Saturday, December 24, 2016

2017 NEW YEAR'S RESOLUTIONS

I'm working on my 2017 New Year's resolutions. I usually resolve NOT to resolve anything. This allows me to have a totally open mind, or at least I think that's what it does. In reality, it just ensures I won't mess up and break a resolution on January 2, by accident, of course. In short, I'm making certain that I'm not setting myself up for failure.

You see, I understand keeping resolutions is a tough job. A quick search on the world's most popular internet search engine (You know which one I'm talking about.) for suggestions for keeping NYR reveals 84,400,000 results in 0.42 seconds.

One of the sites (www.statisticbrain.com/new-years-resolution-statistics/) indicates that the percent of people who are successful in achieving their resolution is 8 %. (This study was done by University of Scranton. Journal of Clinical Psychology.) Even if the figure is off, it's still a pitiful number, isn't it?

Now that we've established that difficulty exists (which we already knew), let me announce here and now that I've found the real answer to the conundrum of keeping resolutions:

Just resolve to do the GOOD things you normally do BETTER.

(Kind of a poorly constructed sentence but I'm sure you get the point.)

With that in mind, here are a half-dozen resolutions I'll been working on for 2017--resolutions I'm sure I'll keep. Note: I've included some interesting, fun -- and in a few cases suggestible -- links. Check them out to see where they lead.

DRINK MORE WATER

Even if you're not interested in hydration, you might be interested in this site which pinpoints natural springs across the U.S. and in parts of Canada. (Might make for an interesting if very long road trip.)

EAT MORE CHOCOLATE

After all, according to Charles Schultz, "All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn't hurt." (Who are we to argue?)

READ MORE BOOKS

I can't imagine a day without reading so this won't take effort. This year I'm focusing on learning more about how the brain operates.

BREATH MORE AIR

Does this really need additional input? In Nevada, you can still smoke in public places, especially in casinos, though many are now sporting smoke-free areas.

LISTEN TO GOOD MUSIC

I know I have my trusty mp3 player as well as access to all kinds of music on the web, but there's something special about actually being up close to music while it's happening.

That's it. I'm definitely setting myself up for success. I was thinking of doing a follow-up every now and then but I don't think that's necessary. What I would like is a suggestion or two that I can add to the list. Anybody?

Sunday, December 18, 2016

I'm Still Standing

Or rather, I'm still moving.

This blog has been temporarily (a long temporarily) on hold. It will  be revived in the near future, after I've finished a new venture that's become almost overwhelming.

The writing continues to fill up all the empty spaces on my hard drive and eventually the words will find their way here.

Meanwhile. it's nearing the end of a year. I'm hoping to have the big project wrapped up by the last day of this month.

I hope to have a Merry Christmas and wish the same to you.

Later,
m

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Don't clean up my act

Even a few days after reading about the app, my body is still reacting the way it does when I accidentally bite into a burrito filled with sriracha sauce. Maybe my face did not change to watermelon red and my cheeks did not streak with tears, but the sting, oh the sting, it certainly does exist.

What is this app that has me feeling so irritated?

It is the modern-day version of bowdlerising, the so-named cleansing of the English language to make it more acceptable to some unidentified group of individuals--well, maybe not so unidentified in some cases.

To me, this is censureship at the lowest level, right down there with book burners. Yes, down there, not up there, because I am sure there is a hot place for those folks who find it necessary to make sure I do not get them verbally mixed up with the offspring of their wayward female terrier.

Clean Reader! It is available through the customary downloading sites and it will zip through any book on your electronic reader, zap out "dirty" words and replace them with "clean" words.

Can you imagine the lack of satisfaction the reader gets when reading this line?
[Frankly,] My Dear, I don't give a pitooey! (Gone with the Wind)

And how much of a rally would result if the Admiral had cried,
Gosh dang the torpedos (David Farragut)

Do you think we would still be quoting Paddy Chayefsky if his sadly disillusioned character had shouted
I'm mad as heck and I can't take it anymore. (Network)

Maybe this would be acceptable in third grade (but would a third grade kid actually be reading this play)...
Darn Yankees (Broadway musical)

 Of course, Twain has already been sanitized by the academic world so maybe this is superfluous:
Go to Heaven for the climate, that other place for the company. (Twain)

We either love or hate Shakeaspeare. I think we would really dislike him if he had written this:
…[thou] art nothing but the composition of a knave, beggar, coward, pander, and the son and heir of a mongrel female dog. (King Lear)
I had a love/hate relationship with William Blake when trying to prepare my thesis. Maybe I should have done a clean up version of his work instead.
The Marriage of Heaven and Something Else (Blake)

If I downloaded the clean up app and applied it to my ebooks, I am sure I would find many examples of the sanitized segments.

