A Sonnet for J

This peasant life, though pleasant be, it sours
Like ripest fruit, which gives so sweet a taste
That from the vine the sated mouth devours
Yet over time decays to naught but waste.

My roots within her earth — she has a hold
On me. I grow in dreams, in fertile lands
Of queens and light and cliffs of glass and gold,
Forsaking stalk and stem and their demands.

My plight and plot: a slow death by ennui,
Light-starv'd in this suburban oubliette,
But in my mind a meadow, light, and She. . .
I dwell within, I wilt without, and yet,

Although my blossom withers here, I know
My heartwood's safe with her. She makes it grow.


Any Appropriate Title Would Be Too Mushy

confessions (Photo credit: dickuhne)
I really was a horrible, romantic, lonely, lovelorn galoot in college. Here's a short poem from 1995:
With beauty all around me,
My mind absorbs the art
Of every face that smiles
And tears my world apart.
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April 4, 1968

All the trees in the yard are dead,
Bare brittle branches sway in the wind,
Lifeless on a clear, sunny day.

Martin Luther King, Jr., was taken from the world 46 years ago today. The preceding was a poem I wrote on this date in 1995. Every time I read it, I see a different interpretation. Which, I guess, is why I like it.


New Readings of Old Poems

An old friend has inadvertently inspired me to thumb through old journals going back over two decades, even though I can't possibly be that old. I had already planned on posting a bunch of poems this month -- National Poetry Month -- but now many of those will be poems I wrote long ago, to people I haven't seen in years.

In college, I swung wide arcs from lovelorn to world-weary. Looking back, I really should have been medicated.

Here's one I wrote for Alison that she never saw:

Love --
For me
To be
Much freer
To see her
Without my mask --
No easy task.
I sense the presence
Of my renaissance
In the curls of her hair,
In her deep brown eyes, where
I would dive and die so deep
And leave my heart there to sleep,
And with each beat my love extol --
A buried treasure in her soul.


National Poetry Month 2014

Some people say that poetry is hard,
And they are right. The thought of rhythm, rhyme,
And form, and worse — the shadow of the Bard
Who set the standard high for all of time —

It's all enough to drive the meek away,
To lock their inner poets deep inside.
But April marks a change: It's thirty days
Of celebrating poems nationwide!

So if you've thought of writing, now and then,
From out that part inside that rarely speaks,
The time is now to grab your fav'rite pen
And write a poem in the coming weeks.

And even if your poem coughs and dies,
Success can only come to him who tries.


Public Speaking at ACES 2014 and Things to Come

At 10:45 am Vegas time (1:45 Eastern) today, I will be presenting a breakout session with the admittedly dry title “Editing Online Content for the New SEO” at the annual conference of the American Copy Editors Society (ACES). 

This is my first time presenting and only the second time I’ve been to the conference. My nerves are starting to get edgy, but it’s still nowhere near the worries I had about getting through airport security to get here. Apparently, I fear the TSA.

(Frankly, the main reason I’m writing this post is because it has been too long since I’ve put anything up here, and I don’t want anyone who visits this blog after seeing my presentation to find it stale.)

At any rate, if you were unable to attend the ACES conference and want to get a glimpse at what my presentation is about, check out my recent post over at DigitalRelevance, 5 Reasons Hummingbird Could Bring Back Copy Editors.

And don’t worry; I’ll soon be posting with more regularity once again. You can look forward to a conference wrap-up post or two, wherein share some of the great information I learned, complain about an overlong, labyrinthine lunch walk too and from an In-N-Out Burger, and get al fanboy about rubbing elbows with some of my editorial heroes.

For those of you who attended my presentation, welcome to Logophilius! Please comment below and tell me what I did right and what I did wrong.


In Search of Awesome: The Four Types of Quality

I am republishing here a blog post I originally published at DigitalRelevance back on February 6. I'm gearing up for my presentation at the American Copy Editor's Society's annual conference at the end of March, and a discussion of quality will certainly play a role in that presentation.

