January 04, 2012
...I'm not sure if holding down a regular job all the time has been good or bad for my publication record - or lack of one. On the one hand it keeps me grounded in real life, hones people watching and - more importantly - people listening skills. But on the other hand it has chewed up a shit-ton of my time I could have otherwise used following my goals. Oh well. Buying another lottery ticket this Saturday, you can be sure.
Sent out the first large batch of rejection notices for Thrice #4. I have developed quite a huge slush pile or back logged stuff to read. Somebody asked me what I'm reading lately. I answered "a lot of bad fiction."
I think it's funny when I point people to Elmore Leonard's 10 Rules of writing, then someone sends me a story they wrote and in the cover letter the writer explains that it was my pointing to Elmore Leonard's 10 Rules that led them to submit to Thrice, and then they proceed to break every one of the god damn rules - meticulously - before I can get to the third page.
I FINALLY got my own copy of the Chicago Manual of Style. Yes I know it is something that, as a writer, I should have had thirty years ago (and the fact is that having it at work-side is more liberating than restricting, seriously). But it was always so expensive. $65 and I just could never justify plunging. Well I got a $50 gift card from work this Christmas and put it all out there for the manual, so that I ended up shelling out only $15. This is OK.
It's a pedant's dream. So don't give me any of your punctuation/grammar guff from here on out. I've got the Gold Standard eight inches from my elbow.
But, seriously, just thumbing through it makes me realize it is not actually something that bottles up and restricts creativity as some have suggested. It is written in such a broad, accessible way, and is so eager to point out antiquated practices in writing that tend to stifle common sense that I am quite surprised. Where have you been all my life?
When all is said and done, I've been somewhat embarrassed by some of the editing faux pas I am responsible for in past issues of Thrice. This will be corrected. Nobody to blame but myself.
You'd think I'd apply what I have learned from the Manual to blog posts, wouldn't you? Yeah... um. Sure! Just look in your Google Reader how many times I posted this entry. I'm never happy...