Category Archives: editing

Pre-hiatus Update

Dear Bloggy Friends,

I must pause. Not to reflect, but to get everything else done.

We plan to close on our house on Sept. 8. Of course this has meant numerous phone calls, meetings, and appointments. We’ve got a lot of financial wrangling yet to do — buying appliances, applying for our government’s wonderful offer of $8,000, and much more. And at some point I need to start packing.

I’m registered for History 101, and have made myself known to much of the history faculty. In doing so, I got myself signed up to do a Public History internship, in which I will help research and fact check on an upcoming book celebrating the anniversary of the Idaho Museum of Natural History here on campus. In the future I might also assist with the scholarly journals the department produces. I saw the gleam in a few professors’ eyes when they heard I was an editor of scholarly humanities books, so that might be a source of future paying work, as well. And at some point before December I need to take the GRE and figure out who can write references for my grad school application.

The kids start school tomorrow. In trying to balance my work, my classes, and their needs, I’ve signed Napoleona up for after-care three days a week, so that I have the entire day free for work and my courses. But the other two days, I’ll be taking Anthropapa to work at 8:00, the kids to school at 8:30, returning to pick up Napoleona at 11:15, returning to pick up SillyBilly at 3:00, and picking up Anthropapa at 5:00. Clearly, we need a second car. And at some point I need to figure out when I can volunteer in the kids’ classrooms.

I’m plugging away on my current manuscript, an examination of the role of emotions in US history. Then I’ve got 2 or 3 more to do next month. The next few months will be a huge test to see who I can balance maintaining my work load along with going to school. And at some point I need to find some new clients.

I’m also volunteering as the Chapter Development Coordinator for the EFA. It’s not too onerous, but some days it seems to take up more than a few hours of otherwise precious time. I like contributing to the organization that has provided me with so many benefits, but right now it’s yet another thing in the mix. And at some point I need to write up all the policies and procedures that go with the job.

So, my friends. I can’t keep up. I can’t even get to read all of your wonderful blogs, no less comment thoughtfully. No less write my own blog posts. So I’m officially going on hiatus, until such time as I have enough time and energy to share. Retaining the right, of course, to pop up at any time randomly.

Love,

Anthromama

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Filed under editing, Family, freelancing, life, Napoleona, papa, School, SillyBilly

A Secret Hazard of Editing

I don’t mean to whine, but I am sick of being sick, already.

The day before our big trip to Washington, Napoleona puked all day. So of course the next day, while somewhere in the middle of nowhere (between Baker and La Grande) I got sick too, despite washing my hands 40 bazillion times. Then the day after Anthropapa and I returned home, I got a stomach bug again.

This week, I got a weird ear infection that has involved all the lymph nodes on that side of my head and neck. The ear infection isn’t so bad, but the whole area in front of, underneath, and behind my ear is so swollen that it’s painful. Even my earlobe is sticking out! Waaaaaaaaah! (That time, I meant to whine.)

This is the second ear infection I’ve had this year. The first one was in February and I ended up with a ruptured eardrum. I wish I knew what was going on with this, since aren’t ear infections just for kids?

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You’re probably wondering by now just what the heck that post title means.

Well, I recently worked on these two books, and they’ve made me a bit hyperchondriac about this ear infection. What if it’s some weird bacteria and I’ll be on one antibiotic after another? What if there is no antibiotic to handle this infection at all? Never you mind that I don’t have a fever or any other symptoms; these things are unpredictable and sneaky and deadly, I tell you, DEADLY!!

Hookay, back to reality. My ear is stuffed up and my face hurts, and it’s impossible to sleep on that side. But really, it’s probably not fatal.

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Filed under Books, editing, Health, Silliness and Mayhem

Sleep Is My Friend

People, I am burnt. (No, it’s not because of Twitter!)

Napoleona stayed home all last week with a stomach flu. I thought I escaped lightly with only one day of ick, but it’s reared its ugly head again and I’m getting more and more tired.

We’re leaving for California in a few short weeks, and I’ve got several editing deadlines to meet before that. Plus the end of the school year flurry of events and outings. Plus needing to get the brakes fixed on the van. Plus trying to set up  a business website/blog that the wonderful Anthropapa created for me. Plus the beetle-browed piles of laundry glowering at me from far too many corners of this house. Plus registering for a class this fall. Plus…

On the bright side, we did get out for a walk this last weekend, and we saw marmots! The grass is green and the air is cool and fresh. Now I just need a nap.

I like to post something at least once a week. I’m feeling like I can’t promise that to myself right now. sigh.

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Filed under editing, Health, Napoleona, papa

Darwin, Gradually

Having finally finished the unpleasant book about psychopathic killers, I have gone back to finish editing a series of essays about Charles Darwin. 2009 is the 200th anniversary of Darwin’s birth, so he’s being feted and written about left and right.

