Tuesday, September 29, 2009
Sunday, September 27, 2009
Friday, September 25, 2009
Thursday, September 24, 2009
In the right margin of Lull is a purple button. Click on it and it will take you to another button. Select this one and you will have set in motion a process to feed and care for animals in shelters.
That's it: Two clicks and somebody gets to eat. Or gets life-saving meds.
Please click daily. A furball's life depends on it.
Had I read it in a book? A journal? A magazine? We may never know.
Fortunately, a friend interrupted my mania with an e-mail reminder that today is a holiday. It’s National Punctuation Day!
Now I realize I don’t mention many popularly recognized dates and events on Lull—mostly because the Web is full of chatter about them. But how can an editor let National Punctuation Day pass without saying something? Without providing a learning/teaching moment?
Before you press “Next Blog” because you think I’m going to go all Miss Thistlebottom* on you, be patient. I don’t care if you can’t tell your commas from your semicolons. But I do care whether misplaced or missing punctuation marks are preventing your writing from being understood.
Consider these two pairs of nearly identical sentences:
1A) Giselle complained Spencer couldn’t make the project deadline.
1B) Giselle, complained Spencer, couldn’t make the project deadline.
2A) Jackson quit suggesting he would sue the company.
2B) Jackson quit, suggesting he would sue the company.
In Sentence 1A, it’s Giselle who’s complaining; in Sentence 1B, it’s Spencer doing the complaining.
In Sentence 2A, Jackson ceases making suggestions about suing the company. But in Sentence 2B, Jackson resigns and suggests he’ll sue.
In each pair, the addition of a comma or two to Sentence B changes the meaning. This is important—much more important than which style guide you choose to follow. If readers miss your meaning because you didn’t know where to place a comma, you’re at fault. And you need to brush up on your punctuation skills. The National Punctuation Day Web site is a good place to begin.
* A reference to Theodore M. Bernstein’s charming Miss Thistlebottom’s Hobgoblins: The Careful Writer’s Guide to the Taboos, Bugbears and Outmoded Rules of English Usage.
Note: After making a couple of upgrades recently, graf spacing (among other things) is looking a little wonky on Lull now. I'll get it fixed sooner or later. Bear with me.
Monday, September 21, 2009
Morning walks along Lake Michigan reveal stories from the night before (liquor bottles, bras, carry-out leftovers) and treasures the water temporarily leaves on the sand.
We've seen parts of boats and parts of piers; a kayak, which we successfully returned to the club from which it escaped; a conch shell (which, when my husband lifted it from the shallows, created quite a stir amongst the congregation of dog folks—you'd think he was a magician or healer); a turtle, my favorite find yet one that couldn't be salvaged—icy Winter had already made its mark on the lovely creature.
Two weeks ago the water lapped over a variegated watermelon. The photo here merely resembles what I saw. The lake's watermelon sparkled in three saturated hues of green and looked as if it had sprung up right there. I couldn't take my eyes off it. But I left it alone.
Last week the water lapped over a cantaloupe. A pattern was beginning to emerge and naturally I began to wonder if there was meaning to be derived from these sightings. What did melon signify in my life?
Then, of course, I wondered if there wasn't a camera nearby recording my reaction for a reality show or YouTube send-up. If 15 minutes of fame ever come my way, I pray they're not accompanied by a camera.
Interpreting meaning from the mundane portenders of good and evil engages one's intuition. And I habitually ignore my intuition. The Lull seems as good a time as any to start paying attention to my subsconscious. Who knows? If I find a Crenshaw melon in the water this week, I might be able to figure out my purpose in life.
Saturday, September 19, 2009
[Thank you, Mr. Crowley, for your Cormorant pic.]
Thursday, September 17, 2009
You could spend all day going from one book blog to another. They're written by critics, industry insiders, literary agents, and everyday people who love to read. They're written for collectors, librarians, average readers, and up-and-coming writers. They're written about a single genre (including YA, kids, romance, graphic, memoir, and vampire), all genres, indie presses, publicity, and every topic related to the writing and publishing and reading of a book.
If you've never looked at a book blog, here's a random list to get you started. These aren't the most popular or the best or the worst or the ones I think you'll like. They're just some of them. Explore the links the bloggers give you on each one and pretty soon you'll have your own fave book blogs to follow.
Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast
Hip Librarians Book Blog
Pimp My Novel
Hey Lady! Whatcha Readin'?
[Thanks to Liam Quin for the shot of the antique alphabet books.]
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
Sunday, September 13, 2009
Thursday, September 10, 2009
“Once he had started work on a script he disliked ever having to stop; he wrote as he thought, and if he came to a place where the right line failed to emerge, he would just jab a finger at one of the keys, type ‘FUCK IT’ or ‘BOLLOCKS,’ and then carry on regardless. The first draft would feature plenty of such expletives, but then, with each successive version, the expletives grew fewer and fewer, until by about the tenth draft, he had a complete, expletive-free script.”
I don't recommend this method for business writing—too much potential for slip-ups. But for personal use, it may be your good-luck charm. It certainly paved the way for Milligan's success.
Wednesday, September 9, 2009
Tuesday, September 8, 2009
Monday, September 7, 2009
Sunday, September 6, 2009
Friday, September 4, 2009
“...I’ve been on this kick where, before I face the morning paper’s apocalypse roundup, I read a poem. I had hoped this would make me start each day in awe of humanity. Sometimes it works, but mostly I just read the news imagining melting polar ice caps drowning all the Emily Dickinson paperbacks in the world.”