The elusive art of editing


DSC_0050I think writers come to believe in an innate ability to catch our own errors, spit and polish our work to its very best form, and we do so each time we offer work for submission, contests, or print. This post is yet another chance for me to make editorial mistakes, I know, I know. (Sure, you can point them out to me if you like.)

Truth is, like many artists, poets are just scraping by financially. We cannot afford to hire editors, so we take risks, perhaps believing a little too strongly in our guts, our grammar, and our attentiveness. How hard can it be, we think. Well done, we say. It will be…fine, we whisper as we drift off to sleep having pressed “submit” again, with some hesitation and a little bit of angst.

Deep down we are not entirely sure, but we bravely do what we have to do, which can lead to embarrassing moments. Like the time I spelled the publisher’s surname incorrectly, or saw a clear lack of punctuation upon my 1st read, right after submission! My personal challenges often come in the form of it’s and its, and my deep and abiding love for the Oxford comma that ripples out, abundantly.

Or, most recently, after several months of design, planning, and (several) eyes on every comma, word, line break, title, font, layout, selection of hardware, paper, packaging, and marketing approach, I felt I was finally ready to put my poetry/art books together.

I painstakingly built one hundred copies of the book, tightened each Chicago screw,  placed each stainless steel washer, organized flash card covers into fun and witty combinations, collated stacks of poetry on beautiful cream paper (professionally laid out and printed and drilled with holes for the screws), hand tinted each vintage illustration, and felt a sense of progress and fulfillment at the growing pile of books.

Then I went online to put the finishing touches on the announcement for my book launch. As I typed in the title of my poetry/art book, I felt a niggling. I spell checked a word, and it was correctly spelled…yea, me! But the niggling didn’t go away. And then it hit me…there, blatant, unchecked, WRONG…was a word. On every title page of every book that I just spent days putting together, was a spelling mistake!

POETRY PRIMER | a book of elementary principals

instead of what it should have said;

POETRY PRIMER | a book of elementary principles

ahhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!!

First anger. Then blaming. Then another hissy fit because it was so OBVIOUSLY WRONG and I missed it…we all missed it… but I MISSED IT! And then the creative problem solving began…what if this, or what if that, in an attempt to save it somehow…but I could not. It was WRONG. It had to change. Then my gratitude to God that I saw the mistake before my book was sold!

Yes, indeed. Gratitude. Two hundred times I unscrewed those Chicago screws. One hundred times I removed the offending page and, after paying my printer a substantial amount of money for a one page reprint, one hundred times I replaced the page with the corrected title page. And then I tightly bound the book with the turn of two hundred more Chicago screws! Editor, I am obviously not. Life learner, yes I am. And my thumb and index finger were throbbing proof!

What would I do differently next time? I don’t know, I run a tight ship, so I still can’t afford an editor. Or, maybe I can? Maybe we could barter something? Or, maybe if I sell all of MY POETRY/ART BOOKS (limited edition, signed, numbered, unique, collectible, fun) I can afford an editor for my next project?

Have you got a copy of POETRY PRIMER yet? If you live in Kelowna, delivery is free!

A human, being, and learning humility,

Lesley-Anne

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Looking for a common thread and finding random rambles…


It’s been a while since I’ve written… don’t know why, just haven’t felt much like it. Nor have I felt like writing poems. Enough said because the new me (since two nights ago when I re-established my trajectory with the gracious help of my dear husband Bob) is focused on finding a balance between over-sharing being honest, and living on the surface of life superficiality. And that, my friend, isn’t very easy for moi.

I recall a while back I used to publish mid-week random rambles, and I guess that’s where I’ll start. Easier than an essay or a soul searching journey that results in something vaguely poetic. Probably easier on both of us? Or, perhaps you can relate to #6 below… which takes me back to the difficulty in finding a balance. But, I digress.

