fit and trim". Definitely better than I thought I would do! :)

charkstudios said...

It was good to see that Lauren Bacall is still going to the Oscars, per the latest one....even though they will never be as glamorous (in her eyes) as times past. She is still just as sharp and quick witted as ever....and that sultry voice!

Sophia said...


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