Monday, November 28, 2005

Loved "Into Thin Air"

I just finished reading "Into Thin Air," and it was great. It's a quick read. I didn't want to put it down once I started, but turkey and relatives conspired against me. More tomorrow after I've gotten some sleep and adjusted my caffiene levels.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Sour Grapes

I found the following misspelled silliness on the blog of a previously-mentioned atrocious writer:

Arrogance seems to have creped into the writing world and instead of helping people improve their writing, some writers only critique people based on grammar and spelling.

The blog goes on to refer the reader to an article written by the author. Here is the opening of the article:

Too much emphasis is put on the structure, grammar, and spelling in writing. People need to look past all the mechanics of writing.

Um, yeah, that's like saying an engineer doesn't need to worry about math or a doctor about anatomy. There is definitely more to good prose than just spelling and grammar, but you can't have good prose without them.

Have you ever noticed that the people who complain the loudest about too much emphasis on spelling and grammar are the ones who are the worst at it? Sounds like sour grapes to me.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Happy Turkey Day...

faithful readers. I hope you all take this time to relax, eat lots of food, and read a few good books. My nightstand currently has:

"Blood, Tin, Straw" by Sharon Olds


"Into Thin Air" by Jon Krakauer

I've got tomorrow off, so with a four day weekend and a stocked fridge, I ought to be able to finish both these books. Unless, of course, it gets sunny and and then I'm going to have play outside with my dogs.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Half Full or Half Empty?

NaNoWriMo is half over, and I’m half way to 50,000 words. So far, so good.

The process has been interesting so far. Because of the pace of the writing, you can’t take time to worry about the quality of the prose. It’s all about quantity, baby, quantity! But I have found that as I am typing along at break-neck pace, all of a sudden something wonderful shows up on the screen. I’ll stop for a moment to read it and think, “Hey, that’s pretty good.”

It reminds of something that Anne Lamott says in “Bird by Bird”. The following excerpt is from the chapter titled, “Shitty First Drafts”:
There may be something in the very last line of the very last paragraph on page six that you just love, that is beautiful or wild that you know you’re supposed to be writing about, more or less, or in what direction you might go—but there was no way to get to this without first getting through the first five and a half pages.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Portrait of a Narcissist – Part Two

In a previous post, I discussed my run-in with Rose DesRochers, owner of This post contains the story of my friend’s—I’ll call her Mary—experiences at

In March 2005, Mary joined, unaware of Rose’s reputation. Rose was billing all over the Internet as something like “the #1 poetry web site”, and Mary thought it might be a good place to get to know other poets. After joining, Mary looked around, read some of the poetry and articles, and posted a few times in the forums.

She immediately noticed that traffic to the web site appeared to be minimal despite advertising claims. This didn’t bother her too much, though, because everyone exaggerates in advertising. She also had trouble with slow loading pages even though she was accessing the site on a new (and fast) computer. Her e-mail to tech support regarding this issue was ignored or lost.

She decided not to post any of her own poetry because of the site’s terms of use, which she admits she should have read before joining and which let the site owners create deriviative versions of posted works without compensation to the owner of the work. Yikes! Talk about unfair to writers.

Then one day, Mary attempted to clarify something that Rose had posted in the forums (at that time, Rose’s posts made up 80-90% of all posts in the forums). Rose claimed that was a scam. Mary explained that isn’t technically a scam because people who buy’s anthology, get one. It’s chock full of bad poetry, but it’s still a book. Mary also make it clear, though, that she agreed with Rose that site preyed on aspiring poets and was a good place to avoid.

The next time, Mary tried to log in, she found out that her IP address was banned and she could not access the site. In one of her several later e-mails to Mary, Rose said that she had decided that Mary was just there to “reek [sic] havoc.” So apparently if you disagree with Rose at all, you are a trouble-maker.

All in all, Mary got off pretty easy. She didn’t end up with an Inbox full of hateful and ungrammatical e-mails, and she didn’t lose the rights to any of her work (which, in my opinion, is wonderful).