Anyway, here’s my ramble for ya;

1. Found a new sweet spot… having artists/musicians billet with our family, share our stuff, food, ideas… the spine tingle of having them play our piano and sing in our rooms. I felt alive when they were here. Understood. Understood them to some degree, even though they were so much younger. Here’s Zerbin “New Earth”… have a watch and a listen. So talented…

2. When said band members were staying with us, they were in the kitchen devouring enjoying a dozen muffins when Derek started to laugh (I think it was Derek, maybe it was Jason or was it Nick?) Check out the view of our art gallery style fridge front in the slide show below with the cows (somewhat same theme of poo…). Yep, right under the bible verse you’ll see it!!! Nice to know there’s always something yummy to eat in our fridge!

3. Somewhat surprised that the photo of our dog Emmy and her amazing encounter with a deer posted in the Toronto Star and Kelowna Capital News… would end up with over 4229 likes and 1917 shares at Dogwork.com, on Facebook at D-Fa Dogs, on Tumblr and half way around the world on a hungarian website that I can’t find at the moment.

4. Seen along the way, a field of cows and calves, resulting in a return trip and walk into the ditch to photograph said creatures resulting in these photos… and then, the very next day after the photo shoot… they were gone! Relocated to greener pastures perhaps?

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5. Considered in passing, a sign that said “Ignore inconvenient twists and turns” and immediately I could think of all sorts of life applications for that one! Especially having just experienced a rather nasty twist when an elderly lady gave me a tongue lashing for pulling just a leetle too far into the walking lane at the intersection.

6. Discovered on the book shelf in Chapters… “Quiet”, a book by Susan Cane whom I just recently watched present a Ted Talk on the same subject of the power and joy of being an introvert. I’m waiting for the soft cover version, or the library copy… but I know there will be gems of affirmation in those pages. Here’s the talk…

Voice One – Ralph Hass


So, this is the first post in what will be a new series of guest posts… celebrating the voices of people whom I am honoured to know. You’ll meet poets, writers, photographers, artists, and others who have something unique to say. I hope you are encouraged, inspired and entertained.  And, once you meet them, I hope you will drop by their blogs, and get to know them a bit more.

In the true spirit of ‘Buddy Breathing’, I trust that these voices are fresh air to your soul.

Here then is Ralph Hass… Voice One!!!

Ralph Hass voices all sorts of sports projects with exciting sprints to the finish! Clients include the NFL’s Buffalo Bills since 2008 (“Thurman Thomas Show.”); Shaw TV in Canada (2010/11 is his fourth season voicing the promos for WHL hockey games); NHL’s Buffalo Sabres (2006 to 2009).

Besides sports, longer narration projects like corporate videos and eLearning modules make up Ralph’s niche market. In the spring of 2010, he began work as the voice of training materials for NAPA Auto Parts dealers. This will result in close to 20 modules being recorded by the end of 2011. Ralph works from a home studio in one of Canada’s most beautiful cities, Kelowna, BC.

Website:              http://www.HasTheVoice.com

Blog:                          http://HasTheVoice.blogspot.com

Twitter:            @ RalphH_VO

This is from Ralph’s posting on his blog, “Has The Voice”  Friday, December 31, 2010

Friday Facebook Fun! Finally Photos…Family is EVERYTHING!

I have posted quite a few videos lately but NO photos. The last one was on December 3rd when I was surrounded by a couple of Gretzkys.

So, as we set a new record for blog posts (120 for 2010 beats the combined 119 for 2008 and 2009), I wanted to share this Christmas photo when my family spent time at my parents. My dad (Emil) took the photo so he’s not in it:



Jordan snapped this one last night of my parents and myself. The clothing we are wearing is from the Lance Armstrong Foundation, LIVESTRONG, which provides support to guide people through the cancer experience, bring them together to fight cancer – and work for a world in which our fight is no longer necessary.

My dad is currently battling cancer. He has finished radiation treatments and chemotherapy is hopefully an option in the near future. He has always been a strong man and is a fighter but right now his kidney needs to get better. He beat prostate cancer a couple of years ago but it returned and spread to his bladder and now into the lymph nodes.

Please say a prayer for my parents as they go through this battle together. HOPE is a great thing to have!

