howdoienglish











{September 20, 2011}   Ready Player One

Ready Player One – Ernest Cline

As mentioned in my previous post, Ernest Cline is the genius behind the movie Fanboys, a movie that quickly became a cult classic. Cline has long been one of the basement-dwelling, light-fearing group known as nerds, and this book, Cline’s first novel, pulls together what feels like every 80s geek reference imaginable. I envision Cline at his super computer, laughing like a maniac every few paragraphs as he embeds some other sneaky piece of trivia.

Ready Player One takes place in a world that sometimes feels not far removed from our own. The recession, the one we feel today, has turned into The Great Recession. Cars are abandoned because no one can afford the price of fuel. Trailer parks, instead of sprawling over acres of land, are built upward, with one RV parked on top of another. Hardly anyone conducts their affairs in the real world; instead, nearly all humanity spends their time in the OASIS (the Ontologically Anthropocentric Sensory Immersive Simulation), the world’s biggest MMO ever. With hundreds of thousands of virtual worlds to explore, who would want to spend any time at all in the sad, bleak reality?

When the creator of the OASIS dies, a massive hunt begins to find the Easter Egg that Halliday, the creator, hid somewhere in the OASIS. Whoever finds the egg first becomes heir to Halliday’s entire fortune. The egg is hidden behind fiendishly hard clues and three gates, requiring that the egg hunter know obscure 80s TV shows, movies, music, and video games in order to decipher the riddles and pass through each gate. This is where all of the nerdiness comes in. Wade Watts, our hero for the story and an avowed egg hunter (or “gunter”), knows almost everything there is to know about the 1980s and Halliday’s favorite games and shows. Games like Adventure, Joust, Pac-Man, shows like Family Ties, G.I. Joe. It’s a veritable smorgasbord of anything and everything you remember from the 80s.

Watts is an endearing narrator, and the world of the OASIS vivid and imaginative. Reading this made me want an immersive MMO like OASIS to play and run around in. (I guess I’ll just have to deal with World of Warcraft for now.) I will admit, though, that I had a difficult time getting into the book in the beginning. It didn’t manage to capture my attention for very long in the first thirty or so pages, and I picked it up and put it down several times because I made the commitment to sit down and actually stay there. Once I did that, I couldn’t put it down. The writing style is reminiscent of a diary writer who feels the need to record almost every detail of a day, but once you get into it, you don’t notice it as much. The story is compelling and not predictable. Though I definitely didn’t catch every reference or know every game, I knew enough to thoroughly enjoy the story.

And if all that isn’t enough, the audio book is apparently read by Wil Wheaton. It is SO on my holds list at the library, even though I’ve already read it.

My recommendation: if you’re a geeky person, pick up the book sometime soon and give it a read. It’s a fun book, and I’ll bet you anything it’s made into a movie in a few years.

Crown Publishers, August 2011, hardcover, 374 pages. Buy the book here.

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{September 2, 2011}   Quick update

If you’re an ardent follower of this blog, you may have noticed that I (just now, about fifteen seconds ago) updated the Books page. It now reflects the truth: I won’t be reviewing L. A. Mental in August and there are a few books that will come between now and that book. The reason for it is this: L. A. Mental isn’t set to publish until October, so I’d rather review it at the end of September, beginning of October, to coincide with all the other nice publicity things for the book. In the interim, I have Ready Player One, recently published late last month, and Remembering the Music, Forgetting the Words, a memoir about Alzheimer’s, a subject close to my heart, that will drop early next week.

I’m particularly excited for Ready Player One because of two things: 1- it’s going to be a total nerd book and 2- it’s written by the same guy who did Fanboys. Yep, that awesome movie about those Star Wars fans who road trip to sneak into Skywalker Ranch to steal Episode I before it’s released publicly. Great movie. Have I mentioned I’m a nerd? Good. So this book should be pretty fun. Early reviews said that references to all things geeky are all over the place in there, so I can’t wait.

