Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Gingerich Grammar Mistakes: Bring and Take

from :

Jon Gingerich is an editor, a fiction writer, and writes about politics and media. Click on the title to read the column in its entirety - including all of the twenty common mistakes.

You can learn more about Jon by clicking on his name.

Bring and Take

In order to employ proper usage of “bring” or “take,” the writer must know whether the object is being moved toward or away from the subject. If it is toward, use “bring.” If it is away, use “take.” Your spouse may tell you to “take your clothes to the cleaners.” The owner of the dry cleaners would say “bring your clothes to the cleaners.”

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Gingerich Grammar Mistakes: Different Than and Different From

from :

Jon Gingerich is an editor, a fiction writer, and writes about politics and media. Click on the title to read the column in its entirety - including all of the twenty common mistakes.
You can learn more about Jon by clicking on his name.

Different Than and Different From

This is a tough one. Words like “rather” and “faster” are comparative adjectives, and are used to show comparison with the preposition “than,” (e.g., greater than, less than, faster than, rather than). The adjective “different” is used to draw distinction. So, when “different” is followed by a preposition, it should be “from,” similar to “separate from,” “distinct from,” or “away from.” e.g., My living situation in New York was different from home. There are rare cases where “different than” is appropriate, if “than” operates as a conjunction. e.g., Development is different in New York than in Los Angeles. When in doubt, use “different from.”

Monday, February 27, 2012

Gingerich Grammar Mistakes: Anxious

from :

Jon Gingerich is an editor, a fiction writer, and writes about politics and media. Click on the title to read the column in its entirety - including all of the twenty common mistakes.

You can learn more about Jon by clicking on his name.


Unless you’re frightened of them, you shouldn’t say you’re “anxious to see your friends.” You’re actually “eager,” or "excited." To be “anxious” implies a looming fear, dread or anxiety. It doesn’t mean you’re looking forward to something.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Ideas and Inspiration

I recently read an article - no, l'll admit, read part of an article - about the benefits of distraction for writers. The author did say that we need to minimize distractions *while* we're in the act of writing, but distractions in the rest of our lives can lead to discoveries of new ideas or characters or colors or noticing a smell - the list of potentials is long.

Those "distractions" are what help our stories come alive and keep the reader engaged.

Recently I've been having some of those "distractions." And trying to take notes of them when can. Sometimes the notes don't make sense out of context. One recent example I put out into the world as a twitter post; and when looked at it, the punch was gone. So my challenge as a writer, then, when those glimpses and smells and bits of overheard conversation flow into my awareness - distract me- to put them into a story or poem or scene so they have a new context where they make sense.

Yes, distraction isn't always bad.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Razor's Edge 2/24/12


Today's Razor's Edge is made up of a video of a performance of Miwa Matreyek's work, with optional word prompt if you need or want a little more.

Miwa performed this piece at T:BA11 at The Works. Even though I missed some of The Works performances, this one was high on my list to see and I made it. It is nice to see it again here - and it was incredible to see in person.

For today's prompt, just sit back and watch the video. If you can, make it full screen and let it wash over you, enter into her world. There are a few glimpses where you get to see her behind the scenes work - and I don't think that detracts. Let it take you to another perspective, if you can.

Be the performer.

Be the ground or the earth where her story is rooted.

Be another being in her performance.

Watch, listen, let it in.

If you'd like a start, use one of these prompts - and write! Ten minutes - go.

"But I've lived there and I know that ......

"As I reached toward him I noticed .....


Gingerich Grammar Mistakes: Disinterested and Uninterested

from :

Jon Gingerich is an editor, a fiction writer, and writes about politics and media. Click on the title to read the column in its entirety - including all of the twenty common mistakes.

You can learn more about Jon by clicking on his name.

Disinterested and Uninterested

Contrary to popular usage, these words aren’t synonymous. A “disinterested” person is someone who’s impartial. For example, a hedge fund manager might take interest in a headline regarding stock performance with which he has no money invested. He’s “disinterested,” i.e., he doesn’t seek to gain financially from the transaction he’s witnessed. Judges and referees are supposed to be "disinterested." If the sentence you’re using implies someone who couldn't care less, chances are you’ll want to use “uninterested.”