This evening Anthropapa came across this bit of artwork, which is very funny and fits so nicely with my current project:

By Mike Rosulek, buy it at http://www.zazzle.com/darwin2009

By Mike Rosulek, buy it at http://www.zazzle.com/darwin2009

Evolution is in the air right now. There’s my editing project, of course.

And then there’s the state of Texas. The public school science curriculum standards have been amended by the state board of education to require that students consider “all sides of scientific evidence.” Hey, that’s what the scientific method is all about, right?

I’d be a wee bit more supportive of Texas’s standards on critical thinking if it weren’t for the fact that it seems clear that what the NY Times so delicately calls “social conservatives” on the board are trying to push their avowedly creationist agenda into the curriculum, by systematically deleting references to such things as the specific age of the Earth from the science standards.

It is also certainly troubling that potentially, “publishers will have to include criticism of evolution if they want to sell science textbooks to Texas schools,” when essentially the only criticism of evolution is intelligent design (which as a religious belief, is lacking in the scientific evidence the board wants students to consider!) Texas is such a huge market for textbooks that their decisions affect textbook publishing as a whole in the US.

On the other hand, I wish scientists criticizing the board’s decision would be at least acknowledge that analysis, questioning, and not accepting estimates as fact are all part of critical thinking. Sure, Southern states (and, oddly, Pennsylvania) have a history of creationists trying very hard to use the idea of “balance” or “equal consideration” to get their beliefs taught in schools. But in the end, embracing the scientific method does not mean checking criticism at the door and accepting anything dogmatically.

(And if you’re wondering, I don’t believe in a “young Earth” but I do believe in a creator. I also believe that creator may very well have also set the processes of evolution in motion for his or her own purposes. However, I won’t support teaching any of that in public schools.)

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Filed under Books, editing, Rants, Religion, School, Science

Inherited Bookishness

Warning: book-related geekery ahead!

Today SillyBilly and I had a book-lovin’ afternoon. First we watched this video of a modern book bindery that a fellow EFA member mentioned on our group discussion board (double click to open this one):

This contrasted nicely with another video we watched a few months ago, on hot metal printing circa 1947:

We were amazed to see the differences: the technology, from stamping each letter into metal, lining them all up in order by hand, and pressing them into a copper plate, to an almost fully automated, computer-controlled assembly line. And the similarities: it’s still just paper, cardboard, and glue.

This inspired SillyBilly to continue working on his book, which received its table of contents and first page today:

The Haunted Mansion
The Haunted Mansion

Table of Contents
By D. Hunt
(Table of Contents)
1) The Powerful Goo
(2-7 still untitled)
7 Chapters!
To Mama from D.

There was a dark, dark forest and there was a colony of ghosts. There was a very special rock that was powerful that the ghosts…

(I don’t know what’s coming next…. I’ll keep you all informed.)

I love that dark, dark, forest. It’s hard to see, but the red thing is the eerie glow of a ghost’s eyes.

Later at dinner I was describing the modern bindery video to Anthropapa and Napoleona. Evidently it caught her imagination too, because after dinner I heard them playing with books: SillyBilly was making little machine sounds (whssshhht! ffffft!) as he slid books down the tilted footrest of our recliner, while Napoleona “inspected” the books as they came down, checking for proper pagination and end paper gluing.

Imitation at its finest! Videos might not be a strictly approved Waldorf activity, but I love what kind of art and play it inspired today.

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Filed under art, Books, editing, General silliness, Napoleona, play, SillyBilly, Writing

Observations

Seasons Change

They tell me it’s spring, but the last few days have not seemed so. We spent most of Sunday inside except for necessities like doing laundry and driving to church. Instead of singing spring songs with the kids, I reverted back to some of our songs about snow and winter. Then last night we had a thunderstorm with hail and a power outage, followed by a light sprinkling of snow. Most of the snow has already melted.

On Sunday it snowed all day

On Sunday it snowed all day

But whether in defiance of the snow and cold winds, or simple spur-of-the-moment inspiration, I made this little spring picture to adorn our nature table. I copied it from a needle felting book I have, which I can’t remember the name of right now!

I guess this IS spring in southern Idaho — unsettled weather, still cold, still snowing every week or so, but brave daffodils nodding in the cold wind and the garden centers at various stores opened up once again.

And even if the weather doesn’t want to cooperate with my expectations, the sun is still visibly higher in the sky, out longer each day, and did its best to melt all the hail off the roads today.