The change in review line-up also happened because while cruising the library today, I found Ready Player One on the Express shelf. (That’s this place where, in my library, you can check out a book for three weeks but can’t renew it.) Turned out to be handy for me, because I was hold 6 of 11 on the non-Express copy of the book. So now I have it, sitting right here next to me, and I’ll be able to get a review out faster than I thought. Hurray! Keep your eyes open.



The Story of Edgar Sawtelle – David Wroblewski

David Wroblewski carried around this story for years. A computer science major, he went on to earn an MFA in creative writing from the Warren Wilson MFA Program for Writers so that he could tell this story in the way it deserved to be told. Originally from Wisconsin, he now makes his home in Colorado. Edgar Sawtelle is his debut novel and has been awarded with such distinctions as the 2008 Colorado Book Award and an Oprah Book Club pick while he himself was an Indie Choice Best Author Discovery.

Edgar Sawtelle takes place in rural Wisconsin near and in the Chequamegon National Forest. Edgar Sawtelle is born mute, learning to speak in a sign language that is half his own invention. He lives a wonderful life with his mother and father, helping raise and train a fictional breed of dog that respond as well to his signing as to verbal commands, until his uncle comes to live with them and his father suffers a tragic accident. Edgar is convinced that his uncle had something to do with it, but his plan to prove it backfires and Edgar flees to the Chequamegon, followed by three Sawtelle dogs. Here he learns not only how to survive but what makes a Sawtelle dog so special.

My deepest regret after finishing this book is not having read it sooner. I’d not heard of it before the Publishing Institute in July (where I was not only fortunate enough to hear about the book, I was able to attend an author visit at the Tattered Cover on 16th Street), so I think it’s one of those quietly famous books (though having a blurb from Stephen King on the back of your book certainly can’t hurt things). However, I do believe that books come to us at particular moments in our lives, even if their meaning to us waits for another moment. Reading Edgar Sawtelle even one year ago, though it still would have been powerful, wouldn’t have had the same impact as now.

Though the book moves around the Sawtelle dogs, the heart of the story is so much more. The dogs are an integral part of those workings, and through his interactions with them does Edgar transform from boy to man. In one sense, it’s a coming of age story, seen, filtered, and augmented by the dogs’ visions of events. Each dog becomes a character in its own right, capturing and holding the reader’s attention and affection. (My favorite is Essay, because she reminds me of one of the dogs in my life, though I have a deep fondness for all of them. Who’s yours?)

Wroblewski deftly weaves his narration, casting a spell that only grows stronger with each page turned. I found myself thinking that the world when I was required to put the book down felt somewhat less vibrant than the one in my hands. I felt that I knew all of the characters, I could feel and understand their motivations, and I envied them their dogs. I could see, with crystal clarity, each setting in the book. I could hear voices (in the good way) and feel emotions. Like Shine,  this book grabs you. But it’s more in the way you can’t help but listen to a supremely gifted storyteller, which is, after all, what Wroblewski has shown himself to be.

Readers who are familiar with Shakespeare’s Hamlet will find themselves drawing parallels between characters and events. It is not and should not be taken for a modern retelling of the story. To do that would detract value from Edgar Sawtelle, for there is more to the story than revenge. So, dear reader, you may keep Hamlet and his story in the back of your mind, but do not impose anything from it onto Edgar. Allow him to tell his own story. Anyway, it’s not a direct match, so you will be disappointed if you try. If you haven’t read Hamlet, don’t worry. You’ll be in fine shape.

My recommendation: drop your current reading list and put this book at the top. Buy it.

 

Ecco Books, Sept. 2008, hardcover, 566 pages. Buy the book here.



{August 22, 2011}   “Shine” – Lauren Myracle

This post marks the first of my reviews. Over in the Books page, there’s a short list of the books I’m set to cover in the next few days. I am open to suggestions for anything to review; my spectrum of genres is going to be pretty wide since my list of books includes something from almost everywhere. I’ll keep the Books page updated with what’s coming next, but I’m always willing to derail my train for a good read. Books reviewed will be from a variety of years, some from this year, some not yet published (though I only have two), and a lot from years past. I’ve been a little lax with my reading of late.

