Emily Dickinson: In a Library.

book store with antique books

My daughter gave me a book of poems of Emily Dickinson. This morning I decided to read one. It just so happens that it was a good one for other writers.

In a Library. 

A PRECIOUS, mouldering pleasure ‘t is

To meet an antique book,

In just the dress his century wore;

A privilege, I think,

His venerable hand to take,

And warming in our own,

A passage back, or two, to make

To times when he was young.

His quaint opinions to inspect,

His knowledge to unfold

On what concerns our mutual mind,

The literature of old;

What interested scholors most,

What competitions ran

When Plato was a certainty,

And Sophocles a man;

When Sappho was a living girl,

And Beatrice wore

The gown that Dante deified.

Facts, centuries before,

He traverses familiar,

As one should come to town

And tell you all your dreams were true:

He lived where dreams were sown.

His presence is enchantment,

You beg him not to go;

Old volumes shake their vellum heads

And tantalize, just so.

The truth is I don’t spend any time in a library anymore. If I do, it’s to go to the kid’s section. When I read her description, I picture the library at Hogwarts, frankly, which is a far cry from any library I have had the pleasure of frequenting.

I have to wonder if libraries like this even exist in the real world anymore. They do, of course, but they are likely to be private. The public library in New York is pretty nice, I guess. On the Sex and the City Movie (the first one, otherwise known as the “good” one), Carrie Bradshaw loved the library, described the smell of the books, and even scheduled her ill-fated nuptials there. From what I saw of the library in the movie, it looked more like what Dickinson described.

Now that I think about it, Dickinson likely was talking about a private library anyway. In her time, public libraries were likely few and far between. I’m not a historian and am even too lazy to look it up on Google, but my gut tells me her description was of a wealthy friend or colleague’s private collection.

However, the idea of charming libraries isn’t what spoke to me in this poem. What drew me to the poem was the idea she traveled to the time of the authors she mentions as she read. In that way, I relate. Stephen King in his book “On Writing” talks about the way we can communicate through time and space with our writing. I couldn’t agree more;  this communication is one of the many reasons I love to read and to write.

As writers, it is our duty to transcend the now and reach forward to tell our stories to the future audience. What is on your screen today could grace the pages (or tablet screens) of your audience in the future. Ask yourself what you want to say to those readers. What is the picture you wish to paint for our time today, or the time of which you are writing? We paint these images with our words as only we can, with our unique perspective and interpretation. These images are our responsibility as artists.

We have a responsibility as writers to recreate the images of our time with our words, to transcend time and space with our readers.

We have a responsibility as writers to recreate the images of our time with our words, to transcend time and space with our readers.

May you communicate through time and space today with your audience, who may or may not be walking the Earth as we speak.

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Things You Never Knew about The Little House on the Prairie Books

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I read “The Little House on the Prairie” books voraciously when I was a young girl. Camped out on my red patchwork bedspread in leg warmers under my Michael Jackson’s Thriller poster, I poured through the series, my eyes starved for the next fascinating anecdote about roughing it in the untamed midwest. This series of books is as much a part of my childhood as the Muppets or the Atari 2600.

So when I read this article on latimes.com, I was surprised to learn some of the interesting backstory about this important series. First of all, I was surprised to learn her daughter edited the series (or maybe wrote it, although Rose Wilder Lane said she just “edited” her mother’s work). Then I was surprised to learn the Ingalls had been in Iowa for a time. Even more surprised to hear half-pint stood up to a drunk uncle and fended off lecherous and criminal advances…I am a little thankful that part was left out of the books!

For more fascinating and eye-opening facts about The Little House series, read the article for yourself.

“The Reality Behind Laura Ingalls Wilder’s ‘Little House’ Books.

Life Lessons from Shel Silverstein

Everything on it

I have always been a fan of Shel Silverstein. Since my first read of, “Where the Sidewalk Ends,” I have admired his work. I learned many of life’s lessons on his stark and gritty pages.

Last night, while reading with the kids, I came across this beautiful poem, a jewel amongst the snarky rhyming couplets and occasional illustrated bottom:

Happy Ending?

There are no happy endings.

Endings are the saddest part,

So just give me a happy middle

And a very happy start.

From: Every Thing On It

You can chalk this up to another life lesson learned from Silverstein. It’s not the end that we look forward to when it comes to life. It’s this part here in the middle that matters, warts and all. I am thankful for my middle…and all the people that give it joy.

May you have a very happy middle and a Happy Thanksgiving!

Huffington Post’s: 10 Rules for Aspiring Women Writers

Found this on my Facebook feed (thanks Missy Cretcher) and knew I had to post this. It addresses women writers in the headline, but I think these concepts apply no matter which door you choose at the public restroom.

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10 Rules for Aspiring Women Writers

Print it out and keep it where you can see it everyday. And keep up the good work!

Typos Count: Catching the Errors Before You Hit Send

     Peeface

Poor, poor Peeface…

It used to be, back in the day, that Typos were a problem for writers, printed publications, and secretaries. Nowadays, in the world of social media and email, Typos are everyone’s problem.