Holding On Praying Endlessly

Mid-week Random Ramble011


 

first miner out

Image by papayatreelimited via Flickr

 

1. October 12, 2010…The Chilean miners are slowly being brought to the surface. The first miner, Florencio Avalos, emerged after a 22 minute trip, from the 28 inch wide capsule, named the Phoenix, at 12:12 a.m., Chilean time. Avalos was chosen to be first because he is in the best health and would be best able to identify any problems; so far, there appear to be none. Incredible technology involved. 33 miracles in the making after being underground for over two months. The world watches in wonder…

2. In the thick of things is a place I want to be. I don’t want to be on the sidelines, or standing by waiting for something to happen. I want to take the gifts that God has, in his incredible generosity, given me, and use them for something more than myself… something bigger.

I want that for my blog too.  And with only 15 more hits, I will have been graced with 4000 visits to Buddy Breathing. That makes me catch my breath… thank you one and all… thank you so much.

I hope that of the 4000, there are some that can say Buddy Breathing changed the trajectory of their day, came alongside with a voice of empathy or understanding, made a difference somehow.

3. We just discovered a new restaurant (well, 3 years old, but new to us) on the side of Gordon Drive at Clement (Sorry for those of you who don’t live in Kelowna!)… Jimmy Ho’s… great service, tasty food, fast, healthy, reasonably priced you can order online to pick up! We were treated exceptionally by the owner, and although we won’t disclose what happened, the experience of working through a small problem is what will take us back there again! Just to experience true customer service along with yummy food!!!

4. For me, ‘Quiet Time’ or ‘Solitude’ or ‘Meditation’ all conjure up pictures of alone, silent, introspective, meaningful moments. My desire for these moments is to focus my thoughts toward God. Sometimes I sit and read my bible. Sometimes I walk and breathe deeply. Sometimes I have my hands in the kitchen sink and wash and pray. Sometimes I can go for days without remembering to include this spiritual discipline into my day. But, when I remember, and when I intentionally set aside time along the way, God meets me in the silence. Yesterday I tried to reinstate a time of silence, and struggled as the dog bounced, chewed, and squirmed beside me. Yet, even with that distraction, my attention was drawn to a verse that spoke to my heart about my personal journey and the character of God. So, I posted the verse on my Facebook profile, and turns out it spoke to others as well.

This is verse 11 and 12, from Psalm 139;

11 If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me
and the light become night around me,”

12 even the darkness will not be dark to you;
the night will shine like the day,
for darkness is as light to you.

As I began to read and re-read this verse, I saw something of God’s character that was new and refreshing to me. It says that God sees dark and light the same way. While I go through times of darkness, depression, doubt, despair, God sees into that place and sees light. He sees me in that light. I often lose sight of him when I’m in dark places, but he NEVER loses sight of me. What a beautiful thought to mediate on throughout my day. What a beautiful verse to bring to mind next time I am in a dark place.

5. Parents of grade 12 students in British Columbia are familiar with “Grad Transition Plans”, and the angst created by this B.C. Ministry of Education requirement. Creating a plan for the future is often complicated, especially for some 17 year olds who live and think in the now. So, while our Grad combs through University calendars, discusses and considers various options, wraps his head around financial aspects, considers future lifestyles, pros and cons, we will try to support him in putting together a firm plan for not one, but two options, for his future. I can’t help but recognize that I never truly knew what I was meant to do in life until I was 40!!! I guess this exercise is just that… an exercise that promotes planning and thinking and ensuring that the kids that graduate in B.C. have some life skills in addition to a solid education. But I wonder, how many Grads will actually follow their plan?

6. Made an apple pie on Thanksgiving with some ‘Jonagold’ apples, gleaned with thanksgiving from the orchard behind our home. Each year I ask to glean what is left behind. And each year the answer is ‘yes’, and than I bake a pie for the owner in return for his generosity to us.

The pie was lovely, Graeme used the food processor to slice the huge apples into perfectly thin slices.  Because Jonagolds are an older variety of apple, which stays together rather than turning to mush, (like Macs do) the pie looked more amazing sliced than it did whole. This pie was for our dessert after a traditional Thanksgiving turkey dinner. The pastry I made was a butter pastry, from The Canadian Living Cookbook, 1987, pg. 227. The pie recipe was from Wanda’s Pie in the Sky ‘Apple Cherry Crumble Pie’… without the cherries. It was wonderful, even if I do say so myself!

7. More of Malcolm’s photographic experiments… very cool and creative, Malcolm!