Here’s the way this will work for now. I’ll introduce you to the book and the author, give you my take on it, my review, and end with a recommendation. I don’t do ratings systems very well; I always find a reason to rate something between the lines and hardly ever give the highest mark. So instead, I’ll have a tier of recommendations, whether I recommend reading it right now, buying it, renting it from the library, passing, and so on. Keep in mind that everything is my opinion and that I am not making money off any of this. I’m doing it for fun and to give me more of a reason to read books. It’s a win-win.

Shine – Lauren Myracle

Myracle is a New York Times bestselling author most famous for her Internet Girls trilogy (ttyl, ttfn, and l8r, g8r), books written entirely in IM from the points of view of three teenaged girls. She’s a current resident of Fort Collins, CO, which is actually how I heard about her in the first place. I worked for an author for about a year my senior year of undergrad, and during a talk about authors, the industry, and making it big, Myracle and a few other local authors were mentioned. Shine was suggested to me as a good book I should read.

The book is hailed as a radical departure from her usual writing. This novel is gritty and heart-breaking, set in Black Creek, North Carolina, a rural, podunk town where it feels that you’ll never get out and make it somewhere else. Shine opens with the news coverage of the brutal beating of Patrick, a sixteen-year-old resident of the town. The sheriff brands the attack a hate crime perpetrated by outsiders against Patrick’s sexual orientation , and that’s the end of it. For him. Patrick’s former best friend, Cat, can’t accept that and embarks on her own quest to who did it and why.

Myracle’s narrator, Cat, is a compelling and understandable character. As she gets farther into the layers of mystery surrounding the attack on Patrick, Cat is faced with dark images from her own past that she must deal with in order to get closer to the truth. Most members of her community are unhelpful, remarking that it’s such a pity that Patrick was attacked but if he hadn’t been what he was…well. Small town prejudice prevents anything from being done in terms of the law, and Cat finds herself running up against a caliber of tight-lippedness one rarely sees. All of it serves to make her more determined to figure out what happened, but some people will do almost anything to keep their secrets from seeing the light of day.

The novel both references and evokes Matthew Shepard, the man brutally beaten and left to die in Laramie, Wyoming, in 1998. His was a name I hadn’t heard until I moved to Fort Collins for college. Shepard died in the Poudre Hospital there, and Colorado State University and the GLBT community there keep his memory alive. His was a tragedy that finally brought light to the discrimination members of the GLBT community felt then and still experience now.

Shine weaves two heart-wrenching stories together, those of Patrick and Cat, and ends with redemption. Myracle’s book isn’t contrived and doesn’t turn the other way. She takes on the difficult issues and writes about them with such power that the reader feels her insides responding. I haven’t met a book in recent memory that has physically grabbed me as much as Shine has. The characters are real and act how you’d expect them to, but not in a predictable manner. Their actions just make sense once you understand their motivations. Prepare for one intense ride: You may let go of the book, but you’ll always feel it. It touches hearts.

My recommendation: Read this book as soon as you can. It’s worth buying so you can have it on your shelf and lend it out to all the people you recommend it to.

(Disclosure: The copy I read was an advance reader’s copy I picked up at the Publishing Institute.)
Amulet Books, May 2011, hardcover, 376 pages, $16.95. Buy the book here.



{August 17, 2011}   Endings and beginnings

After a week of career and job hunting advice, the Publishing Institute ended…

…almost two weeks ago. Our last day was the fifth. I realize it’s taken me a very long time to polish off my education stories here. Part of me thinks that’s because if I don’t write a final blog post, it won’t really be over. Writing this post has the sense of finality to it. I am done with school. All of it.

It’s kind of a frightening thought.

I now have to start looking for a job. On the plus side, I interviewed with a magazine company during one of the last days and was called back for a second interview. I’ll find out soon whether or not I got the internship. I also have another interview lined up for Tuesday. I’m trying to move out of my mom’s house, not that I don’t love my mother, but it’ll be hard if I don’t have paying jobs/internships. So right now, my life is very up in the air. I have to wait to hear back from one place before I know how much I can work for the other and I need to wait for both of them before I figure out if I’ll be able to afford moving out.

