things i like (may 2021)

1. Office Supplies!

I completed my current story a couple of days ago, so now it’s time for reviewing and correcting mistakes (particularly punctuation).

Therefore, first thing this morning, I scooted out and bought new pens, loose leaf paper, loose leaf dividers, page tags, and paper clips. (Well, okay, I admit that paper clips really aren’t that exciting.)

Office supplies are a family tradition. Any new project, or any new stage in a project, requires new paper and pens and so on.

2. The Heron Island Mystery

I started the story on May 4, 2020, so it took over a year to finish. It’s currently around 35,000 words, which means it’s a novella. It still needs some polishing, as I indicated above (hence the urgent necessity of acquiring new office supplies).

I’ve already gone through all my printouts and made some changes in almost all of the episodes (mostly 1-3 corrections per episode, though I think one episode was clean). This is mostly just replacing a word here and changing punctuation there.

For one example, I’ve been thinking a lot about the question of italicizing foreign words. The general rule is that words which have become part of the English language to the extent that they are in the English dictionary (which is a huge number of words, after all) are no longer italicized, but foreign words which are not in the dictionary should be italic. But in this episode I used “sotto voce” and it seemed to be funnier in italics, so that’s what I did, even though it is in Webster’s. On the other hand, the final sentence in the story is in Italian (in this episode) and it seemed to be overkill to italicize it, since it’s a complete sentence, and a complete quotation, in Italian, rather than a word or two of Italian in an English sentence, so I left it in roman.

In other (other) hand, in this episode, Jan Sleet reminds Marshall to “Comporto-se” (which I hope is Portuguese for “Behave yourself” — if it’s not, then that just means that the great detective’s mastery of Portuguese is not as solid as she thinks it is), and that definitely had to be in italics.

Anyway, the next step is to make a file out of the whole thing and have my tablet read it to me. There’s nothing like a completely artificial and unforgiving electronic voice to show up awkward word choices, for example, or just plain wrong words.

3. Paul Temple

I’ve found a new (new to me) fictional detective in audio form. Quite enjoyable.

4. Miley Cyrus

I’ve been aware of Ms. Cyrus for a long time, as everybody has, and my general thought has always been: “What a voice! Call me when she figures out what it should be used for.” Well, based on this, she’s figured out a damn good answer:

5. From the New York Times: “The Punchiest Punchlines (Subway Vax Edition)

I laughed reading these jokes about the fact that now you can get a COVID vaccine shot in some New York City subway stations.

“Because if there’s one thing everybody thinks in the subway, it’s, ‘I wish I could have a medical procedure down here.’” — STEPHEN COLBERT

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