Slice of life

Traditions in Quarantine: Herbs & Bonsai Trees

It is hard to create during a pandemic. At least for me. As the VIRUS THAT SHALL NOT BE NAMED hit the United States and social distancing required many of us to retreat into our homes, I began questioning myself.

Am I truly a writer?

How do I push aside the pandemic fog that is clouding my mind and tap into my muse?

Does the muse even matter when it feels like the world is crumbling?

To clear the questioning fog, I turned to another hobby: indoor gardening. Yesterday, my herb seedlings sprouted and my first bonsai tree reached out from the soil.

This little seedling was powerful enough to give me hope. Hope that tomorrow it will be taller. Tomorrow, it will be greener. Tomorrow more seedlings will lift their leaves to the sun.

It reminded me that we are together in isolation.

And we will get through this apart, together.

Publishing

A Foray into the World of Genre Fiction

I love fiction of all genres. Right now, I’m hauling a beat-up fantasy novel in my purse. I’ve read everything from Pride & Prejudice to Harry Potter, and I heartily agree with George R. R. Martin, who wrote in the introduction to Warriors, “Books should broaden us. . . expand our horizons and our way of looking at the world. Limiting your reading to a single genre defeats that. It limits us, makes us smaller.” Sure, it’s great to have a favorite genre. I naturally gravitate toward fantasy and historical fiction. But it’s also exciting to venture into undiscovered worlds of fiction.

To understand the breadth of genres, I researched and created an infographic detailing 5 main genres, and their associated sub-genres. Each word cloud contains elements of the main genre, and within each subgenre I’ve noted the various stylistic elements and publication examples. Of course, this is not a complete list. It could never be. Genres simply categorize publications, and provide basic plot ‘recipes’ to meet the expectations of readers. Many good stories are solidly planted within their genres, while others defy genre stereotypes. They all inspire the imagination. I hope this visual representation of genre styles serves as a beginner’s guide to the many genres of fiction. Happy reading!

Publishing, Slice of life

Turning the Tables: A Word Exploration

I recently completed a word-research project based upon the word table. The final product was a 1000-word argument that explored modern usage of this everyday word. Here is the abbreviated version.

. . . .

Table. The first thing that comes to mind upon hearing that word is a long, flat, wooden board, supported by four legs, standing in a dining room. It is loaded with memories of familial laughter, smells of good food, and the occasional spread of work-related papers across its surface. It is a mundane noun; the furniture that it describes exists in many forms, in many cultures, for many purposes. It is a common everyday object. And yet, it has become more.

We know words matter, but even the simplest of words can have a wide variety of meanings. 

The object this noun describes has become a gathering place. A place for discourse, learning, argument, and unity. It supports culture—that of culinary delights, entertaining games, artistic endeavors, and political debate—so much so that table has become a verb as well. We lay our thoughts on the table, and sweep them aside by tabling them. We turn the tables on our opponents and come to the table when we’re ready to participate in discussion again. Motions that are laid upon the table can also be negotiated at a metaphorical one. Even the shape of the table has historically represented social position. The legendary “knights of the round table” were each equally revered as authoritative figures, while the head of the table is still revered as a position of authority. All these meanings and nuances reside in the five letters that describe the four-legged object.

Oxford Dictionary defines table as, “A piece of furniture with a flat top and one or more legs, providing a level surface for eating, writing, or working at.” Besides this primary definition, I personally used table as a verb, meaning to delay an issue or discussion. Oxford dictionary attributes this definition to American English.

This would explain my confusion when I came across a BBC news article which used table in a completely different context. Earlier this month, the British Parliament “tabled a motion” of no confidence against UK Prime Minister Theresa May. Why would they delay a motion when they clearly meant to move forward with the vote of no confidence? This one word seemingly contradicted the point of the entire article, and dramatically hampered my understanding of it. After a quick Google search, I came across a helpful discussion post that explained the British-English definition of the word, which is to “Present formally for discussion or consideration at a meeting.”

Because words can have dramatic variations in different dialects, we must carefully consider words as they are spoken within their given contexts.

Which form of the word is correct? The answer is, both of them. It makes sense that the phrase, “tabled the issue” means to present an issue for review within British English, especially since Parliament uses table as a procedural term. “Tabling is the act of formally putting forward a question, a motion or an amendment in the Commons or the Lords.” Even Americans will occasionally refer to “laying it all on the table.” As tables have historically been a resting place for objects, it is equally understandable that the common American-English version of the word means, to postpone the review of an issue.