While I figure out this employment thing, I’ll be reading the books that have made my list in the last few months after the Institute and working with a publisher. The list is varied and includes titles from many genres. Maybe I’ll be able to promote a living as a book blogger…right.

Current books I’m reading are The Story of Edgar Sawtelle and LA Mental.Listening to A Clash of Kings.

Go.



{August 1, 2011}   One week left

And then, dear reader, I will be all alone again. Well, maybe not, that seems a little melodramatic. I just have no idea what I’ll be doing after this week is over. Will my new friends pack up and head to New York? Will I be able to find some sort of job in the Colorado area? It’s all a little up in the air, and I don’t like that.

I accidentally had that last post as a draft, so now there’s two updates on the same day about totally different days.

Last week ended on a brilliant note: free books. Some of the presenters occasionally bring books that are raffled to the students. I’d missed three raffles, stupid randomization technology, but go the fourth, a brilliant book of protest songs. Haven’t sunk my teeth into it yet, but it looks promising. 33 Revolutions Per Minute. According to my father, 33 1/3 is the speed LPs ran at. At least, that’s what I think he said. I forget the units on that, but 33 is an important number.

Our marketing presenter also brought more books than raffle books, and we all walked away with a giant stack of ARCs and, in a few rare cases, fully published books. Some of the ARCs I scored are already published: a copy of Lauren Myracle’s Shine and 33 Revolutions. One’s set for September, another for October. It’s fantastic to actually be filling up this bookshelf here. I only unpacked one box of books because I’m working through the Redwall series and that box had those books in it. The box didn’t have too many books in it, so there was lots of empty space. No more!! In fact, I think I even ran out of room to put back the book I had already borrowed from my shelf. Oh dear.

I was sad to see marketing end; it was a fantastic lecture series and our week-long presenter was such a fabulous guy. I’m really going to miss him. This next week is a hodgepodge of things, including interviews and the legal lecture. That one I’m actually super excited for: I think copyright is fascinating.

Also at the end of last week, we visited Fulcrum Publishing in Golden. They do some terrific nonfiction, and we got to talk to each of the departments (editorial, marketing, design and production, and administration). Though I’m not big into nonfiction, though I need to change that, I think that would be a cool place to work. It’s a small press, only about 20 employees, and I like small presses.

Welp, tomorrow is independent publisher day. We were supposed to create a book pitch over the weekend, and we get to toss our ideas at the publishing house of our choice. It’s only a little intimidating.



{August 1, 2011}   Up a Notch

OK, I think I need to try something different. This whole one-day-at-a-time approach is, quite frankly, a little stressful for me and somewhat boring to read. I go back through my old posts and I don’t even want  to read them. So we’re tossing that out the window. In it’s place…I’m not sure.

Editing is over. Last workshop for it was on Friday, and I wasn’t sorry to see it go. I like editing, but I’m excited to be moving on to the marketing segment of the Institute. I’m actually rather interested in this part, even if I don’t end up in marketing for the rest of my life, because it’s interesting to compare the marketing strategies of a large house, like HarperCollins, to those of a small press, like the one I worked for before this. I recognize a lot of what he said, but at the same time, some of the things he talks about couldn’t be done where I was. A big house has a lot more clout than a small one, so his blithe comments on getting books and authors onto The Today Show, NPR, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, and other such shows were almost unfathomable to me. Fancy packaging is also something a little out of reach for where I was, though I think stickers worked well in that capacity.

It does feel good to be one of the few people in the room with a foreknowledge of this, though. I got lucky with my internships and jobs and landed in marketing. Other people landed in editing and had an edge over the rest of us during that week. And some people will be better at some aspects than others and that’s natural.

Marketing should be fun, though. We’re in groups of ten and each person has a different book to come up with a marketing campaign for. My book is the book I’d hoped to get (and I’ll plug it shamelessly here once it actually gets through publication next year), so I should have a fun time coming up with interesting ideas to market the book in unique and crazy ways. Maybe not too crazy.

