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A couple of weeks ago, I had a rather big (if not slightly embarrassed laugh) at my own inability to come up with a particular word while writing a story. I’d submitted my short story, “Her Hair Like a Net, Woven,” to Kristina Wright’s collection, Fairy Tale Lust (Cleis Press), and to my delight, it was accepted.

And then a few weeks later, I received a note from her, asking for some clarification about this line:

She rarely says her father’s name, and the sound of it makes his flesh break out in goose bumps, small hills that dot his arms and legs like cassocks.

Do you see what I did there? Or, rather, can you spot the typo that isn’t really a typo, but rather one of those moments that I call a word fart. Those are those times when we know the word, it’s right there, on the tip of our brains, and then AHA! we have the word and we grasp it and run with it… only to discover that it wasn’t the right word at all. Like, not at all.

In this case, as you probably figured out, the word fart word of the day was: cassocks. As per the sharp-eyed copy editor who wrote Kristina and asked: How could goose bumps look like monks’ robes?

Uh…

Kristina, giving much more benefit of the doubt than she should have, added: I assumed you meant the bumpiness of the fabric. Am I right or did you mean another word?

Yes, yes, I wrote back. I DID mean another word. I meant… and then for the life of me, I still couldn’t think of it. Little hills. Rows and rows of little hills. It’s a story about woods and water, about streams and trees and… and those damn little hills.

Hummocks?

No.

Hillocks?

No.

Even the Interwebs was of no help. My search for “little hills” brought up a myriad of things, but nothing I really wanted. So I called upon Facebook for assistance, and it was the fantastic Sacchi Green who nailed it.

Tussocks, wrote she.

Yes, yes, yes! Those! Thank goodness for good editors, copyeditors and writers whose brains function so much better than my own.

My other most-common typo, the one that inspired this post, is one that I use all time and which I often don’t notice until far, far too late.

Ala today’s story: He comes in, wet, drenched, his short dark hair plastered around his face, his work khakis darkened by water. I slide to my knees to greet him, press my cheek against the front of his pants, love the way his cock jumps to life beneath the damn fabric.

I’m sure it was the word cock that caught your attention there, but that’s, of course, not the typo. The typo is …

Yeah, that damn fabric. It’ll get you every time.

Kiss kiss bang bang, s.

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PS — totally ethereal and gorgeous image available from this artist at Etsy.

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