In the current edition of The American Scholar, Helen Hazen discusses the process of turning an article into a book with the encouragement and help of editor, Jaques Barzun. Barzun, a retired professor at Columbia University, worked as a "literary advisor" for Scribner's. He acted as Hazen's mentor and editor through four rewrites over many years of her book, Endless Rapture: Rape, Romance, and the Female Imagination. Throughout the years, Barzun was famous for being a harsh editor and critic of his authors, but this article clearly shows his love of the written word and his encouragement of a newly-minted author's vision. I thorougly recommend this article to authors and editors alike as it distinctly describes the struggles and victories
In my last post, I had hoped to come up with some memorable language moments from the kids with whom I am staying. Well, so far they have impeccable skills! A very funny thing actually came out of their mother's mouth yesterday! We were doing the tourist thing (dare I say tour?) and were at the FDR monument. Remember, I am in DC! The kids were examining sculptures - FDR's dog was a favorite - and the adults were trying to out-trivia each other. Mom says, "FDR was elected four times President." Huh? Then we laughed about how her studies of foreign languages (she speaks five and is learning a sixth) are affecting the way she puts her sentences together. So the moral is - don't blame the kids! Always learning is fun!
By the way, it's snowing for the Cherry Blossom Festival. How ironic!
For the next few days I am staying with friends in the Washington, DC, area. My primary goal is to hang out with two terrific kids, ages six and eight. Both children are bilingual, English and French, so I hope they will give me a lot to think about! I'll keep track and share interesting events!
I have a new favorite website! Keep in mind, I am a book addict. One Hundred Free Books has a New Free Books website that includes a short description of each book and a link to Amazon. The web gurus also include inexpensive reads. It is a Kindle owner's dream! In the last three days, I have been a hunter-gatherer, finding six new books and not spending a cent! Check it out!
Just got 30 Life Changing Laws for free! Click on the picture for the link. I think this will be a good read, and maybe make a difference in the way I look at things.
While we're here, Happy Belated National Grammar Day! I mixed up up my days this week and forgot that March 4th is National Grammar Day. I hope you had a productive and grammatically correct day!
Do you know what literally means? This is one of those words that is commonly misused, even by so-called professionals! According to Dictionary.com (a great site), literally means "actually, without exaggeration." Think about literature, which comes from the same root word (Latin litterālis or of letters).
The other night on the local news, the reporter was introducing a story about a pizza parlor in Breezy Point, NY, that had been damaged by Hurricane Sandy. He stated that "the kitchen components had to literally be built from scratch." While I appreciate and applaud his efforts to use a kitchen metaphor, from scratch indicates that you have built something starting with the most basic ingredients. If he had left out components, I would not be discussing this. Unfortunately, because he mentioned components of the kitchen and then went on to interview the owner about the new oven, literally should not have been used in this case. The correct way to say this would be "The kitchen had to literally be built from scratch." I think we can all agree that an oven is a basic ingredient for a pizza kitchen.
I love to read, but I hate errors! Join me in the pursuit of literary perfection!