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Sneakiness

Both of my kids are sneaky little #@$(#*&s. I could swear that SillyBilly got into the jar of quarters for laundry that I keep on my dresser the other day. I even heard the sound the quarters make hitting the glass, but I didn’t see it happen. And the other day he mysteriously “found” enough quarters “on the floor of the laundry room” to get a water bottle out of the vending machine. Bless his little heart, he knew he’d never get away with soda.

Then today, at lunchtime, he came back to the table after going to the bathroom and announced, “Mama, you might smell chocolate on my breath because my friend E. at school brought chocolates for snack today instead of yogurt.” Uh huh, funny coincidence that last night Anthropapa brought home a bag of peanut butter chocolates for me, and I detected a strong whiff of peanut on the boy’s breath in addition to chocolate. And that it was about 2 hours after snack time at that point. And that he chose that moment to “warn” me about smelling something on his breath.

Then later in the day Napoleona was coming down the hall toward me and when she said hello, I could tell there was something in her mouth. I asked her what she had in there, and in her beautiful innocence she opened wide to display a big peppermint candy. The only place she could have found a peppermint candy would be on my desk, left there from a trip to some restaurant or another a few weeks ago.

I confiscated the candy right out of her mouth and asked her to follow me to the bathroom. (I had to go, you see, and I’m used to having guests in there with me, if you know what I mean.) She immediately started sobbing with remorse and apologized profusely. I hugged her and explained that I wasn’t mad, just disappointed that she did something she shouldn’t have.

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Pray for Me

I have a new editing project. It’s about the definition of evil, specifically regarding things like serial killing. I haven’t been presented with a book yet that I wouldn’t edit, but right now this one comes close. I’ll need to guard myself against getting to weirded out by reading about icky stuff for several hours a day. The book is really investigating what we call “evil” and why, which is interesting, but unfortunately it’s all in the context of murder and psychotic killers.

I used to be able to tolerate, if not enjoy, horrible things in books and movies. But my tolerance for that has decreased dramatically since having children. And after not watching TV for so long, my tolerance for anything disturbing is way down as well. I’m hoping for this project I can focus on the technical stuff and not get too focused on the content. Wish me luck.

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Filed under Books, Crafting, editing, Family, Napoleona, papa, Parenting, SillyBilly

Two Things

The Chicago Manual of Style Online Q&A made me smile today:

Q. Hello, I saw Barack Obama speak and he seemed to make a grammar error. I was wondering if I was missing something. He said, “President and Mrs. Bush invited Michelle and I to come to the White House.” Another time he said, “It was for Michelle and I.” Shouldn’t it be “Michelle and me”? My husband thinks I’m crazy to spend my time thinking about things like this, but it bothers me.

A. You’re right—I’ve heard Obama say that myself. But you have to feel for the guy. I’d wager my job that he knows the correct grammar. But he knows that hardly anyone uses it and that if he does, he’ll sound either incorrect or “elitist.” What’s a pol to do?

Q. Consider the following situation. A woman is wearing a sweater which has black-and-white stripes, and the underlying color is blue (base color), and a short skirt with a tartan plaid pattern involving the following colors: red, black, white. Is the correct way to describe this person as follows: “She is wearing a black-and-white-striped blue sweater and a short plaid skirt (red, black, and white tartan)”? Or “She is wearing a black-and-white-striped, blue sweater and a short, red-black-and-white-plaid skirt (tartan)”?

A. At last—a serious style question. I would go with version 1, but change the sweater to black cashmere.

Q. I am writing a novel. How do I write a title of a song in the body of the work (caps, bold, underline, italics, etc.)? Example: The Zombies’ “She’s Not There” looped in his head.

A. Noooo! Now that song is looping in my head (“but it’s too late to say you’re sorry . . .”). Use quotation marks. Thanks a lot.

Q. We are editing a scientific book. We have to follow UK spelling. Per the dictionary, sulfur is the US spelling and sulphur is the UK spelling. But in one chapter the author has used sulfur and in another chapter sulphur. Since we are following UK spelling, can we change sulfur to sulphur? Or, per CMOS, since the IUPAC recommended spelling is sulfur irrespective of UK or US spelling, can we change sulphur to sulfur?

A. Good grief. You can’t lose—just pick one.

It’s nice to read that other crazy people grammar police folks out there notice and care about this stuff. And that editing can sort of be funny.

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Is there anything so melancholy as taking down the Christmas tree? After feeling somewhat revived this morning from yesterday’s horrible stomach virus/purgatorial day in bed, I finally got around to packing up all the holiday decorations. What was once festive and sparkling now seemed frowzy. But I still felt a pang of sadness putting everything away.

On the bright side, we can now reclaim our living room, and in place of the nativity, our nature table now features a serene setting of crystals and pine cones. Despite the warmth and joy of the holidays, there something equally nice about clearing it all away and starting afresh with Less Stuff.