That’s all for now!



{July 21, 2011}   Editing woes

A single day post? Yes indeed!

Wednesday started with the editing workshop like most days have recently. We were given a little time to work quietly on our homework while the two professional editors running the workshop circulated to answer any thorny editing questions we may have. I felt pretty good about my edit, though I worried that maybe I hadn’t edited it enough for their tastes. But I left it because I thought it conveyed what the author was trying to say (at least in my mind and my limited understanding of the rest of the book, which is to say zero). The editor conducting this part of the workshop disagreed. We go through the “answer” key once we turn in our homework to show us what we probably should have done. I understand this and I like it. However, what I do not like is being shut down by an editor who thinks that the way he edited a passage is the correct way and the students’ differing opinions are not right. I do not raise my hand in a class unless I really have something to say. I raised my hand yesterday. My point was listened to, vaguely, and then thrown out the window as “no, that’s not what the author is really going for.”

I left the room annoyed at editing and annoyed at the editor. My colleagues and I are part of the next generation of editors. Shouldn’t our thoughts be considered and given due weight? Yes, we’re not professionals yet, but we’re being educated at a grad level and that should count for something. You’d think.

I sat with my friends and the religious publisher speaker slated for the afternoon at lunch. He was amusing and interesting, happy to talk to a bunch of young girls about publishing and how to make a lasting impression on people you interview with.

The editor, publisher, and founder of 5280 came to talk to us about magazine publishing. Yay for a free copy of the magazine! I also went up to talk to him afterward and got a good contact for sending books for review to. Yay for networking!

The religious publisher told us what it’s like to work in religious publishing, how it’s more than Christian publishing though that is a part of it, and some funny stories about his time in the business. It’s not for me because I’m not crazy into religions, which he says it’d be good if you were, but it’s always good to get a thorough education, as I mentioned last entry.

And then I hung out with a friend I haven’t seen in a long time and did some homework. Yep, that’s my life. School and homework.



{July 20, 2011}  

It must be in my blood: I loved taking a field trip to Frederic Printing. Watching all of the machines suck down paper at incredible rates and seeing the finished (well, almost finished) product come out the other end was exhilarating. I walked around that whole place with my mouth open, staring shamelessly at everything pointed out to us and some things that weren’t.

In Dallas, my dad’s mom’s side of the family owns a printing company. I’ve toured it a couple times, but it’s been years since I was there and I don’t remember to much about it. I do have notepads from my visits, though, lots and lots of notepads with “Millet the Printer” on the bottom of the page. I’m sure this influenced my decision to go into publishing in some way. Some small nut in my brain started turning when I toured my family’s company and hatched, ‘scuse me, cracked, later on down the road after I beat it with enough books.

Along with the printing field trip (a newly added field trip at the Institute, and I’m glad they added it when I got there!), Monday had the design workshop. A graphic designer, from Fort Collins even (!), came in and showed us a little bit of the process from book jacket idea to finished jacket. She talked about what the editor likes and what she likes, how they differ, and what she does to resolve that. She even spoke a little about magazine design and how she redesigned Women’s Adventure when the old designer left. I would have liked to see a demonstration of how she works with the software to create a cover, but I understand that it would have taken way more time than we had to give her.

Monday also featured a lecture on digital production. Though filled with fascinating content (I’m sure it was), the presenter just couldn’t get my attention. He talked about how a digital product is made, specifically reference books like encyclopedias since that’s what his company does, the steps it goes through from concept to finished digital product. Though I should have figured it by now, it depressed me to learn that a lot of the work that goes into a product like that is outsourced. They have offshore full-service vendors they send their products to to be edited and worked on because it’s cheaper. I think they make enough money that they don’t need to worry about that, but then again, I’m not their accountant.