Everything you write is about communication. When you make a thoughtless mistake, it’s distracting from what you wrote. Typos take the reader out of the experience and force them to judge you. To avoid this, you must proof—and preferably before anyone else reads it.

Art and Lit

Well, at least there aren’t many words in paintings.

A while ago, I confessed that I have a long and tortuous relationship with Typos. I implored others to help me with their tips on how to catch Typos. My readers did not disappoint. I found out some great stuff.

So in the spirit of sharing and keeping emails, resumes, business writing, and cat video explanations error-free, here are additional ways to proof better BEFORE you hit send:

Matthew Steele, this is IT:

“Another way to catch typos is to save your article in PDF format and then open it in Adobe Reader (free) and go to View > Read Out Loud > Activate Read Out Loud, then click where you want it to start reading. It’s a monotone voice, but if you can put up with it, hearing it read to you while you read is a real help.”

Monique Huenergardt, Freelance Author’s Editor, Copy Editor, and Proofreader:

“Change the font style and size, and then reread it. The “preview” function in Blogger serves the same purpose; I almost always catch errors I didn’t see in the draft.”

Writu Tandon, Business Operations Specialist Advance with State of New Mexico:

“In my case, a ‘second pair of eyes’ saves me. Whenever possible, I show my work to my coworker or a friend. Otherwise, I email it to myself, and for some unknown reason, when I receive it in my inbox, I read it more objectively and am able to find ‘most’ typos.”

John Wurtenberger, President and Business Development Engineer at WURTEK:

“One thing my mom taught me when I was a kid was to read my writing backward, word for word. This gives the eyes and brain a different perspective, allowing some misspellings and typos to jump out that we would normally miss.”

If you want a refresher in how I proof, you can hear my radio interview on proofing resumes here.

Inland Empire

So THAT’s why real estate is so much cheaper in the Inland Empire!

It’s not easy to proof your own stuff. One need only read over my past posts, to know that typos are alarmingly pervasive in today’s quick to publish genres. I would argue, however that learning from someone like me has distinct advantages, not the least of which is that I am just an ordinary sinner when it comes to proofing. Asking for proofing advice from someone who is perfect at proofing is like asking a cat how to make a video that is both cute and viral. They don’t know…so they can’t tell you. Plus in this case, cats can’t talk, which just creates more obstacles to knowledge.

Home Run Hitler

Um…Thanks, guys?

I know firsthand that this is true. When I was in college, I decided to be a music minor. My parents were overjoyed, by the way. I guess they were so glad that I had something to fall back on in case my Theatre Major didn’t pan out for me.

As an illustrious Music minor, I had to take Music Theory (business school types: this is how you write actual music on a staff for instruments and voices and stuff). Part of the class that was particularly challenging to me was called ear training, a lab portion of the class where you listen to notes and have to write them down on the staff as played.

Amercia

To be honest, it took me longer than it should to see this one!

IF the idea of this class bewilders you, then you know exactly how I felt. A professor with perfect pitch, a rare gift where the possessor knows exactly the notes and key just by hearing them, taught my first semester. Needless to say, he wasn’t much help to my complete ineptitude. He was generous, however, as he gave me a C, although I sincerely doubt I earned it.

The next semester, however, the professor who taught this portion of class had also struggled with ear training. He was a far superior teacher, because he had to teach himself. He knew how to talk to the clueless, like me, because he had also been clueless at one time.

Human Sauce

Is number 6 gluten-free?

Because of the ear training course, I am living proof that an absolute idiot can get better at almost anything. So no matter how abysmal you are at proofing your own emails (posts, marketing copy, resumes, novels, letters to your mom), you can improve. To start the process of improvement, however, you have to take the first step.

Shoplifters

Seems a little extreme…

I challenge you to try one of these methods above and let me know what you discover in what you thought was otherwise a perfectly acceptable email. Only this time, you will see the blunder before you hit send.

For many more hilarious Typo Memes, see “30 of the Funniest Typos of All Time” at weknowmems.com.

Terri Lively is a career marketing professional that has unique experience in the areas of messaging and client relations. Terri helps her clients break through the clutter by injecting a bit of humor into the business world. For the past 15 years, she helps her clients create marketing materials that effectively communicate their message and get results, across all types of media. More about Terri can be discovered at www.terrilively.com.

According to Angela Booth, You Need to Think in Scenes!

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Source: Angela Booth’s Fab Freelance Writing Blog

I love this. I found it on Pinterest, along with a fantastic board about Freelance Writing.  I followed it immediately.

Sadly, my fiction isn’t getting anywhere these days. I am happy to report it’s because I am writing a lot of non fiction (which I also enjoy!).

If you are working on your novel/screenplay/YouTube series however, I thought this might help!

Typ0s: Part Deux

I have posted about Typ0s before. Now I am talking about it on Radio Shows!

Error Free Resumes By Terri Lively and Cady Chesney

Hope this helps you catch those elusive Typ0s today.