July 2012 Archives

Reuse and Recycle, But Don't Reduce

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Twitter stymied me for a LONG time. I just didn't get it. I mean, I knew that I was limited to 140 characters, but I didn't understand how conversations happened. I'm still not great at it, but I know now, for instance, that I have to check my @connect page regularly. (Otherwise, I find a request to publish my work well over a year after it was made.) I like hashtags and have created a few. I even have a couple of followers who are supposedly famous, though I had never heard of them until I read their profiles, and they've favorited or retweeted me. I admit I find it sorta cool.

I don't tweet more than a few times a week, and the main way I tweet is to take a facebook status or comment I like and slap it on twitter. Like this:

I get SO TIRED of watching out for people who don't know the difference between "weary" and "wary."

I was thinking yesterday about the three entries I posted here during the first week of July, and thought to myself that it might be a good long while before I post much again, 'cause I'm BUSY.

And I was also thinking about how what I posted today on Facebook was too long to post on Twitter.

And then I thought, why not just post it on my blog?

So here it is.

A thought impinged on my consciousness yesterday at 3 p.m. I told myself, "That's not my fault or my problem. I'm not going to worry about it." And I didn't.

A thought impinged on my consciousness this morning at 3 a.m. I told myself, "That's not my fault or my problem. I'm not going to worry about it." And then I did.

Song of an Ex

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I'm not much of a Walt Whitman fan; I prefer Emily Dickinson. But "Song of Myself" is worth knowing in that it's totally rip-off-able. For instance;

Song of an Ex

Do I tell you to fuck yourself?
Very well then: go fuck yourself.
(You are small, you define desuetude.)

Will Edit For Money

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My last entry about the SUNSTONE motherhood issue I edited got so long that I decided to create a separate entry for this announcement:

I like editing, I'm really good at it, and you can hire me to do it for you.

Anyone who gets a degree in creative writing gets a lot of practice in giving and receiving feedback. Giving feedback is one of the main things you do when teaching creative writing. Giving feedback is about as close to editing as you can get, but it's still not quite editing.

Frankly, I like editing better. It's more collaborative and more goal-oriented. You're working with the writer to make a piece not just better, but ready to publish. You have to consider what is best for the piece as an organic unit, what the writer has the inclination and resources to do, what will work for readers, and, if you're dealing with something like a magazine issue, how the piece will work as one part of the whole. It's a fun puzzle to put together.

Whether or not the writers I worked with realized this, I quickly internalized the fact that as an editor, one of your ultimate goals is to make the writer look good. To that end, you offer suggestions and ideas that, if they get incorporated into the piece, the writer gets credit for, even though you came up with them and did the work of shaping them. If you don't like that, don't be an editor, because that's what you get paid for.

I worked with both very inexperienced and extremely accomplished writers on this project. I demanded a lot from them, and I'm sure there were points when a few of them thought, as I have thought with an editor or two I have worked with, "Heavens! Will this woman NEVER be satisfied?" But most of them have told me that they are extremely proud of the final product and gained a lot from working with me. In particular I was happy with this praise from one of the more accomplished writers I worked with: "Thanks for your editing style, so sensitive to my voice and what I am doing in this essay."

So if that account of my approach to editing appeals to you, and if you are actually willing to shell out for editing, email me or leave a comment here. My rates are in line with the going rates in Utah (in other words, cheap compared to either coast), and I am happy to work via email.

Depicting the Goddess

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Check it out: I'm blogging again--not just twice in one month but twice in one week!

My long hiatus from blogging had many causes, including the fact that I was busy. In particular I was busy editing issue 166 of SUNSTONE magazine, aka "the motherhood issue." I am proud and happy to announce that it is SUNSTONE's most popular and best-selling issue. It has far outstripped all other issues in terms of people ordering individual copies, while other people (including my own father) who let their subscription lapse have renewed and asked that their resubscription start with issue 166.

I worked very hard on this project and am very proud of the contents, which include personal essays on topics like miscarriage and post-partum depression as well as scholarly articles on Mormon midrash and Mother in Heaven. A rather curmudgeonly SUNSTONE constituent commented to the office staff that "the essays in it were truly inspiring, instead of just whining as sometimes is the case at the symposia." And someone sent in an anonymous note on three-by-five cards saying, "Artist Galen [Dara], the cover front & back of the March 2012 edition (#166) of SUNSTONE is worth the price of a three-year subscription CONGRATULATIONS!"

I admit I am in love with the art, which I think is not just beautiful but important. Shortly after editor Stephen Carter asked me to do the issue, I started thinking about the cover. I could not execute it myself, but I knew what I wanted, and I knew who I wanted to do it. I have been a fan of Galen Dara's work since long before I learned that her mom was my mom's visiting teacher or that our grandparents were good friends in Tucson back in the day.

Anyway, I knew that I wanted a gender-bending version of Michelangelo's fresco on the Sistine Chapel depicting the creation of Adam. As I wrote in my introduction to the issue,

The Secret of Poultry

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One of my favorite last lines of any poem EVER is from "The Secret of Poetry" by my friend and beloved teacher Jon Anderson. I wrote about him and this poem after his death a few years ago. Please read the poem if not the stuff I wrote about Jon at the beginning of the entry. It's a great poem, and it culminates with the devastating line "The secret of poetry is cruelty."

This is important because for many reasons, one of which is that whenever I read about chicken producers like Tyson, I can't help but think of a really bad line I came up with a decade or two ago: "The secret of poultry is cruelty."

It's not at all funny, because it's true: those chickens suffer cruelly.

But on the other hand, the fact that it's true is EXACTLY why it's funny.

Isn't humor strange. Isn't it just about the weirdest thing we ever invented, except maybe religion or lutefisk.


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This page is an archive of entries from July 2012 listed from newest to oldest.

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