Housekeeping – I went through the Manage Follows page a week or so ago. I don’t follow many, but there were things in there from 6 years ago. (I received my email anniversary congrats the other day). Most of them I haven’t heard from in years. Perhaps they got wise and got off the tube, who knows. In the process of killing those over a year old with no posts and a few where I was automatically hitting the like star for no reason, I did something where I cancelled everyone on the follow list. If you have seen yourself unfollowed and refollowed by me, I apologize. If you haven’t posted in a year, piss off. If I’ve been hitting the star for four years out of habit without so much as a thanks, by your leave or kiss my ass, you can piss off, too. Any old lost friends like Brian, c’est la vie.
Plagiarism – Someone asked why I have taken down the serial from SepSceneWrimo. For the same reason most of Bobby B – Mad Mods and The Great Kerrigan Bank Robbery are gone. They aren’t genius by a long shot, but no one ever accused thieves of being Einsteins. When I leave something up that lasts for more than a post Romania and Germany light up my page. I ran a couple of plagiarism checks and some of my stuff came back “would you like to translate this page?” So I’m out as the uncredited author of content for Dungheap Von Turdbreath’s Cyrillic blog.
Dime Store Academics – Look (I sound like one of my characters), I have the advantage/disadvantage of being married to a Ph.D. in Rhetoric. With a concentration in British Lit. Her MA is in American Lit. To which I always say, “Is there such a thing?” The house is full of overstuffed bookshelves and notated classics, and while she doesn’t care much for most fiction, or for me burning daylight writing, I have access to, and have lived through years of college because my wife thinks aloud. I used to tell people I had a second-hand Ph.D. in dead gay English poets. One of the advantages is that I can walk through a room innocently enough and have passages of brilliant lit read aloud. That can also be a disadvantage. I sat through the history of British Socialism, the Crafts Movement and the Pre Raphs in a large hall at Oxford because she wrote a book about William Morris’s writing, not the wallpaper. I’ve been to his freaking house. How much Pre Raph does a synthesizer guy need? You might be surprised by the commonalities across time and curriculums.
If I have a question about writing, what sort of word is this, what’s passive voice, what is this or that writing device I get the name of the rhetorical device (there are hundreds, thanks Aristotle) and an answer I don’t really understand. But I get one, or like a student I get sent to where I can find it. Chaucer or Dante or Milton or Shakespeare or Blake or Wollstonecraft or Byron and countless people I’ve never heard of, I get “Oh that was Dr. so and so’s class, that was Romanticism or some other cism, here’s a (two inch thick) book.”
During the time she authored her dissertation she was confused because all around her, her peers were writing trendy stuff. At the time it was chaos theory. Anybody remember that? No? I mentioned her confusion to a dean from a major university far from where she was in school. He said, “Tell her not to worry. Scholarship always trumps the fads.”
When I receive emails from the dime store cowboys and cowgirls about “tips to improve your writing” and it’s complete bullshit I get riled. I got one the other day where instead of suggesting one should improve their writing, they suggested continuity words like ‘then’ and a lot worse. Adding crap words and trite phases. The very words and phrases editors and publishers redline. The same formulaic hack bullshit that abounds in the pay-me-to-blow-smoke-up-your-ass “editors” out there.
My point is before you sign off on the latest trend or some internet jive, do yourself a favor. Pick up a Rhetoric handbook. Or a book written by a real author. There’s more to learn from them as know how than from them with their hands out.