I didn’t think that I needed too much editing done on my poetry book (such arrogance!). With some of the grammatical freedoms us poets (see how I put myself in with all the other great writers?) are granted, I figured that the most important aspect was spelling, so spell check, and some reading from friends/family would suffice. Was it a good choice? In hindsight, not the best, but I’m still satisfied with the result. The problem is that you read what you believe that you wrote, not what is actually on the page, unless you go word by word (which I did), so you still can miss things.
I’m looking for an editor for my science fiction book. I’m a new writer, still learning the rules and trying to find my voice, so it was important to me to find a professional to guide me. I sent out some writing samples to several editors, and what surprised me was that the edits that I got back were very different.
Some came back as if they were just run through the same writing checker that I used, while others had detailed notes on why certain changes were made. Some editors focused on the continually changing tense (which I knew, but was hoping that it was appropriate – nope); others did not mention it at all (was I that good of a writer?).
I received several quotes that mentioned that they enjoyed the story that I had sent and were excited about this project. I hoped that they were not just buttering me up. A few didn’t say anything about it – is that what I want in an editor?
A writer must connect with their editor, to be on the same page (Ha!) so to speak, and is an important relationship in a writer’s life. This will be a hard decision that I can’t take too long to make.
Did I make any spelling errors? Ask my editor…oh, that was me today.
What is funny? Anything that makes you laugh I suspect. Or chuckle, snicker, chortle, giggle, or smile. The measure of real humor is something that makes you laugh when you are alone. Think about it. When was the last time that you laughed out loud all alone? For most of us, it is rare, if non-existent. But, as they say, laughter is the best medicine. One feels contented after a good, long laugh.
I remember a time when I was sitting in the mall with my sister reading a newly purchased Calvin and Hobbes book. I remember it fondly because of the tears running down my cheeks from laughing so hard. Then there was the time that I couldn’t place my drive-thru order because I couldn’t talk through all my laughter (I don’t remember why, though). Then there was the time my mom said something that no one expected her to say…
You can’t feel angry when you are laughing. Or sad, or alone, or helpless…Pain disappears for a while (not counting the pain in your side). You can laugh so hard that you cry, and those tears can wash away any sad thoughts- at least for awhile. Laughing is contagious. Try to hold a straight face while others around you are partaking in the joy.
I like to make people laugh. It makes me happy. Most of my writing these days has a humorous edge to it, even with some of the more serious topics. Some of my ideas were the catalyst for my cartoon, The Miniscules.
People’s sense of humor evolves. What was funny as a child (farts) is not necessarily funny as an adult (notice that I said not necessarily, I bet you know someone who still laughs at them). Children get some of their sense of humor from their parents, and they also get it from peers and pop culture. Schools can be a breeding ground for hurtful humor, but I know that our educators do their best to teach what is acceptable.
Humor is constantly changing. What was thought of as humorous in the past is no longer acceptable. Many comedians went through times (some still do) of pushing boundaries and limits, using race, gender, sexual orientation, status, profanity, and taboo subjects in order to get a rise or laugh out of the crowd. People supported this questionable content, demanding more profane, edgier routines.
I know. I was there. I admit, I laughed. Now I don’t.
One last thought: Has anybody ever laughed at a “Knock, Knock” joke?
I like space stuff. I always have. If I had the chance to go into space, I would. No hesitation. I credit my father for reading science fiction stories to me as a child, and watching Star Trek, Space 1999, and Lost in Space on Saturdays. I remember being fascinated with the Time Life books: The Solar System, Space, The Sun. I don’t know what the first sci-fi book that I read on my own was, but if I had to guess, I think that it was The Illustrated Man by Ray Bradbury.
I experienced a partial solar eclipse once. I think that it was around 84.2% (no, my memory isn’t that good…). My pinhole telescope and welder’s glass provided a very cool image for a pre-teen kid. When the first Viking pictures from Mars were broadcast, I thought for sure we (humanity, not my family) would be living there sooner rather than later.