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Gingerich Grammar Mistakes: Since and Because

from :

You can learn more about Jon by clicking on his name above.

Since and Because

“Since” refers to time. “Because” refers to causation. e.g., Since I quit drinking I’ve married and had two children. e.g., Because I quit drinking I no longer wake up in my own vomit.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Gingerich Grammar Mistakes: Farther and Further

from :

You can learn more about Jon by clicking on his name above.

Farther and Further

The word “farther” implies a measurable distance. “Further” should be reserved for abstract or hypothetical lengths. e.g., I threw the ball ten feet farther than Bill. e.g., The executive climbed further up the ladder of success.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Gingerich Grammar Mistakes: Fewer and Less

from :

You can learn more about Jon by clicking on his name above.

Fewer and Less

“Less” is reserved for hypothetical quantities. “Few” and “fewer” are for things you can quantify. e.g., The firm has fewer than ten employees. e.g., The firm is less successful now that we have only ten employees.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Liquid Ideas

Today I swam at least a mile. I didn't count how many laps I did, but I know my average and I know how long I was in the pool (60 minutes) and I know that I stopped twice - once for stretching and once for stretching plus lunges. So it was around a mile.

And two things about today's swim are important. One is that I never hit that wall where I think I should stop, where my shoulders ache a little and my breathing is at a point where I question the need to stop, where I feel tired and like I can't do one more lap. I will say that I've learned the difference between that wall and the place where I really need to stop; I do know the difference. Today I stopped because I was hungry and needed to shower and do some writing before I went to work. And it was enough.

photograph of artwrok by Serena Barton
The second thing about today's swim that's important is that I realized that I really don't want a waterproof iPod or other mp3 player. I've considered it. But I've doing some of my energy/healing protocols while I swim - it makes for a nice and whole body integration. Those thoughts provide a nice rhythm and keep flow as I swim. Then just as important is that I've been generating a lot of ideas while I swim. Not so much ideas for stories - though I have picked up a couple of characters - but ideas in terms of publication, or writing workshops, for zines or anthologies.

When I'm swimming, I'm free of judgments, overall. The thoughts flow with the movement of my arms and my legs. The ideas meander into my brain and I turn them over and examine them and think, hm, maybe.

In the water I'm not checking my email, taking phone calls, getting text messages. I can't look up the significance of a phrase or a location or whatever path my web search leads me down. In the water my body is busy, gliding through the water, counting the strokes between breaths, feeling the shift in temperature as I pass the cold water inlet and later the heater, follow the line of tiles on the bottom of the pool, notice the ladder on my left which means I have one more stroke to the end of the pool.

In the water my thoughts soften and slow. And ideas can enter. Free of the technology, that energy used to monitor and respond and process, my mind can wander and dream and create new ideas. I'm not sure why more seems possible in the water while I'm swimming and I'm not questioning the process.


Nice combination.

Gingerich Grammar Mistakes: Whether and If

from :

You can learn more about Jon by clicking on his name above.

Whether and If

Many writers seem to assume that “whether” is interchangeable with “if." It isn’t. “Whether” expresses a condition where there are two or more alternatives. “If” expresses a condition where there are no alternatives. e.g., I don’t know whether I’ll get drunk tonight. e.g., I can get drunk tonight if I have money for booze.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Music as Inspiration and Healer

From time to time I write something about music which inspires me - in that moment, over time, while I write or make art. If you've been following my writing for long you've seen Philip Glass appear more than once; a favorite of mine for many years and most circumstances. And I've been thinking about writing a short piece about music - but this is not that.

This is the first full song played on the radio this morning as I was waking up. There was the end of the song before it - which I don't recall at all: incomplete and the song which pulled me from sleep.

But this one. Perfect for today. Perfect for this moment. It resonates for me, in this period of transition and healing, at many levels, not only for myself, but friends, as well. Self healing, friends with physical condition flare-ups or new levels to adapt to, a friend caring for a dying parent, friends with difficult work situations - and more.

The song is "Come Healing" by Leonard Cohen, from his new album. Come healing, for each of us in the way appropriate and desired - yes.

