Grammaticae Personae

It’s becoming an irritating cliche that each new writing project shuns the lessons of experience and instead, dreams up some new pain. Some things get easier. New and harder things, take their place. Each new project drags along new company to mess with the routine I devised to accommodate the last bunch of unwelcome guests. I suppose if I was writing about the same thing, in the same way, all the time, this wouldn’t happen, but that would not build a useful academic career.

This new problem (and I refuse to adopt anything close to a positive, forward thinking vocabulary by calling this a ‘challenge’—to do so would be dishonest and patronizing to all involved). The new problem is that I am required, by the conditions of my editorial guidelines, to write a book chapter without the use of the first person, or its plural ‘we’, or any other gesture of self reference. Normally, this isn’t a problem. It is a problem now.

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Stick to the script… or not, whatever.

Script or no script? That is a question I have answered to my satisfaction, but opinion will vary based on personal taste. The conference last Friday was my 6th conference paper and the 3nd paper to be read from a script. Like the 1st one (actually, the 2nd one chronologically but you get the meaning), it felt clumsy, I read too quickly, I lost my place twice, and I’m not sure the audience was following me. From now on, it’s point-form notes only. Continue reading

More books! Just what I needed

PBS was silent for a few days while Z and I visited some of my dispersed family before my trip overseas. Although I plan to write regularly each day until the actual move, most of that writing will stay in draft form. Writing needs to be a habit if any progress is expected but posting blog entries isn’t an essential step in the process.

I did get some nice books this week, so I will pick the easy route and write about that.

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Writing out of context

Years ago, someone on CBC radio mentioned an obscure literary contest, which I have never managed to identify, that awarded prizes for the most poetic and aesthetically pleasing non-fiction prose. What made this contest special was that the contestants were entirely unaware of the competition and their non-fiction work was usually the sort of grey literature of departmental reports or technical writing that no-one expects to be poetic, or even readable.

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