Tag Archives: writing

On homophones and criticism.

I’m very critical of other authors.

My high expectations of grammar and spelling (even though I evade that spotlight myself doesn’t mean I don’t shine it on others) mean that I can sour on a book for just one wrong homophone, and my “keen psychological insight” makes me interpret, say, the over-mentioning of a prior career, or a description of an altercation with the spouse, as: he/she still feels illegitimate as a writer, or he/she’s just trying (still!) to get the last word, in print.

Homophones are my personal bugaboo, as a matter of fact.  One while for a wile or bore that should be a boor and my scalp crinkles.  It’s very, very common, and it makes me seethe inwardly.  I know there’s better things to seethe about, but for me, it’s homophones.  I just am who I am.

This makes me feel hypocritical and uncharitable, because I haven’t done the work of producing a book from my heart, and if I get catty and review a book “honestly”, then really, the strongest effect that’s ever going to have is upsetting the author in question when they’re googling themselves.   That does not bring more love into the world.  Some books do just piss me right off, but did I have to finish them?  Do I have to publish exactly what I think?

On the other hand, I highly value the clear and unstinting expression of opinion.  Some of my favorite people spray insults as freely as Febreeze, and I love that you can always be sure exactly where you stand with them.  Not to mention, if all that you say is sugar, then it gets diluted.  Even the positive loses its credibility.  How to reconcile?


“And all this time I thought Googling yourself meant that other thing!”  – Marge Simpson

Book Love I – Library

I love books.  I love books with a deep irrational passion.  I love touching them, smelling them, organizing them, being surrounded by them, and even reading them.  I enjoy shopping for them, reviewing them, even considering reading them and deciding against it.

My mom taught me to read very early (four), and I’ve been borrowing books from the library by the boxful ever since.  I read so much, all the time, and my brother did the same.  Since neither of us thought eating was worth putting a book down for, my dad eventually invented the Bookhug to serve our needs.  Among other things, once he got going.

It’s an incredible pleasure to work at the library now.  Just to be surrounded by books is enough, but in some small way to perform book husbandry is another level.  Continue reading Book Love I – Library

A small but valuable accomplishment: beginning.

Having an odd sense of non-emotion now around the potential purchase of property.  It’s not at the top of my mind, hardly a priority in my day, yet the process is sailing along ever more smoothly.  It looks like it’s going ahead, and we’ll be on the new 5 acres of digs in a month, with a horse.  Every so often I think, oh yeah, in no time I’ll probably be on some land and life will look completely different.  I’m sure I’ll be bursting with excitement as soon as I pull the camper into the barn, and start cleaning brush and designing gardens, lists flying everywhere, but until then, other things dominate my head.

Like writing!  Praise be, we’re writing.  My friend and I are both working on big projects that have stayed more in the realm of vision than reality for far too long.  Now together, we’re making them real.  We have a writing date, and both of us sit down and click and stare sternly at our pages, pausing over word choices and spelling.  The half hour we promise to do turns into an hour and half every time.

I’m familiar with the way that an idea is perfect and glowing, bursting with energy and perfection, but then you sit at the keyboard filled with intention, and the words don’t come out in nice sentences with the pop you imagined.  Three hours later you look up hungry, thinking you still have to finish it up, rewrite the beginning, and edit the whole thing, let alone format and post it.  I know that song.  That’s just what it takes to make something real instead of a fantasy.

As I plunge into the hitchhiking book it feels like I knew it would take time, but now I know how much.  The table of contents that flowed out of me on a break between rides on my last trip is a blessing.  It gives a structure and creates a list of topics.  Every day I’m tackling one little category and writing about it.  I’m sure every word will change in the edits that will be required, but right now I’m getting the ideas out in words.  It’s terrible, artless writing, but it’s out there now, and after all of it is “out” will come the stage of editing to make all those pieces readable and entertaining.  Then will come the stage of editing that will give it form and cohesion.  It’s a hell of a lot of work, and I “knew” that before, but now I KNOW.  And it’s underway, which is spectacular.  A small but valuable accomplishment: beginning.

Safe travels

Made it home just fine on Thursday.

Marriage proposals: three.  Offers of money for sex: one.  A successful trip.

Big news of the journey was that the urge to write “The hitchhiking book” surged up in me again along the way, this time in a motivated, urgent, desireful way, instead of an “I need to do that someday” way.  I even had to stop between rides to type for an hour, I was so filled with urgency to start.

Another sigh of grateful relief for having sold the house- I can write it now.  I have the time to do it.  There’s a few garden-variety resistances-fear of failure/success/putting in the work, but I know how to deal with those and still get the job done.  And all I need to do for a refreshing dose of motivation is to get back on the road and hitch somewhere.