It was a nice way to wake up.

This is listed as an "unofficial" music video. And if you'd like to see the lyrics, go to the YouTube link - they're all there.

... now, back to finishing typing up the two written assignments due today (one in Inga's Decerebralization online writing class and one in Ariel's Lit Star Training class), which will be followed by brunch with a friend, then doing a new free write for Inga and a quick write for Ariel and then - tada - work! ...

I hope you enjoy the song and that it touches each of you in some way.


Saturday, February 18, 2012

Sometimes - Maybe - Not Knowing Is Better

This time of transition is still mysterious. It feels right and it feels good - and unknown. Which is not to say that being in a period of transition to change is unfamiliar; no, I've been through changes and their transition period before.

The unknown is what is waiting on the other side.

This is not a leap into complete nothingness while chanting about building my wings on the way down. There were decisions made (what a passive beginning to this sentence - yes, I noticed) and some things are continuing forward (okay, so the whole sentence came out as passive).

There are opportunities in the time ahead.

And I'm exploring.

Among my explorations of what I want are completion of my Masters degree. I ask myself what type of degree I want and I think I know - but I'm exploring. There are questions of responsibility and time; which partially equate to money. Time and money - not unfamiliar territory to consider as I make a move forward.

So I've found something I'd like to do - I think. And am looking around at the options. With the considerations
- time
- money
- and location.
It is not realistic for me to move somewhere for a couple of years to complete a degree. And that's okay - I'm not grieving that, because I know, if it was really what I wanted and I had to go somewhere, I would make it happen. But, no, I don't need to go somewhere for what I want. I just need to find the thing that I want and put the pieces into place (oh, if it were just that easy - but I'm not wandering down that path of grief and longing - no).

I have found a couple of options close to home. There are certainly distance degree options - but those generally don't fit with the money considerations. I really don't want to get, along with my degree, $35,000 of debt. See, the distance programs I'm looking into don't generally offer much in the way of tuition reduction opportunities - generally they come with loans. But I'm wandering again - I want a degree program close to home in the subject I want and which offers some graduate tuition assistance programs.

I found one which seems to meet what I want in terms of curriculum and approach. And it's a reasonable and workable distance from home. And it does have tuition assistance options. It looks - through their written material - like a pretty good fit. I'd want to follow up and meet with them, talk about the curriculum more. I found the resources to do that.

And I found more information. Which makes my heart sink a little. What seemed like the near perfect program now seems - well - daunting in terms of application. No, it seems daunting in terms of acceptance rate.

Here is where I pause and wonder if moving forward is a good idea:

How many students are admitted each year?
The MFA Program received over 370 applications this year (2012) for our six seats in Fiction, three-to-four seats in Creative Nonfiction and three-to-four seats in Poetry.

What is your acceptance rate?
Our acceptance rate is under 4%.

And here is where I'm excited:

What is the teacher/student ratio?
The teacher student ratio is approximately 1:3. Professors are devoted to students’ work and accessible for out of class attention and guidance.

... a student takes a 4-credit workshop in their genre (poetry or prose), a 4-credit literature or craft course, and 4 credit hours of thesis advising and/or teaching-practicum credits...

I was excited to find this option and will continue to explore.

And I wonder, can I be one of the 4%? Someone has to be, right? And I have nearly 11 months to prepare my application, since next fall's applications were due January 6th.

I'm still exploring and this looks like a good option on all levels. And, while I wondered what the acceptance rate was - I now kind of wish I didn't know. It feels like swimming against the current. Even if I decide to not go with this option or drop the idea entirely and decide to use my time in another way, at least I know it is possible. If I could be one of the 4%.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Razor's Edge 2/17/12

Last night I went to a play. It was a Shakespeare adaptation and it was the interpreted performance of the play at the theater where I coordinate interpreters. So - triple reasons to go. It also turned into a date night with a bit of searching to find a place open late night in Portland which had a decent menu and not just a limited bar menu full of deep-fried foods inside of wheat with only a mere nod to vegetables.

But I digress. As I tend to do.

