Saturday, September 25, 2021

Farewell typewriter

 My husband and I shared an electric typewriter. He wrote articles for an antique MG car magazine and I was writing articles for the local newspaper. 

One day I discovered at breakfast time - no typewriter. He had gotten so frustrated at his multiple mistakes on a typing page that he had had to retype several times that he had picked up the typewriter and thrown it on the floor. We were vacuuming up typewriter parts and multiple ball bearings for months afterwards. 

Friday, September 24, 2021

They repainted our houses

 Well, they've repainted the section of the condo that I see from my kitchen window. It's so depressing. (others may say it's smart and chic and o so elegant, I don't.)  

The houses used to be painted in warm autumn tones. Creamy off white houses with warm rusty autumn leaves paint on the trim.  

Now what do I see? Stark white houses with black trim and gray doors. Depressing.

Wednesday, September 15, 2021

A Publishing Industry Glossary

Just for fun,  Posted by: Rick Walton  

   Date: Sat Jun 18, 2011 

Whenever I spend a great deal of time involved in something, my mind starts rebelling, and twisting it out of shape and it spit out the following:

A Publishing Industry Glossary

Author--the costume a writer puts on when he goes to a cocktail party.

Auction--a contest where two or more editors race to see who can show the most irrational exuberance.

Advance--the best proof that your project is moving forward.

ARC-- a vessel you send out into the ocean of reviewers, hoping it floats instead of sinks.

Backlist--books still in print, but which the publisher hides behind his back so they are hard to see.

Book--a rectangular device for immortalizing the person whose name is inscribed on it. Not to be confused with "headstone".

Contract--a document which, if held to the same standards as its subject, would require serious editing.

Cover letter--a letter designed to cover the weaknesses in your manuscript.

Critique--hopefully advice to help you turn your pony into a racehorse, but too often the suggestion that you turn your pony into an alligator.

Designer--a person who proves that people do indeed judge a book by its cover.

Dialogue--what people might say in real life if it were edited for clarity, conciseness, and for necessity to the plot. In other words, nothing at all like what people say in real life.

Draft--a manuscript with still enough holes in it to let the wind blow through.

E-book--E stands for everyone, as in everyone now will think they can write a book.

Editor--a young woman with just slightly more power than God. 

Editorial Board--a plank that your book is forced to walk by the captain of the publishing ship. Sometimes the book is allowed to come back and join the crew. But most of the time the book is pushed into the ocean.

Endpapers--a great place to write notes when you're out of notepaper, which is why they should be plain white.

Fiction--what a writer tells himself to make him believe he can write something people will pay money for.

Graphic novel--a comic book that went to college.

Hardcover--the best kind of book to use as a murder weapon.

Imprint--one of the personalities exhibited in a publisher's multiple personality disorder.

ISBN--Intercontinental Satellite-Based Nuke. What an author wishes they had access to when they get a bad review.

Jacket--an outer covering designed to make a cool book hot.

Line editing--editing that does not require you to wrap your mind around the whole plot, as substantive editing does, but which allows you to work while standing in the grocery store line, the bank line, the DMV line,...

Mass-market--a type of book that most of the time the masses, with great enthusiasm, ignore.

Option clause--a contract clause that gives you the option to either say, "No thank you, take it out." Or, "Are you out of your mind? Take it out!"

Print on demand--polite people say "print on request".

Publication date--a blind date set up between your book and the reader. You hope for a long-term relationship, but too often it results in your book being stood up.

Publisher--a company that is looking for something new and fresh as long as it has been done before.

Quill--if it was good enough for Shakespeare, it is good enough for you.

Reader--a very smart person who likes your book, or one who is not so smart who doesn't.

Rejection--a necessary evil, unless it involves my manuscript, then it is a totally unnecessary wrong.

Remainder--also known as "reminder". A step in the publishing process designed to remind you that you aren't as hot as you were starting to think you are.

Royalty--a British term for when publishers send the author lots of small pieces of paper with pictures of royalty on them in exchange for publishing their books. American publishers kept the term, in spite of the fact that our small pieces of paper do not have pictures of royalty on them, because they are afraid that if it was called "president", we would hear it as "precedent" and start expecting them to send us those little pieces of paper more often.

Typewriter--the best writing device ever to use as a murder weapon.

Unsolicited submission--a twisted form of attempted adoption where you give your dear child away to someone who doesn't want it.

Vanity press--a variation of "van o' depressed". So-called because you end up depressed with a van full of books.

Young adult--the average age of editors today.

Tuesday, September 14, 2021

Keep reaching for your goal

I'm listening to a video chat from the national SCBWI conference about setting and achieving your career goals- and it occurred to me that I have actually done this. I had a full-time job in a library (around wonderful children, wonderful co-workers, and books books books.) I also wanted to write books. I ended up writing many books and over 40 of them were published. We won't talk about the ones still filling drawers in my office filing cabinets. And for about a year I was a famous author. :) (then I went back to being a working mom who wrote books in her "spare" time. :) )

I also reached my goal of performing as a musician and hanging out with other musicians (in college) and later with music fans. (followed the Moody Blues for a while and even got to meet them for a quick minute backstage with a friend.)
I got very, very tired of shoveling snow (one year we had over 4 feet of snow - in Maryland!) So I now live in the land of eternal springtime - southern California coast.
I wanted more instruction about writing, so I went for a second masters degree (the first was in Library Science that I attended with my husband), at VCFA - Vermont College of Fine Arts, writing for Children and young adults.
Have I reached all my goals? nope. If you stop reaching for goals, you shrivel up and die.
So I keep reaching.

Saturday, September 11, 2021

9-11 memories

 I was getting dressed for the day, going to run some errands before going to work. Watching TV while getting dressed. The Today show was almost over when the person talking suddenly stopped. Said, "something's happening." And the TV picture suddenly showed the first tower crumbling. AND THEN WE SAW ON TV THE SECOND PLANE HIT THE SECOND TOWER! 

I called my workplace and asked them to drag the TV set into the children's room (where the cable wire was), plug it in and watch what was happening. When I went into work at noon, it was still running and it ran all day and evening (the plane into the pentagon and then the plane down somewhere in Pennsylvania). My desk was about 6 feet from the TV set. People would come into the library and either stand and watch or sit on the floor and watch. 

Any town that had a tower they called a World Trade Center (Baltimore did) immediately put some sort of defense around it. For the next few years jet planes flew from the Air Force base in Delaware above our heads, down to Washington, DC and circled around it for hours to defend the capital. We attended meetings in Washington, DC knowing that it was target number one for any terrorist. scary times. We expected more attacks, that never came. The suspense was killing us. We religiously watched the news.

I was scheduled to fly to the National Storytelling Festival the next month and kept waiting and waiting for when the government would allow planes to fly again -- they opened up for flying just a few days before I was scheduled to fly. But airports had changed. Nervious teen age soldiers with big guns were guarding everywhere and threatening anyone who stepped a little bit out of line. I could tell they were afraid of the masses of people surging through the airport, considering us all terrorists.   

A few months later as we were waiting at the airport for my daughter to fly home for Christmas, we no longer could sit comfortably at the plane gate. We were all crowded in front of the security gates, waiting for our relatives to walk to us. At one point my 3 or 4 year old granddaughter got very restless and began dancing. She danced out into the space between us and the boys with army rifles -- and they aimed their guns at her and shouted at her. Of course she couldn't understand and they threatened us when we started into the empty space to go get her. So, we had to stand still and entice her to come back to us. A scary time was had by all. (and don't get me started about the having to take your shoes off a few years later -- with NO seating on the other side to enable us older people to put our tie shoes back on. grrrrrr.)