Monday, October 29, 2012

Worthy Words: Mnemonic Help

Confused between all right/alright? A lot/alot? I have mnemonic devises to help--not to be confused with pneumatic or pneumonia despite the silent first letter.

Word Processor
Word Processor (Photo credit: rahady)

Let the fun begin and the confusion end.

 1. a lot--(first of all, it's not a good word to use. Far too vague. But for facebook or emails--hey, have fun.) Remember that a lot is a lot of words.

2. all right/alright--since EVERYTHING's correct, not just one thing, the word contains TWO parts. all right. Alright is NEVER all right.

3. There/their/they're--

     a. There. We have no trouble with here. We know it's the location. Stick on the t. You now have   the location: there.

     b. Their. We know an heir owns stuff. Stick on a t. They now own it. Their.

     c.  They're. The ', AKA apostrophe, incdicates something left out. They're=they  are.

4. Can/may. Can is something you could do. May is something that is possible should permission be granted. Think mother may I.

5. Onto/on to: (mnemonic borrowed aka stolen from CMS) onto implies movement. I got onto the stage. If you can replace the to with up, you use onto. The two letter one is sort of like the preposition on and the infinitive to. But those terms (infinitive and preposition) is the subject of another blog.

Every Monday I'll share ways to remember your troublesome words. What words confuse you?

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Saturday, October 27, 2012

Date Your Husband

"Relish life with the spouse you love Each and every day of your precarious life. Each day is God's gift. It's all you get in exchange For the hard work of staying alive. Make the most of each one! Eccl 9:9, THE MESSAGE).
view from Elephant's Head

Marriage. If we've been blessed, we've been with our spouses many years. And many years together, tend to make us take each other for granted. But why endure when we can enjoy? And to enjoy each other, and thus our "precarious" lives, I advocate periodic dates with our spouse.

Hmmm. But he likes NASCAR and you like to quilt? She likes Mary Kay parties while you'd rather change the oil in the truck?

It takes hard work to stay alive--and harder work to keep a marriage vibrant. Here are Carol's Keys to Romance. (I have eight years experience!)
I did curl my hair

  1. Compromise: Neil and I had a picnic. I love long walks and would have loved to hike to the top of Mount Marcy. Neil's arthritis makes those treks difficult. So we walked up Elephant's Head--a half-mile trail with a stunning view on the top. We both gave a little, we both gained a lot.
  2. Dress up: I curled my hair and put on make-up suitable for a hike. I wore jeans (Neil's favorite pants choice for me). I'd never make it as a L'Oreal model, but I enhanced, at least psychologically, what God gave me.
  3. not exotic--put novel for us
  4. Do the unexpected: Everyone goes out to dinner or to the movies. Find something you don't usually do. In our case, we picnicked. Next week we'll go out on a photo shoot. We need to play, even more so as we age and our "precarious" life nears its end.

What are some of your favorite spouse-dates?

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Bassoon/Writing: What's the Difference?

Bassoon (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Playing the bassoon and writing equals the same thing. Note: I used the verb 'equals', not the weaker verb 'are'...totally different meaning.

Technicalities aside, how you ask? Glad to answer.

  1. Lonely time. You spend hours alone, creating, honing, perfecting. And you know you are GOOD. (Until you hit rehearsal or receive the correct copy from your crit partner).
  2. Never perfect. Your rehearsal/crit demonstrate your weakness, so you spend the next week perfecting.
  3. Hit the wall. Your embouchure or your muse walks out on you. You threaten to walk out on the whole lifestyle.
  4. Rehearsal (AKA Conference). You get to  celebrate with like-minded geeks who love nothing more than to spend hours practicing and sharing their craft.
  5. Performance. When you're ready to quit, then the performance comes. You get to dress up, put on make-up (hopefully only if you're female). The house is packed. For writers, you get your contract.
Is any life better than writing or music?
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Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Eat, Drink and Enjoy Your Job, Eccl. 2:24

line art drawing of carpe diem.
line art drawing of carpe diem. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
 "A man can do nothing better than to eat and drink and find satisfaction in his work. This too, I see, is from the hand of God,  for without him, who can eat or find enjoyment"( NIV Eccl 2:24-25)?

I straggled into work at Franklin Academy. "Lord, I hate this job," I repeated my morning mantra as I searched for my cup of java. I then counted my years until retirement. Too many to offer relief. I stopped in my tracks as words of my students reverberated.

"I can't wait to graduate. When I have a job..."
"I can't wait until college is done, then I..."
"I can't wait..."

Intoning "I can't wait" ruins more lives. We're always looking for the next big thing. But what happens when you get it? Another big thing rears it's head: driver's license, graduation, college, career, retirement. What comes then? Death and the judgment. No one's counting the days to death! (Even though we Christians claim we look forward to it).