So today's Razor's Edge came out of my excursion out last night. One of the ushers at the play is a former student and I promise I won't get sidetracked into that whole conversation. Except to say that we did talk briefly during intermission and, among the other things she is doing, she is writing more. And she told me about something a writing friend of hers said to her, which she borrowed, and which I will adapt and borrow for myself.

Today's prompt set is from that conversation. Thank you.

The first thing I want you to do today is to get a mental image of your muse. Your muse need not be in human form; does not need to be a sentient being. Your muse can be whatever inspires you. It may be a "muse of the day" or a "muse of the project" - or it may be your creative muse for all eternity or the mother of all muses, which springs forth the specific muses for given projects.

Then I want you to draw or sculpt or build a representation of your muse. If you have a camera handy, take a photograph and save it or post it somewhere prominent.

Think of a piece of music which your muse wants to hear right now and find it. If you have internet connection and a computer or web surfing device, you can probably find it online somewhere. Listen to it with the representation of your muse.

Now, write a letter to your muse. Write for 5 - 10 minutes. If you and your muse feel so inspired, turn this into a written conversation between the two of you. And continue writing.

Below are a picture of my Muse For A Day and a YouTube video of the song we wanted to hear. I'd love to see some of your representations if you want to share them.

Go. Visualize, create, photograph, listen. Write.

My Muse of the Day 

Bridges and Balloons by Joanna Newsom


Gingerich Grammar Mistakes: May and Might

from :

Jon Gingerich is an editor, a fiction writer, and writes about politics and media. Click on the title to read the column in its entirety - including all of the twenty common mistakes.

You can learn more about Jon by clicking on his name.

May and Might

“May” implies a possibility. “Might” implies far more uncertainty. “You may get drunk if you have two shots in ten minutes” implies a real possibility of drunkenness. “You might get a ticket if you operate a tug boat while drunk” implies a possibility that is far more remote. Someone who says “I may have more wine” could mean he/she doesn't want more wine right now, or that he/she “might” not want any at all. Given the speaker’s indecision on the matter, “might” would be correct.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Gingerich Grammar Mistakes: Nor

from :

Jon Gingerich is an editor, a fiction writer, and writes about politics and media. Click on the title to read the column in its entirety - including all of the twenty common mistakes.

You can learn more about Jon by clicking on his name.


“Nor” expresses a negative condition. It literally means "and not." You’re obligated to use the “nor” form if your sentence expresses a negative and follows it with another negative condition. “Neither the men nor the women were drunk” is a correct sentence because “nor” expresses that the women held the same negative condition as the men. The old rule is that “nor” typically follows “neither,” and “or” follows “either.” However, if neither “either” nor “neither” is used in a sentence, you should use “nor” to express a second negative, as long as the second negative is a verb. If the second negative is a noun, adjective, or adverb, you would use “or,” because the initial negative transfers to all conditions. e.g., He won’t eat broccoli or asparagus. The negative condition expressing the first noun (broccoli) is also used for the second (asparagus).

Being Open and Noticing

There are times of energy shift, more than most of us notice, I believe.

And there are times of energy shift when something is happening and we feel it, though we aren't sure what is happening.

Then there are times that the energy shifts and we know it. In the cells of our bones and our organs and processes, we feel the movements and the winds and we go with it. Or maybe resist.

So it is right now - a time of transition. As we walk toward spring and return to light. As we emerge from darkness and seeds start to sprout.

Recently I've been working on metabolizing anger and releasing it. Sometimes using Tonglen to move it through so it doesn't get stuck and come out in other ways. Sometimes using energy protocols with hand mudras - breathing, visualization. All to move forward and heal and walk my true path.

An added bonus to this work is being open. These last couple of weeks I have gathered pieces of conversations, from Starbucks and Sushi Hana and Poppa's Haven and outside the library while driving to work listening to an interview of an author on NPR. Bits of talk and observations and ideas coming to me and I send myself an email to my special folder where the ideas are saved. I now have over 200 of these bits of collected inspirations.

Approaching spring.

Thinking about my future.

Looking into options of what I want to do next.

And along come story ideas. Poetry ideas. A title. A character. A line.

Energy. Open. Light.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Gingerich Grammar Mistakes: Envy and Jealousy

from :

Jon Gingerich is an editor, a fiction writer, and writes about politics and media. Click on the title to read the column in its entirety - including all of the twenty common mistakes.

