Tag Archives: writing

Singular possessive or plural possessive

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Do people still diagram sentences?[1] Is writing still important in business?[2] [3] [4] These thoughts came to mind after a colleague asked about a client’s ad copy. She read a sentence to me, and I listened.

“Does that sound correct?” she asked.

“Depends,” I answered. “Is the word singular possessive or plural possessive?”

She showed me the ad copy on her screen. The sentence went something like this:

The insurer provides health care for the company’s and employee’s best interest.

The conversation went on for a bit on the topic of whether or not the client intended that the word “employee’s” be singular possessive. It made sense to us that a company would be singular. But would a company have a single employee? A quick survey of other colleagues revealed that they didn’t know what we were talking about. In fairness to the other colleagues, it was a very busy day at the office and they may have politely feigned ignorance as to return to their tasks.

The challenge of the ad copy provoked other thoughts on the necessity of good writing skills in a business and professional setting. Think before you write. Write well and your thoughts will effectively communicate your message.

NOTES:
[1] JUANA SUMMERS, “A Picture Of Language: The Fading Art Of Diagramming Sentences,” NPR, August 22, 20147:18 AM, accessed July 28, 2016, http://www.npr.org/sections/ed/2014/08/22/341898975/a-picture-of-language-the-fading-art-of-diagramming-sentences
[2] Carolyn O’Hara, “How to Improve Your Business Writing,” Harvard Business Review, NOVEMBER 20, 2014, accessed July 28, 2016, https://hbr.org/2014/11/how-to-improve-your-business-writing.
[3] Joyce E.A. Russell, “Career Coach: Are writing skills necessary anymore?,” Washington Post, May 22, 2011, accessed July 28, 2016, https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/capitalbusiness/career-coach-are-writing-skills-necessary-anymore/2011/05/18/AFJLUF9G_story.html
[4] Susan Adams, “8 Keys To Better Business Writing,” Forbes, JAN 18, 2013 @ 10:08 AM, accessed July 28, 2016, http://www.forbes.com/sites/susanadams/2013/01/18/8-keys-to-better-business-writing/#402ba4f415de
[BONUS] Annie Holmquist, “Almost 1 in 3 Americans Didn’t Read a Book Last Year,” Intellectual Takeout, October 19, 2015, accessed July 28, 2016, http://www.intellectualtakeout.org/blog/almost-1-3-americans-didn%E2%80%99t-read-book-last-year

April – write 30 poems in 30 days

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It is April 15th. If you are participating in the 30 poems in 30 days challenge, than you are half way there!

Some of the results of the daily discipline of writing looks more like sketches rather than fully composed poems. Nothing yet looks like a Coleridge “Kubla Khan” or a Ginsberg “Howl” or even a Bashō haiku. A few sparkling lines, but a lot of raw material.

Fifteen days down. Fifteen to go.

And then the editing begins.

April – National Poetry Month

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It is no joke. It is April. And it is the beginning of National Poetry Month.

For poets and poetry fans, April is a special month-long celebration of poems and poets. For most of America, it is the beginning of baseball season.

One question that is asked of me when an individual learns that I compose lines poetry is this: “Are you published?”

The answer is yes.

Throughout the month of April I will post selections of my published work for your reading pleasure.

April is a good month to test your poetry writing skills. A few years ago I took up the challenge[1] to write 30 poems in 30 days.[2] You are invited to the challenge as well.

NOTES:
[1] 30 poems in 30 days challenge
[2] Write 30 poems in 30 days: a challenge

Interview: Caleb Beissert on Beautiful translations of Federico García Lorca and Pablo Neruda

Reposting this interview. Enjoy!

Forthcoming publication – Mortal Coil

 

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Received notification earlier this month that a piece I wrote earned second place in a writing contest. It will be published in the August 2015 issue.

The contest judge is a faculty member at Columbia College Chicago. So, the acceptance of the prose piece submitted seems to have some merit. Or at least that is what I try to convince myself, because all month I have received notification of other submissions that have all been rejected.

Much gratitude goes to the members of the writers group that meets at the Graham Public Library who saw the first handwritten draft of the story. Their support has been amazing. And special thanks to novelist Justin Grimbol, for encouraging me in the craft of fiction.

