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Posts Tagged ‘Publishing’

One of the nightmares of writers is spelling mistakes that can change the meaning of a clause or sentence. I did it again yesterday in a post that because of its serious nature does rather demand accuracy. I used the word “metal” for “mettle”. I know I had the correct meaning in my head at the time but somehow the wrong word survived into the published version. The spelling and grammar checker in Word did not catch it, of course, because of the subtle nature of the fault. In such cases, one can but hope for kind understanding from the reader.

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My computer, an aging desktop model, is going away for a week. It was all rather sudden but it had to get away it said, otherwise it couldn’t guarantee being able to blog any more because it wasn’t feeling all that well.
How does it speak to me? Through emails of course, doesn’t yours?
So anyway, rather reluctantly I said okay though I’m sure my sour expression spoke book loads, even though I quickly added a smile of compassion.
It’s going to a recuperation center where it’ll be cleared of all toxins and other bits and bobs lying around inside its hard discs. It also needs a good rubbing down (massage it calls it, can you imagine?) to clear away the dust and other unsavory remains of the last six months.
It hopes it hasn’t caught any viruses because that might put a real damper on the proceedings. It knows I do everything within my power to keep it healthy though apparently it doesn’t rate my power too highly, especially as I still refuse to invest in a new firewall to replace the Windows one which it looks on with disdain and mistrust. I’ve tried to explain that the modem has a firewall of its own and that I’ve had bad experiences with those I’ve tried but that doesn’t seem to satisfy it. Well, I’m satisfied and it seems to have accepted the stalemate, at least for the time being.
When it comes back all shiny and irritably refreshed I expect the bickering will start again.
I have a notebook (well, actually, I’m not its true owner as it keeps telling me) but after a long discussion – it does so go on – it refuses to take over the blogging job because it says it doesn’t have the necessary know how and doesn’t trust me to set things up correctly even if it would consider it. Irritable little twerp! It even threatens switching itself off if I try to log in! Can it really do that?
I hope your “comrades” are more accessible than my tormentors. Perhaps it’s just an age thing.
Well, I know it’s all a shock but I promise I’ll be back in business as soon as possible.

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I was visiting someone’s site this morning which contains the author’s poetry and some short stories. The latest poem was full of feeling and quite moving but, for me, the flow could have been better. There were just too many pebbles causing disturbing eddies.
I got to thinking how difficult it is to comment on poetry, especially as I don’t consider myself anyone who is qualified to pass judgment on another’s work. This author gets more visitors than I do, for heavens sake!
Of course, on a personal level, what it boils down to is, “Do I like it or not?”
But I don’t find it easy to convey the reason why using such an impersonal medium as the internet. One naturally tends to be overly considerate of the other’s feelings and to often hide negative comments by not commenting at all, though this does rather defeat the object of the exercise. Then again, poets are often those teetering on the edge of insanity so one must be wary of giving them a push in the wrong direction :-).
An added disadvantage is the fact that commenting hardly ever takes the form of a dialogue in real time.
So commenting does tend to give, at best, a distorted view of one’s talents. If one desires better qualification, one can throw one’s efforts to the wolves by posting them on a site where “experts” are gathered and constantly shifting in their seats waiting to cast their opinions. I have occasionally done this, though it can be quite an unnerving experience – definitely not for the squeamish.
Of course, there’s still a lot of disagreement concerning style and technique.
Should poetry be punctuated like prose or only when necessary to avoid confusion? Should first letters be capitals?
Flow is important though rhyming is not necessary in achieving it.
Getting a poem to flow without recourse to rhyming is a most demanding task, one I avoid as much as possible. Anyway, I like rhyming.
I must admit to having a preference for poems of a more philosophical nature and humor can be quite refreshing. Deeply personal emotional outbursts often leave me floundering in the dark desperately trying to find a light switch. Come to think of it many less hard hitting poems do that too, though no doubt this can often be put down to a dismal failure on my part to comprehend.
That’s another thing, lack of comprehension. I personally avoid adding explanations to poems as they seem to me to rather destroy the element of discovery. Of course, this implies that one should equally strive to avoid a lack of clarity, something in which I am undoubtedly not always successful especially when delving into more abstract topics.
And there you have it again, commenting is the desired means of communication between author and reader also to restore clarity, though for the reasons given above its usefulness is too often limited.

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If you celebrate Christmas with friends and/or family then you’ll probably have a feeling, as we do, that’s it’s now rushing towards you at an accelerated rate. We’ve already bought a Xmas tree that has been hewn from specially grown forests in some northern clime and are halfway through sending greeting cards. The tree’s standing in the garage in a bucket of water, nicely wrapped in plastic, waiting patiently to be brought into the light and warmth of the house. Let’s hope the needles don’t fall off within a few days as once happened long ago.
Oh a real tragedy that was I can tell you, what with its state of undress and the ornaments that continually slid down from the almost vertically hanging branches. They now have special trees that are guaranteed not to lose their needles but they are about twice as expensive and don’t look like real Christmas trees anyway.
The weather’s anything but Christmassy but we’re getting used to that after the rather mild winters of the last few years. If we do get snow it’s usually for about six hours on a day in November or January, not usually both. The children have adapted and can be found romping in the snow pulling sledges and building snowmen in no time flat if the opportunity arises. Yes, one has to be ready for anything during these times of turmoil and uncertainty.
I’ve been devoid of poetry inducing insights lately and was yesterday taking a casual stroll round the internet when, on a sudden impulse, I entered the word ‘Poetry’ at a gate. I arrived fairly quickly at the door of an English forum where people criticize each others attempts at poetry. Once inside it proved to be a rather disturbing experience.
For every poem one submits the author is expected to write a critique of another’s work as well; if one doesn’t then one gets banned. Well ok. The moderators are sticklers for punctuation and grammar and in general awfully strict.
One’s poems are undressed, scrubbed down, steamed, thrown into icy water and machine-gunned with punctuation before being returned. If there is then anything left worth retrieving one can carefully pick up the remains and whimper off to better days.
The ones that were passed as being fairly good were for me mostly unreadable (even the critique) after several tries. If one’s poem does exit spanking fit from their training camp then one can be confident of academic appraisal for it and one can nail it to the first page of one’s future anthology.
I left rather hurriedly and with feelings of uncertainty took another look at some of my collection. I sat back in a sort of daze wondering if any of them would get past their early morning muster. Probably not, I thought. Well, perhaps one or two I fantasised.
Do I care? Well, yes and no, but I’m not going near that place again.
I don’t know about you but I find that works of art that critics of substance denounce, whether poetry, the latest movie or whatever, I often like. It’s almost becoming a cliché. Everyone’s right of course. I feel better having said that.
As a last note I see that getting a publisher to print one’s work is not as hard as it used to be. More internet publishing sites are now taking on unknown writers because they publish on a one to one basis, which means they don’t lose any money if nothing is sold. They also stand to gain the most from newly discovered talent. A clever idea.
Some doors close and others open.

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