You can learn more about Jon by clicking on his name.

Envy and Jealousy

The word “envy” implies a longing for someone else’s good fortunes. “Jealousy” is far more nefarious. It’s a fear of rivalry, or a suspicion that someone might want what’s yours. Jealousy is also used more often in sexual situations. “Envy” is when you covet your friend’s good looks. “Jealousy” is what happens when your significant other swoons in the presence of your good-looking friend.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Gingerich Grammar Mistakes: Continual and Continuous

from :

Jon Gingerich is an editor, a fiction writer, and writes about politics and media. Click on the title to read the column in its entirety - including all of the twenty common mistakes.

You can learn more about Jon by clicking on his name.

Continual and Continuous

They’re similar, but there’s a difference. “Continual” means something that's always occurring, with obvious lapses in time. “Continuous” means something continues without any stops or gaps in between. e.g., The continual music made it the worst night of studying ever. e.g., Her continuous talking drove him crazy.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Gingerich Grammar Mistakes: Moot

from :

Jon Gingerich is an editor, a fiction writer, and writes about politics and media. Click on the title to read the column in its entirety - including all of the twenty common mistakes.

You can learn more about Jon by clicking on his name.


Contrary to common misuse, “moot” doesn’t imply something is superfluous. It means a subject is disputable or open to discussion. e.g., The idea that commercial zoning should be allowed in the residential neighborhood was a moot point for the council.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Upcoming Writerly Things To Do

I'm noticing many local creative and writing opportunities coming soon. The following are just a few. This is not an exclusive list - but a list of events which have caught my attention. I could tell you why this one or not that one - but I won't.

A few upcoming things you may like if you're local at the time they're happening.

Most of them, I won't be able to make due to work or theatrical commitments. But these are worth a mention and attendance if you can!


"Poetry Reading with a band of stars!"
from Write In Portland

Join Annie Bloom's Presents for a poetry reading featuring:
*Ursula Le Guin, Molly Gloss, Noel Handlon, Bette Husted, Barbara Drake, Kari Easton and Caroline Le Guin

Annie Bloom's Books! 7pm on Thursday, February 16th.
7834 SW Capitol Highway, Portland, OR (503) 246-0053

Summer in Words 2012
from Jessica Page Morrell at  The Writing Life Too

Folks, I'm finalizing (drum roll) the schedule for the 5th annual  Summer in Words 2012, but just wanted to let you know that the funny, smart, amazing and bestselling author Chelsea Cain will be our Keynote speaker. More to come as things shake down. Registration will open in March.

Dates are June 15-17.

Your workshop time will be spent at the Hallmark Inn & Resort, overlooking Haystack Rock and the wide, wide Pacific. You can book your room now at a reduced rate. Nearby in Cannon Beach you'll find great places to explore and wide beaches to stroll along.

This year's theme: Refinement, Resonance, & Resolve

Immerse yourself in a focused, intensive and exhilarating writing venture this summer. Well, it will be almost summer. Join us and experience the power of words.  Summer in Words will improve your writing and outlook. Really.  

Click on over to the The Writing Life Too for more information and how to contact Jessica to get more information as it becomes available.

Write Around Portland offers a unique generative workshop called Prompt designed for writers and aspiring writers in the greater Portland area who want to participate in a Write Around workshop and support the communities we traditionally serve who might not otherwise have access to writing and community.

Based on the acclaimed Write Around Portland model, this dynamic workshop incorporates many of our favorite writing exercises designed to inspire the writing life, including freewriting; work with writing elements; strength-building feedback and early-draft revision. The workshop caps off with a community broadside.

2012 Sessions:
Prompt #1: Ten Mondays, February 27-April 30, 6:30-8:30pm - Spaces filling fast!
Prompt #2: Ten Thursdays, April 26- June 28, 6:30-8:30pm
(...three more sessions on the website)

Location: Powell’s City of Books
1005 W. Burnside, downtown Portland

Go to the Write Around Portland (prompt) webpage for other dates and more information.