How to write a book in 15 minutes

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“Give me I subject to write about,” I challenged the oldest kindlinger. It was lunch break and I was home for tea and toast.

After a few moments, the kidlinger offered a subject — a writing prompt, if you will.

DSCN3177webGrabbing a sheet of paper from the recycled bin, I feed the sheet into an old manual typewriter and began composing a manuscript on the spot. The kidlingers watched at a distance and then approached to watch the keys striking the paper. Their amusement fueled the writing and from time to time I would ask them for a color or word choice.

Within fifteen minutes I had composed a draft of a book custom tailored to the chosen subject. There is no trick here. No spell check. No slight of hand. No editing. And no kidding. Handmade mini-books are very easy to manufacture [see my post on the topic here]. Writing a handmade mini book may be more of a challenge. But for writers and parents, it is a lovely experience.

The oldest kidlinger was dubious of the handmade mini-book. The younger kidlinger was all smiles. Their mother read it aloud. The request to sign and date it was meet and the book was carefully examined by the kidlingers as I returned to the afternoon’s labors.

Book bundles available at the book fair

 

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Who doesn’t like a deal? This weekend only at the Racine & Kenosha Authors Book Fair (Saturday, May 23, 2015, 2-5 p.m., Rhode Center for The Arts), you can purchase copies of my books for special book fair price: four books for $16. Limited quantities are available. So come early. See you there.

Typewriter poetry and blogging

Some days all you need

A poem for a friend composed on a manual typewriter

At least five years ago, an old beat up manual typewriter provided a platform to compose poetry and other writings.1 It was an effort to return to an intentional practice of crafting poetry and prose without distraction of disruptive media.

For years and years, a notebook, journal or sketchbook was never far from reach. But one night after a long night of poetry and music at Beanstreets followed by an even longer time of coffee and conversation at Old Europe, a friend convinced me to try blogging.

Photo courtesy of @mxmulder

Sample journal page of poetry

The immediate response to blogging was infections.2 Connecting with people all over the country, networking, sharing and being part of an active digital community was exciting. The practice of writing allowed me to hone the craft of creative writing and exposed me to other writers across the country. One of those bloggers actually showed up at a poetry gig I did. She was on a cross-country trip to visit friends and wanted to visit in real life.

Over time, I noticed that my practice of writing notes, daily sketches and other activities had all but disappeared. Relying on keyboards, display screens, hard drives and servers presented became a crutch. My writing drafts and sketches appeared deceptively crisp and final in neatly formatted text documents and web blog interface windows.

So, I pulled the plug. Returned to handwriting and typing as practice.3 Some friends and fellow poets saw a few samples of typewritten work and suggested I post it on my blog. It was a novelty. A curiosity. So, I did.

One of the first photographs of a poem I composed on a typewriter was written for a friend. It was posted about this time of year — in 2011.4 A few days later I followed up with another poem5 that was later read at poetry event.

I do not claim to be the first person to post an image of a poem typed on a manual typewriter. But I noticed a trend in that direction about a year after posting those images of poem sketches.6 Not sure exactly if I started the trend. Probably did not. Maybe other like-minded individuals who sought to return an organic practice of handwriting and typing as a mode of composing their visions and ideas.

Here is to a five year anniversary of analog writing.

NOTES:
[1] In truth, I composed poems on an electric typewriter prior to that. Did it for decades. Did not own a personal computer until… well, that is another story.
[2] That was when there were a mere couple million web blogs in the world. Now, there are some platforms, like Tumblr, boasting 100 million blogs. The blogosphere has become quite congested.
[3] Examples of some the 30 poems in 30 days journal posts with photos: here, here and here.
[4] April 1, 2011, blog post.
[5] Poem: “Never Look A Doughnut Dealer in the Eyes”
[6] Examples include Typewriter Poetry, Remington Typewriter Poetry, and the most popular is Tyler Knott (though his web page has an archive going back to 2003 (which is odd because he uses Tumblr as a platform and Tumblr was launched in early 2007… maybe he migrated his content from some other source to Tumblr… but I digress) the posted images do not begin until 2012 (unless I am mistaken).