So celebrate your "hedonism:"
  • eat--be it a gourmet meal or pizza (I'm redundant), savor the flavor. Enjoy. Even tofu. It's a gift of God.
  • drink--obviously not in excess, but a good coffee, a cold glass of milk, a fine wine,  a home brewed beer or water from an artesian well, enjoy the provision of God.
  • work--it's a gift. Instead of moaning, think what benefit your actual work gives you. Celebrate it. Once you retire, you're on your way to dying...may even do that before retirement.
Carpe Diem --this phrase may have been made famous in Dead Poet's Society, but Ecclesiastes' Preacher beat N.H. Kleinbaum in popularizing the concept. How can you eat, drink and be merry?

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Monday, October 15, 2012

How Grammar Literate Are You?

The punctuation mark comma
The punctuation mark comma (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Can you correctly answer the following? Check the Literator tab on the main page for the answers and your score.

1. The Oxford comma is on that is: a) used only in England  b) an optional comma strongly recommended before a conjunction c) joins two closely related sentences.

2. A comma splice a) is used when a period or semi-colon should be used: b) is half of a quotation mark c) is another name for the serial comma.

3.  Etc. or et cetera (and NEVER in formal prose, we ALL know that), is set off in commas: a) every time b) when it's not written out c) when it's the final word in a series.

4.Et al means: a) and others b) Please include Al c) I can't remember the other examples, so I'll abbreviate it.

5. Ampersand is: a) the overuse of the word and b) the symbol # c) the symbol &
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Saturday, October 13, 2012

Don't Worry About the Morrow

Matt 6:34
"Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don't get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes”( Matt 6:34, THE MESSAGE).

early morning mist
I goofed. I know, no small surprise. And you ask, “What did you do now, Carol?” And I answer.  

 Remember, you asked, so it’s your problem when I unwind a long tale of writing woes: a mistyped title in a query, a header that’s wrong, spelling comma as coma, forgetting my pitch, getting rejected because no one’s seen my genius.

Have I told you? I’m the next great Hemingway. Of the female persuasion. I know it, but I haven’t been able to convince anyone else.

Lately, I’ve been bemoaning the three new rejections I haven’t received yet. (Believe me,  they’re coming).


Maybe not.

But Matthew 6: 34 tells me I’ve got to stop my merry-go-round worrying about tomorrow. I’ve got to see and hear and taste all the good God has done in my life today.

I've seen:

·         Starlight on a black lake
·         Mist dancing on water
·         The diamond glint of frost
·         Encouragement in a good friend's eyes

I've heard:
·         The whirr of partridge wings
·         The call of geese
·         The bark of a happy Springer spaniel chasing rabbits
·         The cry of a healthy newborn

I've tasted
·         Pumpkin-spice coffee
·         Farm-fresh eggs
·         Dark chocolate
·         The lips of a doting husband

To worry about tomorrow only destroys today. What blessing have you been given today?

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Ecclesiastes 1:18--Knowledge=Sorrow

Much learning earns you much trouble. The more you know, the more you hurt. Eccl 1:18

This verse confused me. I love knowledge. I believed you can never have too much. But then, I discovered, the hard way, the more you know, the more you realize you don't know. Then you find yourself refusing to get out of bed, refusing to remove the covers from off your head. And people get pretty sick of your moaning.

I know from experience.
Naively, I sat down a wrote a book. A wonderful book. One to be esteemed by all mankind. Well, as a humorous women’s fiction, a small fragment of womankind would love it. Crit partners read it, I reviewed it, my daughter loved it. Perfect. So I pitched it at the last writers’ conference.

I found myself with three requests for DWF, one requiring a title change, so I dutifully reviewed my manuscript and discovered, to my horror, that I learned much in the years since I created this masterpiece. The book stunk. After hiding in bed for twenty-four hours, spending the next day in tears, and consulting with others, I dusted off my grief, and re-worked it. Three weeks later, it was ready to be mailed.

I looked at old queries to serve as a cover letter. With good reason, no one wanted to take a chance on this before seeing a I couldn't write a decent query. Using knowledge newly acquired I crafted a letter no agent could refuse--one designed for each specific agent.


Remember that on title change? My mind no longer saw either of the titles. I perfected my queries, hit send and then realized…in one paragraph I called my work DWF. In another it became On(the)Line.

A year ago I would have shrugged. Said, “No big deal.” But my knowledge has increased, and thus my sorrow. A little mistake like I made, in our competitive field, was huge. And I grieve because another year has gone down the tubes.

Furthermore, I'm reading a book that truly is great. What I sent to the three agents does not compare.

While I grieve and worry my failure, I’m glad the only thing that truly matters is God and our continual striving to be like Him. We can study, stay up late, find the greatest mentors, and there will always be more that arises that shows us just how far short we all have fallen from the glory of God.