Tag Archives: serial commas cause mental distress

John McAllister, editor

For a literary snob, finding an editor is a stressful activity–very stressful, indeed.  The sheer quantity of freelance editors makes it difficult to slog through the pile, even when instantly rejecting those with sloppy grammar, pink websites and/or a penchant for Ar Hermann font.  I wanted someone with a literary voice, and someone who didn’t show anxiety in the presence of adverbs and the passive voice.  I also needed an editor who would follow the rules until it was necessary to break them.

I found one.  His name is John McAllister.

He is well-educated, well-trained and experienced.  He has a nice writing style.  (It’s been suggested I chose him because his writing style is similar to mine.  That’s the point.)

For those of you who need confirmation: he did excellent work, he did it on schedule, and he answered my extra questions for free.  Yes, I’ll be using his services again.

For those of you who are looking for the cloud around the silver lining, he likes serial commas.  (He is, however, able to bite his tongue and allow me my old-fashioned British tendencies.)

My father’s blessing on this enterprise was that I might find my Covici.  I think that more than one book will be required to assess that accurately, but the bigger problem is that I would then have to be a “rarest experience”.  That’s a lot of responsibility, and I think I’ll leave that to the literary deity who deserved it.

rarest experience

It’s All Good

I started writing this blog entry almost a month ago:

It’s warm today; the windows and doors are open, and I’m happily sitting around in a t-shirt and pyjama pants (there are advantages to working from home).  The cat’s sleeping on the chair by the door, and the rabbit is statue-like in the middle of the of the living room floor.  Every once in a while the traffic stops and I can only hear the wind from outside.  It’s really, really nice.

I forget what happened to interrupt the writing, but one thing led to another and my brain is just now able to come up with something that’s potentially interesting to other people.

Actually, I hope it’s been coming up with things that interest other people, but I can’t honestly believe anyone will find American comma usage interesting.  If they do… maybe I should start putting in links to CAMH or really good therapists or something.  I’m still neck-deep in grammar curriculum, but I’ve adjusted to it now and it’s not quite so all-encompassing.

Unfortunately, the weather isn’t co-ordinating with my mental state; my feet are cold and I’m debating reaching over to the chair for my wool shawl.

I’m not closing the door, though.  On principle.

Went to Hot-Sauced Words again two days ago.  Lara Bozabalian launched her new book  (I watched her take it in her hands for the first time, exclaim over the texture of the paper and the image on the cover; jealous, jealous, jealous).  Kevin Fortnum did a performance piece of one of Lara’s poems that was gobsmackingly brilliant – both the poem and the performance.  But, like a natural river through a landscaped park, Nichola Ward did her thing.  This time, the poem that got me was one about soup.  I can’t find it online, but it was something about going for free soup, but the soup isn’t free; it costs everything you have even if you have nothing.  I’m just going to have to bite the bullet and pay for a copy of everything she’s ever written.  I do this every once in a while – try to be financially responsible in regards to literature and music – but it never works out very well.  I did the same thing the first time I heard David Francey’s music, and I now own absolutely everything he’s ever done.  And I’m happy that I can hear his words whenever I feel the need.

Am still sitting back in my writer’s chair and waiting for some characters to finish evolving.  Something clicked, though, last weekend as I was walking through a graveyard with my cousin (not as macabre as it sounds; my father’s family took care of Sarnia’s Our Lady of Mercy cemetery when they moved to Canada, and my cousin’s father was the one who inherited it when my grandfather retired.  For us, it’s nostalgic, not emo)  and I think I know where the characters are going now.  No, they’re not going to die.  I got out of that headspace when I was a teenager.  But death and life can be pretty much the same thing sometimes, and history is always subjective.

My daughter is waiting – impatiently – to use the computer.  It’s Saturday morning, and I have apparently thrown off the planets’ alignment by interrupting the Watching Of Mind-Blowing Cartoons.  Fine.  I spent 8 1/2 months making that mind, but will let her turn it into mush.  I’m a good mother.