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Filed under editing, holidays, Nature tables, Silliness and Mayhem

Odd Coincidence

After yesterday’s post about homemaking, I think it’s rather odd that I came across this quote in my current editing project (which has nothing to do with homemaking but rather is an analysis of water rights and identity in Australia!):

The house and the body are intimately linked. The house is an extension of the person; like an extra skin, carapace or second layer of clothes, it serves as much to reveal and display as it does to hide and protect . . . Moving in ordered space, the body ‘reads’ the house which serves as a mnemonic for the embodied person. If the house is an extension of the person, it is also an extension of the self.

-Carsten, J. and S. Hugh-Jones, eds. About the House: Levi-Strauss and Beyond. Cambridge University Press, 1995, p. 2.

Isn’t that odd? I never expected to find something like that in this manuscript. In the author’s context this quote helps illustrate how people are their environments are “mutually constitutive”, and that people relate to the world as an extension of themselves — in this case in how they value and utilize water resources.

The quote also reminds me more directly of Eve’s recent post about our homes and how they reflect our inner selves. So go read that, too.

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Filed under Books, editing, Homemaking

When Editors Get Riled Up About Dirty Words

One of my daily pleasures is reading the discussion posts in the Yahoo Group for the
Editorial Freelancers Association. Aside from the usual technical questions, there are often posts labeled “Chat” that relate somewhat more remotely to editing or freelancing, though they usually have something to do with words or writing.

Recently someone posted a “Chat” about an author’s fight with the New York Times about including the word “bitchassness” in an article. Evidently the Times, though they have allowed “bitch” and “ass” many times before, are balking this time. The word is being included in reference to Sean “Diddy” Combs’s numerous YouTube blogs, one of which includes this word in its title.

The original poster simply thought it was funny to what lengths this author had gone to argue his point with the newspaper. But others were not so amused and said that the word offended them and was hate speech. This has led to a lively little conversation about free speech, censorship, figurative meanings, and cultural mores.

We have roughly two camps: those who think that the word should be allowed because 1) it’s not that offensive, or 2) it’s being used as a quotation and not directly describing someone; and those who think it’s offensive hate speech that is derogatory to women.

If Mr. Combs uses this term solely for women, then perhaps there would be a stronger case for it being derogatory. But I watched the offending blog post, and the term seems to be used in a general sense. Interestingly, he uses the “N word” several times and a variant of it appears in text at the end of the post — but nobody has mentioned that being a problem!

Some people in the EFA discussion argued that there are plenty of words that have had more negative and even salacious connotations or meanings in the past but are commonly used today: “jerk” and “suck” were two examples. But then others responded that just because some words have passed into common usage doesn’t mean others should follow.

On a related note, I’ve been following the case FCC v. Fox Television Stations currently under consideration in the Supreme Court, mostly through rather hilarious posts on Language Log. If you don’t want to read lots and lots of swear words, don’t click those last three links!

Here the question is all about the “F word” whether the FCC is applying its rules consistently to fine broadcasters who neglect to edit out obscenities, even if fleeting. But I have to smile at linguists using rather complex semantic analyses, including graphs, to decide whether certain words are used as intensifiers (“effing brilliant!”) or as actual references to obscene acts. And for really funny stuff, read the comments.

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Filed under Blogging, Deep Thoughts, editing, Writing

It’s All Good

I’m sitting in a comfy chair, eating a wedge of homemade chocolate chip shortbread.* I look out the window to watch SillyBilly flying a toy airplane out on the lawn in the wind. I can hear a cat munching on kibble across the room, and in a minute he’ll probably come over and try to lie on top of my laptop. Once I finish this post, I’ll keep working on my latest editing project, a monograph about water rights, agency, and identity in Australia. Later, SillyBilly and I will do some laundry, make some bread,** and probably make some more Christmas cards. In quiet moments, I might muse on the long phone conversation I had last night with our old friend who is now a successful novelist, whom we haven’t spoken to in about fifteen years.

Here comes the cat. Have a peaceful day!

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*The perfect recipe for little kids to make all by themselves:

Cream 2 sticks of butter with 1/2 cup sugar.

Mix in some chocolate chips, and 2 cups of flour. (I had to help with this part as it’s very dry, stiff dough.)

Press the dough into a pan and bake for 40 minutes at 300F. When a toothpick comes out clean, let cool in the pan. Cut a piece and snarf it down. Loll about reveling in the contentment your tummy now feels, and then run about like a madman with the sugar rush.

**Update: I just took two loaves out of the oven. You know that rule that says you shouldn’t cut open freshly baked bread until it’s cool? THE SMELL OF THIS BREAD IS KILLING ME!

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Filed under editing, Food, friends, life, play, SillyBilly