3rd Thursday & Last Sunday
Write Around Portland 
Writing Workshops at HOTLIPS Pizza
2211 SE Hawthorne Blvd, Portland, OR

Join Write Around Portland and HOTLIPS Pizza to experience the transformative power of writing in community. These workshops are perfect for the new and seasoned writer. Start your day with pastries provided by Grand Central Baking, coffee, tea and the written word. Attend one, attend them all.

Thursday Workshops, 9am - 11am:
2012: Feb 16, Mar 16, April 19, May 17, (no Thurs workshop in June), July 19, Aug 16, Sept 20, Oct 18, Nov 15, Dec 20

Sunday Workshops, 10am - Noon:
2012: Feb 26, Mar 26, April 29, June 24, July 29, Aug 26, Sept 30, Oct 28 (No Sunday workshops in May, Nov or Dec.)

More information on the Workshops and Events page at Write Around Portland.


125 NW 5th Street, Portland OR

Wednesday 7 March 2012 7:00 pm

In conjunction with March Music Moderne, SongStory is a night of stories and essays about music.

In the lineup:

LIDIA YUKNAVITCH, whose memoir The Chronology of Water is a finalist for the Oregon Book Award,

KEVIN SAMPSELL, publisher of Future Tense Books and author of, among other things, A Common Pornography and Creamy Bullets,

COURTENAY HAMEISTER, essayist, filmmaker and head writer / host of Live Wire Radio,

VANESSA VESELKA, writer and musician, best known in literary circles for her novel Zazen,

BRAD ROSEN, writer and drummer recently published in The Frozen Moment,

GIGI LITTLE, whose work has appeared in Portland Noir, The Pacific Northwest Reader and lit magazines.

With special guest CYMBALMAN
MARCH MUSIC MODERNE is a month-long Portland music festival. Check out the myriad musical events at:

Friday, February 10, 2012

Razor's Edge Friday prompt

Tonight I interpreted the Vagina Monologues. In a tribute to Eve Ensler, V-Day, and all of the women who've participated in this event around the world for 15 years, and for all of the women and girls whose lives are represented in these stories, and our allies - today's prompts are from the vagina interviews.
Let the questions lead you where they will. If you don't have a vagina, maybe you can ask a friend who does have one. Or ask a female character in your story or novel. If you have a vagina, ask yourself. Or ask a character. Or your daughter mother cousin grandmother neighbor.

See where these stories lead You.

- if your vagina got dressed up, what would it wear?
- if your vagina could talk, what would it say?
- what does your vagina smell like?
- what does your vagina like to be called?
- why is your vagina special?


Gingerich Grammar Mistakes: Lay and Lie

from :

Jon Gingerich is an editor, a fiction writer, and writes about politics and media. Click on the title to read the column in its entirety - including all of the twenty common mistakes.

You can learn more about Jon by clicking on his name.

Lay and Lie

This is the crown jewel of all grammatical errors. “Lay” is a transitive verb. It requires a direct subject and one or more objects. Its present tense is “lay” (e.g., I lay the pencil on the table) and its past tense is “laid” (e.g., Yesterday I laid the pencil on the table). “Lie” is an intransitive verb. It needs no object. Its present tense is “lie” (e.g., The Andes mountains lie between Chile and Argentina) and its past tense is “lay” (e.g., The man lay waiting for an ambulance). The most common mistake occurs when the writer uses the past tense of the transitive “lay” (e.g., I laid on the bed) when he/she actually means the intransitive past tense of “lie" (e.g., I lay on the bed).

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Stamina and Repetition

pen and ink drawing by Dot.
Swimming and writing both improve with practice and repetition.

Stamina. To keep going. To do more. To do it better.

Yesterday in the pool I noticed that the point where I have to debate whether to stop or work through it didn't happen. Not that it wouldn't have happened - but it didn't happen in the time that I had to swim. When I first returned to regular swimming, it happened at five to seven minutes. Then it moved to ten minutes - pretty rapidly, too. Then fifteen and, most recently, twenty minutes.

Like with writing. Do I keep writing the short stories? Work on more revision of the memoir? Or do I believe the little voice which says it's crap and to stop and why bother? Where's the money? Why keep doing it?