Monday night was baseball night. I went to Coors Field with seventeen other people, sat up in the third deck and cheered the Rockies on to a sad defeat. But it was fun, I talked with some people I haven’t talked to yet, and had a wonderful sense of pride because I’ve spent most of my life around here and could direct everyone from the light rail to the field. I was asked by several people who to root for on the Rockies. I felt like a sort of expert. (Thank you, sweetie.)

Tuesday was a good day. Not really because I completely enjoyed the presentations (which I didn’t). Though I find it a little sad when I don’t enjoy a presentation, either because the speaker isn’t a good speaker or because the presentation is on something I’ve no interest in, it’s also somewhat of a good thing. Lectures I’m not interested in give me another filter for when I’m exploring the world of job hunting. I’m narrowing down what I’d be interested in doing later in life. I had an idea when I came to the Institute, but I opened up my options when I started here and now I’m closing them down again. I’m also learning a whole lot about the publishing industry, even through those presentations that aren’t quite riveting. It’s a good thing.

I was able to read a little in one of my fun books and watch a movie with my mom and sister Tuesday night. Those are rare occurrences, and I’m quite happy I was able to swing that. Huzzah for homework that doesn’t take five hours.

And now I head to another fun-filled day.



{July 18, 2011}   Catching up

See, the thing about this whole school business is I don’t have much time outside of it to do much of anything. Which is why this post is so late. To sum up:

Wednesday–My dislike of committees was deepened just a little more. The second half of this day was devoted to university presses and scholarly publishing. We’d been given two proposals to read before coming to class and got funneled into groups after a short lecture to go discuss whether or not we, as a university press editorial board, would acquire the manuscript. The unfortunate thing about most committees, I’ve found, is the distinct lack of multiple voices. A couple dominant personalities take over, interrupt others, and generally steer the meeting toward the outcome they’d like to see. It may not be intentional, that might just be the way they are, but it’s frustrating for people like me, non-dominant personalities who then sit in the corner doodling in their notes.

On the bright side, university press publishing does sound somewhat interesting, and there’s one in Boulder, so that would be a job path that would keep me in Colorado. Which is, after all, what I’d really like.

The first half of Wednesday we had two lecturers, both freelance editors. Listening to them talk over the last few days, I’ve come to appreciate what an intense job editing really is. (Actually, I don’t think there’s a job in publishing that isn’t intense.) Being an editor means a lot of nights and weekends work because manuscript reading doesn’t occur during business hours. Though I think it would be fabulous to have that much to read and engage with, I think I’d also like some time to spend with the boyfriend.

Thursday–By this time, I was super excited that the two people I’d met earlier in the week were continuing to hang out with me. I walk into the lecture room at the beginning of the day and know that, if I’m the first one there, two other people will soon join me. I know it’s kind of sad, but it’s a huge accomplishment for me to have even two people to talk to because it means I went somewhat out of my way to talk to them, to interact with them, and they didn’t run away. I’m always afraid of people running away; it’s happened before.

On to Institute stuff. We had homework over Wednesday night, to edit and refine the reader’s report we should have written before arriving at the Institute. They gave guidelines on Wednesday, but it was still a difficult task. The goal of a reader’s report, if you haven’t heard of it, is to inform your boss the editor about the manuscript and offer a summary and an analysis of whether or not it should be published. As an associate editor in a publishing house, that seems like a lot of power. But big-time editors don’t have that much time to read every manuscript that gets submitted to the house, so they parcel out the reading to the associate editors who write these reports and turn them in. The report gives the editor an idea of if a particular manuscript has qualities that would make it a good candidate for publishing. The associate’s opinion isn’t always followed, and that’s how it should be, but apparently the advice gets followed 95% of the time (according to one of the editors doing the workshop). My report didn’t go over that well, but I got a good enough grade that I’m not super worried about passing.