My family bought my father a telescope for Christmas one year. I think that I championed that idea more to serve my desire to have one. Seeing the craters and mountains of the moon, the rings of Saturn, and the moons of Jupiter for the first time was a dream come true. I think that I had hoped that he would build an observatory in his backyard. No Keck observatory for me…
So, it was odd that when I started to write, I didn’t start writing science fiction. No, not really. My poetry served its purpose, and I continue to be inspired to write it. But my head was always in the stars. If I had a book in my hand, it was more than likely about space. I always got excited when a new sci-fi T.V. series or movie came out.
I’ll quote from the introduction of my next project:
“I decided to write a series of short stories in the style of the early years of science fiction, where scientific knowledge wasn’t king, and imagination drove the author to create…”
I should probably talk about the title of this post. I missed seeing Halley’s comet. I don’t remember why; I’ll just blame it in the clouds because I can’t think of any reason that I didn’t stay up all night to see it. I did see a comet in the ’90s, and now I have an opportunity to see another. So, I’ll set my alarm, get up stupid early, travel away from the light pollution of the city, and gaze upon an object millions of years old.
Last week, the days started to get shorter. Since December, the days had lengthened, almost imperceptibly by a minute or two a day, until before I realized it, we were on the downswing once again. Now, I don’t know how far south one has to go before the days and nights are close to the same length all year round. I suspect once you get to the two tropics (Cancer and Capricorn), it starts to even out. Which one is the northern one? I never remember. I’m sure that it came up on a high school test in my past. It’s not a fact that I have needed – until now. There was a book called Tropic of Capricorn ( or was it The Tropic...?).
We used to have to memorize everything in school: Math facts, times tables, capital cities. There’s nothing wrong with memorization. It’s just not that easy for everybody. Apparently, some things that I memorized, I didn’t. Oh, I’m sure that it’s in there somewhere (in my brain, that is), but sometimes it takes a little longer to find.
I like math. Really. I find it fascinating. I also find it frustrating. Remember those times tables? Sometimes I do. Sometimes I don’t. Quick, what’s 7 X 8? Did you say 56 right away, or did you think “ If 7 X 7 is 49 then 7 more is….umm, well, 49 plus 1 is 50, so I have 6 left over from the 7, so 50 + 6 is 56. Which way is quicker? Which method makes you look smarter? Although, you do need to understand why 7 X 8 = 56, then once you do, it’s better to remember it.
If I were able to recall any math fact instantly, I probably would have become a mathematician or a scientist, or in the worst-case scenario, an accountant (my apologies to all accountants, but that was just too easy). I assume that people like Einstein, Hawking, Turing…OK, one sec. Bear with me…
Tangent Time– I had to Google female mathematicians. That’s sad. Marie Curie was the only female scientist that came to mind, but now I know. Here are a few in no particular order (well, the order is how they were listed on the Smithsonian site, and that was chronological), so here they are as presented on the Smithsonian website: Hypatia, Germain, Lovelace (who wrote the first computer program the mid- 19th century, that’s pretty cool), Kovalevskaya, Noether, Johnson.
Back to the topic, which was…memorizing. I went to university to learn Classical guitar. If you are a musician, you know that memorization is the key. You don’t have time to think what note comes next because once you do, it’s already gone. I was never that confident with my memory. I was always afraid of forgetting, and sometimes I would. Complete blank. Not an ideal situation for a performer. When I do have to play, that thought is always there, “Don’t forget. What if I forget?” Nice set-up for failure, right?
What about spelling? Most of the time, you probably don’t have to think about it. Then you look at what you typed and see all those red squiggly lines. I still forget how to spell certain words. Remember that stupid saying, “i before e except after c, except in the words: their, weigh, receive, receipt, and the 100 other exception to the rule?”
Not everyone is going to excel at memorization or understanding certain topics. We are not all the same. So I try to practice remembering things: names, numbers, what the heck did I come here to buy?
Oh well, seeing that I am here, I might as well pick up some chips and dip.
Do I have enough money? Chips cost $1.18, and dip is $2.39. Well I know 8 + 9 is 17, and 10 + 30 is 40, so 40 + 17 is 57…add that to the $3, and you get $3. 57! Since I have a fiver in my pocket, I’ll be left with $1.43. All good.