In the pool : at that point my arms ache - usually the shoulders feel tired and week, usually my breathing is slightly more labored and shallow and I may or may not have a slight back or neck ache. But I learned in the past that I reach this point before (probably) the endorphins kick in where I feel like I have to stop; like it's too much and I can't go any further.

With writing: it feels pointless and like my stories are no good. I may tell myself that I don't have the time to write and revise and send them out and find new places to submit. I haven't found the pattern in writing, yet, like I have in swimming. I don't yet know what it is that kicks in when I feel like giving up.

But maybe I'm about to find out.

Like yesterday. I just kept swimming. No slow down. No kick board laps. No shallow or difficulty breathing, no shoulder discomfort, no sense of stopping.

Yesterday I only stopped swimming because I needed enough time to shower and get to an appointment.

Yesterday I gave feedback in both of the writing workshops. I haven't started my two assignments but I have completed the quick write and the free write.

Today I know that my stamina is increasing and that I'm doing what I need to do.

And I'm not stopping for doubts, be it swimming or writing. In swimming, I know when I really need to stop - my lungs tell me. In writing, well, I'm not stopping - if this particular story goes nowhere, the next one will.

One stroke at a time: of my arms to propel me forward, of the pen to make the next letter, of the keyboard to put it into print.


Gingerich Grammar Mistakes: Which and That

from :

Jon Gingerich is an editor, a fiction writer, and writes about politics and media. Click on the title to read the column in its entirety - including all of the twenty common mistakes.

You can learn more about Jon by clicking on his name.

Which and That

This is one of the most common mistakes out there, and understandably so. “That” is a restrictive pronoun. It’s vital to the noun to which it’s referring. e.g., I don’t trust fruits and vegetables that aren’t organic. Here, I’m referring to all non-organic fruits or vegetables. In other words, I only trust fruits and vegetables that are organic. “Which” introduces a relative clause. It allows qualifiers that may not be essential. e.g., I recommend you eat only organic fruits and vegetables, which are available in area grocery stores. In this case, you don’t have to go to a specific grocery store to obtain organic fruits and vegetables. “Which” qualifies, “that” restricts. “Which” is more ambiguous however, and by virtue of its meaning is flexible enough to be used in many restrictive clauses. e.g., The house, which is burning, is mine. e.g., The house that is burning is mine.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Gingerich Grammar Mistakes: Who and Whom

from :

You can learn more about Jon by clicking on his name.

Who and Whom
This one opens a big can of worms. “Who” is a subjective — or nominative — pronoun, along with "he," "she," "it," "we," and "they." It’s used when the pronoun acts as the subject of a clause. “Whom” is an objective pronoun, along with "him," "her," "it", "us," and "them." It’s used when the pronoun acts as the object of a clause. Using “who” or “whom” depends on whether you’re referring to the subject or object of a sentence. When in doubt, substitute “who” with the subjective pronouns “he” or “she,” e.g., Who loves you? cf., He loves me. Similarly, you can also substitute “whom” with the objective pronouns “him” or “her.” e.g., I consulted an attorney whom I met in New York. cf., I consulted him.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

I Feel A Change Coming

picture from
I'll tell you right up front that, no, I can't tell you anything more than that.

I can't tell you what "the change" is. No, it's not the female change - no.

But - I feel it.

It is related to writing, I think. Or other things. Well, I know for sure some other things - at least one other thing: I'm not teaching interpreting next term. Too much on my schedule and I can't do it next term. That's a big change. I have a lot of theater and writing commitments (including another two week writing intensive).

But today. In the air. No, correction, in my body, in my cells. And in the the air.

An energy shift. Something.

Writing. Identity.


Monday, February 6, 2012

Thanks, Inga

Inga's assignment for us week before last was to go to the library, pick a section of books on a topic we're not interested in, turn around a few times and run up and down the aisle(s) a few times then randomly pick a book. Read it. Write and submit a book report.

I did.