So what was the point of researching this common, everyday word? The usage of this table demonstrates even the simplest of words can have a wide variety of meanings across different dialects. Such word variances should not be taken for granted. It is important to maintain curiosity about language, and an awareness about the nuances of different word usages. It is a fact that one word, when heard out of context, can lead to confusion. Thus, the importance of context cannot be overstressed. To operate ethically within our world, we must carefully consider words as they are spoken within their given contexts, before jumping to misguided conclusions.

 

Slice of life

The Roasted Goose

You know those words or social idioms that you somehow never heard of, and you feel naive when you find them out? Someone at my workplace recently talked about “a roast” at a party. I thought they meant a literal roast, like beef brisket or roast beef. Little did I know, my own naiveté would be “roasted” if it was known. I just nodded, smiled, and hoped that my initial response of “That sounds good!” went unnoticed.

 

Every story is better when it’s personal. That doesn’t mean every story has to be a biography or memoir, but real-life grit can enhance every story. I try to remember this when life doesn’t go as planned. And as a 20-something who loves to plan, this happens a lot. Throughout my week, I step away from unit strategy meetings and emails to attend college classes. The writing classes are great, but the the required classes…. not so much.

 

My language professor uses German conversational terms in with her lectures. Besonders… es gibt… ganz…I think I am supposed to absorb the meaning of these words through repeated exposure. But I am too busy trying to see around the arms of the freshman kid in front of me who continually yawns and stretches during class. It happens so frequently that it often looks like he is raising his hand for a question. Ich weiß nicht!

 

I begrudgingly listen to other students talk about sleeping till 9am, when my own day begins at 7am. After a long day of work and classes, my dog (who forgets she is an older gal and wiggles like a puppy) is the first to greet me when I get home. Unlike the cats, who are content to lounge on my late-night homework assignments. I take my cue from them and settle in for a catnap after dinner… before bed. It doesn’t make sense, but slowing down matters.

 

I wrap up the evening by kissing my PhD-candidate husband on the cheek as he tackles a literal foot of grading before working on his own research. I wake up briefly when he comes to bed in the wee hours of the morning, and we steel ourselves to do it all over again the next day. I recognize it is a privilege to have a foot in the ‘American dream’ (if it ever existed) and another in the fast-paced world of our time. It is still a struggle to maintain the starry-eyed idealism of youth and not become jaded.

 

That’s another interesting word… ‘Jaded.’ Jaded sometimes seems like a slightly less positive word for wise. Perhaps the grit in our stories is different shades of jade. The more grit the better the story.

 

That’s what’s happenin’ folks. My nickname is ‘Goose’ because I am opinionated, klutzy, and a little bit naive. Welcome to my own personal roast.
Publishing

An Editing Philosophy

I recently established my personal editing philosophy through free writing. What’s your writing/editing philosophy?

 

Editing is the art of shaping ideas. The art of the idea has already been produced by the author, but the editor must respectfully review the art, frame the ideas, polish the rough edges, and make the author’s voice shine.

As an editor, I am the invisible helper shining a light on the author’s story. Everyone’s voice is different. I don’t want to take over an author’s work. I want to explore the words created by unique imaginations and help them express the truth of their story without impeding. I have a deep appreciation of the written word and the plethora of ideas represented by many different authors. I revel in a well-formed sentence and equally relish the moments when the rules of grammar are cleverly broken.

I am passionate in my editorial aims for unique perfection within text. The rules of the written word are as detailed as they are evolving. My goal is to collaborate with talented authors to develop their manuscripts into polished works of art.

Slice of life

An Ode & Intro

a blog

a log of words

strung together

to resurrect odd thoughts

distant emotion

to connect with the reader

be they a world away

I type into the white void

characters to speak

for me

and for others

to create and explore

the world we share

 

Hello world! I am a lover of words, but I’ve restricted my writing to college classes, local newspapers, and the various notebooks which are scattered around my house. The internet provides a stage for even the most introverted of writers, so here I am. I look forward to connecting with fellow readers and writers as I begin my exploration of words on this blog. In the coming months, I plan to post some my best short stories and non-fiction articles. I may also post a few reflective essays and links to my articles featured on other blogs. Until then, cheers!