I am not going to download it! Are You?

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Writers do read...but do they cook?

Writers usually have fairly decent-sized libraries.

I was thinking about this as I started packing some of my personal library to make room for some of the books I’m selling on ABE.

I’ve read many of the books I’m offering but there is one catalog that I’ve been collecting for a while now and it’s pretty much a surprise to me.

See, I don’t cook. I gave that activity up about ten years ago. Okay, I do make little things, quick meals like breakfast and lunch, but I don’t consider that cooking.

Cooking happened a long time ago when I made my own won ton dough for homemade war won ton soup, when I perfected my shrimp scampi, when I made 20-pound turkeys (and all the fine food that goes with them) to feed groups of friends on Thanksgiving.

So when I looked at the number of cookbooks I’ve put together to sell, I was shocked to discover I had forty books listed on ABE!

My favorite books do fall into the non-fiction genre, especially books about the brain and certain crafting books, especially on mosaics (which is a hobby of mine) and crocheting (not because I’m very good at it but because I’d like to figure out how my mother made some of those fantastic tablecloths and afghans).

I know I’m rambling here. I guess it’s because I can hardly bare to stuff all my lovely reading material into the guest bedroom closet.

I’m just glad I don’t have the extensive libraries some writers have (or had).   (I bet there aren't many cookbooks on those shelves.) I’d have to move into bigger digs if I did.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Happy New Year

February 19 is the start of the lunar new year, also the start of the new year for many cultures.

This is the Year of the Goat for the Chinese New Year. If you were born in one of the following years, you were born in the Year of the Goat -- 1919, 1931, 1943, 1955, 1967, 1979, 1991, 2003, 2015, 2027. (I was born in one of them but you'll have to guess which one, 'cause I am not telling.)

So far, the New Year that started on January 1 has been pretty good, but I think the one starting tomorrow is going to be even better.

I hope it's the same for all of you.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Do we really need editors? Do we really need proofreaders?

Do we really need editors? Do we really need proofreaderes?

Before anyone comes after me with hammers raised, I'll answer the questions.

Yes. We need both. But, life might be a tad easier for these experts if we had more a more effective education system. After all, look at the picture below. It's a sign that's been posted all over the complex where I live.

Almost makes you want to through (sic) up, doesn't it?

Now either someone was in a hurry to get that sign off the computer, off the printer and onto the local sign posting areas or they weren't paying attention in English class. I don't know who made the sign but if it's the person I think was responsible then I believe that person was just in a hurry and didn't proofread it before sending it to the printer.

Using proper grammar and spelling presents a problem for many people, even those of us who make a living in the writing trade. I recall writing an article I prepared about something I was very familiar with, and the final product was perfect -- almost.

When it came to the closing "For further information, call ...."

Being a creature of habit, I listed a toll free number starting with 1-800. Unfortunately, the number was supposed to start 1-888. I was embarrassed. The head of the company I was writing about was angry. And the company to whom the 800 number belonged tracked the magazine down to find out why he was getting so many calls for something that had nothing to do with his business.

Oh, my proofreader apologized, but nobody outside of the magazine staff cared. The magazine and the writer were to blame.

Unfortunately, I make mistakes, mainly because I write fast, and because I am often satisfied with my first draft. My grammar is better than average but I still goof up at times. My spelling is much better than average but I am grateful for spell check. I paid attention in all 12 years of high school English.

Still, I'd be overjoyed to have a full-time proofreader as a roommate.



Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Writing is the only thing ...

Writing is the only thing that, when I do it, I don't feel I should be doing something else.


I like this quotation from Gloria Steinem because it fits me perfectly. (I bet it fits a lot of writers perfectly.) I write in the morning, after walking the dog, of course, and don't feel guilty because I haven't emptied the grounds from the coffee pot. I write in the afternoons, after walking the dog, and don't feel guilty about not dusting or running the vacuum, or taking out the garbage. I write in the evening, sometimes eating dinner by the keyboard. And I write at night. When others might be worried about getting to sleep or not being able to sleep, I'm  hoping I don't get too sleepy to write.

You'd think I do little else, but that's not the case. Of course I'm not writing every day, morning, noon and night. But I do manage to find time to write without effort, mainly because I know I might be neglecting something, but that something isn't all that important. 

It's not even important if no one reads what I write. What's important is that I accomplish it because it's what I want to do, what I like to do, and what I do.

Just wanted to say that before I walk the dog (and take out the garbage).