Yeah, speaking of, I have to get a B average at the Institute to pass and get my certificate. So, no worries or anything: I made the Dean’s List last semester, I’m good. 😛

Also Thursday we were spoken to by two people in the college textbooks business. The best part of the lecture was the free books the first guy brought. I snagged one to give myself a brush up on grammar-type things. Overall, college textbook publishing doesn’t sound like a part of publishing that I’d be interested in going into. Though I thought that I wouldn’t know how to do anything but go to school since I’ve been doing that since age six, I’ve learned since graduating that that’s a completely false statement. In fact, being back in school is more tiring than working all day. So I don’t think I  would enjoy a job so thoroughly based around academics. It was a good era, for the most part, but it’s time to move on, as frightening as that may seem sometimes.

And then we had to get into groups again, but this time after school hours. My group decided to meet at the “picnic” held after school got out for the day. Our task was to write a semblance of an editorial critique for the untitled manuscript we read and prepared the reader’s reports on before coming to Denver. I’m happy to say that this group behaved much better than the last and everyone’s opinion was valued and discussed among all group members. I went home exhausted.

Friday–This was one of the most interesting days so far. Our reader’s reports were handed back with more feedback, and someone from each group Thursday presented their group’s editorial critique of the manuscript. Then, get this, we got on the conference call with Clive Priddle, editorial director at Public Affairs. This is the house that acquired the manuscript we’d spend days, and weeks, poring over, and he answered questions and talked about the process the book has gone through. I’m excited about it and eager to see how much has changed from the manuscript form I saw it in to the finished product that will be on shelves soon. I can’t tell much about it because it’s still in the production process and confidential, but once the book comes out, I’ll be sure to feature it.

We got an introduction to line editing, which is kind of a fancy phrase for most of the type of editing I did in college. Correcting grammar and sentence structure, but also looking at the big picture and making sure everything makes sense where it is. Another assignment was given out, line editing a section of the first chapter of another book. I must admit, working on this edit was harder than I thought it would be. It’s easier when it’s my own work or a friend’s, because I know more of what’s allowed, but with an author I’d never heard of (because they put a pseudonym on the manuscript), I wasn’t sure where my boundaries lay. I’m not sure how to edit while keeping an author’s voice and style because that’s something I never did in school. I actually discussed this with a professor of mine, how students’ educations are lacking because they are not taught how to imitate another writer’s style. Though an incredibly hard exercise, I imagine, I can also see how this would greatly benefit the student. And now I have experience with a situation that may have been easier had I had that education, though I’m not sure what good that does me. I finished the assignment, but I’m really not sure how well I did. That and I was tired all the while I worked on it.

The last bit of Friday was a copyediting lecture. This, I thought, would be the best part of the Institute. And then I found, after listening to the first little bit, that I’ve heard this lecture before. I’d taken classes with the lecturer, the lovely Alice Levine, and though this one was slightly different, it was only a variation on a theme. I have all the materials she handed out somewhere in one of the boxes in my mother’s basement, and no new information was imparted to me. Following is what I wrote while listening:

“I begin to wonder if copyediting truly is the calling I believed it was throughout high school and college. I think I would feel lost if I hasn’t been at the Institute when I realized this. As it stands now, I’ve been exposed to several alternative careers. I have some of the compulsive tendencies that make a good copyeditor, but I also have the creative side that makes copyediting difficult. I may not have enough compulsion to properly copyedit.

“I suppose we’ll see as I go along in the Institute. As I learn more about grammar, that will help determine if this is a course I would want to pursue or not.

“Perhaps hearing this lecture for the second or third time is skewing my opinion…”

Yes, a crisis of career path. If you’d asked me anytime from maybe halfway through high school up until I entered the Institute, I would have told you that my dream was to be a freelance copyeditor. Now I’m not so sure. Like I said above though, this is the best place to be having a crisis like that. There are so many avenues open to me and I’ve only gone through one week of lectures. There’s no need to fret, I know this.

So now, after a nice weekend with my boyfriend and his family, I think I’m ready to head back to school. I’m also going to the Rockies game tomorrow night with a few other Institute people, so that’ll be an opportunity for me to meet some more people. And if I don’t meet people, well, I’m still at a Rockies game, so whatever! 🙂

Maybe I won’t take so long next time to update. I imagine it’s tiring to read through this much; it’s tiring for me to write it.



et cetera