I struggled to come up with a topic I had no interest in. Really. A few things came to mind but then I wandered into reasons I was a little excited or curious to read something about the thing (guns, hunting, football, and more). Like for my interpreting work - especially video relay where the content can be anything and everything and it is. And the topic of guns has come up a few times in personal situations, so, while I'm not interested personally, they appear as a topic in my work and a couple times in my stories and then these other situations. So guns was off the list. Same for hunting. I don't care. Have never hunted and never will. For those who hunt to feed themselves and their family, friends - I get it. I'm not criticizing - it's just not my thing.

Then I found something I really don't  care about and haven't yet encountered in my work: ship building. It started out as "nautical" - but that includes kayaking, which I like (haven't done in a while, but want to return to the water -  maybe this coming spring or summer), and things like Kon Tiki, which I enjoyed when I was a teen (I was considering going into marine biology). But when I saw ship building and maintenance - that was it.

I wanted to challenge myself on this assignment. Pick something I really wouldn't read about at all without the assignment.
picture from Maritime Quest: 1907 replicas

So I did. And the book I selected was about reconstructing the Santa Maria, Nina, Pinta - yes. Christopher Columbus' ships. And it talked about the journey and there were to scale instructions for replicas which were built for the 400th anniversary of "the discovery" and the 500th anniversary of "the discovery" and another set. I read it. Introduction and preface and everything and I looked at the drawings. And I wrote my book report and even managed to wonder about a couple of things from reading (like - what was their life like on those ships, on the ocean, in that hull - no wonder they became concerned and wanted to go back). And I learned a few things and was in awe of how those boats could make the voyage. Even with the controversy about "discovery" and what came after.

An added bonus was that I discovered that my library card had been deactivated. Not because I don't support libraries and I don't love books. No. Because it had been so long since I'd checked out a book that it was deactivated. See, I've discovered that it's actually cheaper for me to buy my books rather than get them from the library and then pay fines. Sometimes that is really, actually, true. But now I have an active library card again and there are other things I can do at the library since I have a stack (or two) of not yet read books at home.

Thank you, Inga. And for the raspberry truffle bar prize.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

This Is Me Not Complaining

Really. I'm not complaining. There might be a little whining. Maybe.
I'm a little busy. Overly busy at the moment. And it's okay. I have enough work and that's really good.

And I did manage to write both stories due today. One was a rewrite of a story from Ariel's two week intensive - but it fit. It really did; I didn't have to twist it in pretzel fashion - there was only one element not already present in the story and that was a particular word which had to be included. And it's a story I wanted to revise to send out into the world. So I revised, strengthened it (I hope), added the word, and submitted it online. And it will go somewhere though I don't know where, yet. It has a particular type of audience needs, I think, and wouldn't be appropriate for some of the places I've submitted. Not that it's an inappropriate story. The second story was totally new and, not so much a story as a reportage of an outing we had to do for Inga's online class. For that one, my plan didn't go as planned but I had the time in my schedule and the image and noticing gathering in my mind for that time, so I went ahead and did it - but just at a different location than I intended. So - both done and both submitted.

And I did go to the Vagina Monologues rehearsal for six hours on Saturday as planned. No, it was five hours, that's right. It was scheduled to be six but they changed the schedule to five and we didn't know until we showed up. At least the eliminated hour was at the end of the day. I've been working on that script. I think Ali and I will have a good time and do a good job; though I know Jayodin, who has done it the past few years, is the Vagina Monologues Interpreting Master so I'm not trying to emulate her - no. I will do things my way and it will be fine. And next year, Jayodin can have it back; by then her now week old baby will be a year old, so I think she'll be ready to jump back into the beauty of interpreting the Vagina Monologues. I like working with Ali and the stories we're doing together worked really well. She's going again tomorrow night and I'm going again on Tuesday. And Friday is our night.

Then I have my regular interpreting work. "Regular" is not really the word for it and especially not right now. Even my semi-regular videorelay work schedule is different right now due to reasons at the center and things not related to the center - like the interpreting Vagina Monologues, some writing.

And teaching work.

And being in two overlapping writing workshops. Which are great and they're keeping me writing.

And getting in enough sleep. And swimming and walking. Reading other writers' work and giving feedback. Reading student journals and emails and text messages and phone meetings with students in addition to multiple recitations with the students whose schedules don't match well.

Busy. Good. Busy.

Not whining.