How do you judge quality, both of your own creations and in what you find from others? Do you consciously hold your own work to a higher (or, Cthulhu forbid, lower) standard than the work of others, or do you expect others' work to live up to your own skills?

Here's the post:


Four Ways to Simplify Your Blog Posts, and Why You Should

Though I haven't been posting much, I have been writing. Occasionally.

One of my latest at the DigitalRelevance blog has been getting some great traction. In complete honesty, I hope to garner even more traffic by posting a link to it here.

So go read 4 Ways to Simplify Your Blog Posts, and Why You Should — and leave a comment.


The Logophilius Christmas List

Dear Santa,

You’ve disappointed me in the past, so much so that I considered not sending you my wish list this year. On the other hand, I’ve disappointed myself a few times, too, so I figure I should give you another chance.

This year, my Christmas wishes aren’t solely for me, but for all of the English-loving bibliophiles, logodaedalists, and graphomaniacs out there. Here’s what we would like for Christmas:
  • Over the next year, have your magical elves remove all the unnecessary apostrophes on all the grocers’ signs, storefronts, and tea party placards. By November, you should have enough apostrophes to stand in for everyone at Fox News for all of 2015.
  • Teach the world’s children the difference between i.e. and e.g. and to stop using both.
  • Stop filling young people’s stockings with like and fill them with descriptive verbs. Or at least thoughtful pauses.
  • Stop Justin Bieber. Just, stop him.
  • Let all the world know that trust-fund douchebags with Ivy-league degrees their fathers bought them are entitled, but that movies and books are only titled.
  • Please make all Internet trolls look more like trolls with each new inflammatory comment.
  • Alert English teachers everywhere stop harping on split infinitives and sentence-ending prepositions and focus instead on teaching students how to write well.
  • No more zombies interposed into pre-existing literature of any grade. Pretty please.
  • Let everyone know the joys of Seasonal Work.
  • Put anyone who writes looser instead of loser on the Naughty list until they learn better.
  • And finally, I wish everyone around the world will find in their stocking this Christmas an old-fashioned literally that means “literally” and not “the opposite of literally.”
I know this is a big order, but if anyone can do it, you can.

This is your last chance, Santa. Even if you can deliver on only one of these Christmas wishes,* it will reaffirm my faith in you as a legendary bringer of jollity and neat-o stuff.

But if January comes, and everyone is all like, “This Belieber literally came out of left field and like asked me if I wanted to see that like awesome-looking new movie, e.g., Moby-Dick, The Zombie Whale, so I said yes because I didn’t want to look like a looser, and I don’t own a copy of Seasonal Work.” then I give up.

And it’ll be nothing but Festivus next December.

* Please make it the Justin Bieber one.


The Subversive Copy Editor Encourages Editors to Spend Time Online

Carol Fisher Saller (aka the Subversive Copy Editor), senior manuscript editor at the University of Chicago Press, answerer of questions at the Chicago Manual of Style Online Q&A, editor extraordinaire, and wonderful person overall, recently posted an insightful and interesting article called "What Copy Editors Can Learn Online (Maybe Not What You Think)" that I encourage both writers and editors new and old to read (in lieu of an original posting of my own).

To be brief, the three points she highlights -- the three things you can learn online -- are

  1. How not to copy edit
  2. What the experts are thinking
  3. How to solve almost any problem
Those points can apply to nearly every discipline, but we word people aren't interested in every discipline. (Well, maybe we are, but not right now.)

My favorite part: When writing about looking through blog comments sections, she advises, "Lurk but don't touch."

Both good advice and a sweet turn of phrase.


Claimer and Disclaimer

The opinions expressed on this blog are solely mine. None of the opinions necessarily reflect the beliefs of my friends, family, or employers, past, present, or future. I reserve the right to be wrong.

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