NVDT Random – Housekeeping, Plagiarism, Dime Store Academics

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 BMad 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.

Published by

Phil Huston


28 thoughts on “NVDT Random – Housekeeping, Plagiarism, Dime Store Academics”

  1. Ahhh, I get it now. My paternal grandfather was Dean of Administration for Florida State and my grandmother was an English teacher. They were old school, born in 1894. I lived with my grandparents while my Dad played sailor during the Korean War. I subsequently spent every summer with grandma until the late 70’s. She was a lot like your wife in that everything related to literature and manners came from her. I was reading at a college level at 10 years old. It was definitely her fault. It’s amazing how we can absorb things from the Void if it’s persistent.

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    1. Dad was also an English major, though not for as long as the wife. He had me reading grown up fiction, classic lit and all that because I was flying through the Hardy Boys at 10. He once said “You didn’t read that” and then quizzed me and after passing he said “You need to read for real.” Yep. I’m a firm believer in reading to write, and in the stories behind the writing. Like how “Gatsby” is a chapter by chapter knockoff, structure wise, of something else. I say, constantly, instead of worrying about your “genre” lay your content and stye over a template by someone who knew what they were doing. Once you got that, then worry about your fucking “cover reveal”. You gotta know some rules to break them and make them your own. Rant brewing!!!

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      1. My grandmother would have loved to trade me in for you. I wish I’d paid closer attention, but the Three Stooges had my focus and reading Dante scared the crap out of me. I was a work in progress. I support your views and like your approach. It seems pro level skill while most of us are filling up cyberspace with Word Poo.

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        1. I was stuck to the tube, too. Wyatt Earp and the weeknight westerns. Saturdays were Three Stooges and Laurel and Hardy. Dragnet, all that stuff. MY main approach, and probably my preference for linearity come from 40+ years in the music biz. Rhythm, tone, melody. I am surprised by dialogue that seems like no one tried to read it aloud. It’s all out there waiting on us.

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          1. Oh! Those were the days. My grandmother had an ancient Steinway with yellowed ivory keys. She bought it around 1920. When I came along it was in dire need of tuning. I never missed a second to hammer away my songs about cats fighting over food. Grandma almost succeeded in teaching me how to play the piano and organ. I was all thumbs. But, my youngest daughter could make people cry at her recitals. Probably she shouldn’t have played my Cats fighting over food piece. I get you on the dialog and linear flow. I’m that reader that has to circle back three times if you change subjects on me. It’s actually a challenge to do this quantum string theory dream in a dream that was dreamed in the past, which is present in the story thing. Damn. Made myself dizzy. You the man!

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            1. Perfect. There are long stories about Steinways, newish and very old involving Billy Joel and guy in Menphis who was one of the first to 3D print a replacement vertebrae… whew what a case. I hated piano and the whole practice thing until my mother in her infinite wisdom took me tpa guy who taught chord theory which was like, oh yeah? Read the chart, make shit up? Where do I sign? Never was much of a pianist but after an “incident” 11/28/73 I became a synthesizer guy and the rest is mostly unprintable!

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            2. LOL! I was thinking Synthesizers in the 70’s were the path to enlightenment. I was at a Pink Floyd concert pre Dark Side of the Moon and right when they were blasting my mind into the Void, the power blew. They kept playing like nothing happened and it was barely audible and not musical. My friend told me the synthesizer went out. It was then I had my first existential life event based on slightly inaccurate information. Can’t imagine life on the keys. I bet you can sneak some parts and pieces into some of your writing to help keep us readers on the edge of our mundane seats.

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            3. I have a multi parter in the can gathering dust that has a lot of “getting there” factionalized. But it has a lot more-a wannabe women’s rights activist, a pair of rich lesbian fairy godmothers, an office run by and for women, a hapless space cadet piano player, heartbreak. Fictional, of course. I did artist relations for years, so I have to watch telling tales out of school.

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            4. Ah yes. Discretion and valor are important survival tools, especially these days with Kangaroo court held on Twitter and Tik Tok. A good sized hanging party can be organized quickly.

              Liked by 1 person

            5. Wise words. Karma might not know she isn’t real and the next thing you know, you get the monkey stomp.

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  2. When I manage my follows – here and on even worse forms of SM – I assume anyone I haven’t “heard from” in a while is dead.
    What the hell is wrong with me? 🤦🏽

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Right there with you. Especially the self-destructive (or so claimed) poet types. I also wonder if a lot of blogs are college projects that come and go. I’ve known a few who did that – alternate persona, marketing processes. A Brit guy used a blog as a thesis exercise to write a modern version of a classic bumbling detective as well as a marketing exercise to see what got hits and follows. Then vanished with his info. I resurrected few. Which is good, that’s about all I was getting anyway. But it ws like a messy kitchen catchall drawer. What do I need 6 rusty-tipped corn cob holders for since the other half kicked corn to the curb?

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  3. Man am I jealous of you. On the other hand, I couldn’t handle my jealousy of my spouse if that shoe were on my foot, so maybe it’s for the better. I’d like to have all those books. No–what I’d really like is to REMEMBER what’s in those books.

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    1. As a prof she gets tons of freebies from the big publishers. I take the spares to Half Price Books and end up with money to burn on more. There are more Norton and Oxford anthologies in this house than anyone could read.
      I paid for most of the masters and doctoral degrees. She had the English BA in the can which made her decent money as a hired gun exec secretary. When the kid came along, she said, “I don’t want to be a secretary again in five years. I want to go back to school.” So go to school. She is of a mindset that embraces that environment. I am not. We lived in a small town with two progressive universities. She went to school, I worked. Kid went to university run day care for 1/2 a day and if night school or ballet class was up kid got me all evening. I should post the pic of her with headphones making up stories to the sound effects from a synthesizer. Poor kid, crazy parents. Classic example – My wife says “women don’t say motherfucker.” My daughter says, “Of course we do. How do you think I deal with these motherfuckers?” I can’t deny her, huh?

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Coincidentally, I was just about to say now that I am actually reading Elmore Leonard, much of your past and present comments actually make sense. In fact, I’m gonna post a quote from Leonard on ANONY”s page (so he can read it as well) which is pretty much verbatim what you’ve been tellin’ us for a long time. Put one word in front of the other…

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    1. The history of England’s literati is as incestuous as a centuries long ride in Fleetwood Mac’s tourbus. Australia, like America, has a shorter history save for the indigenous. Cricket? Isn’t that like baseball and fishing? An excuse to drink beer and nap outdoors?

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