Welcome to whatever is on my mind!

Some people use the term "nonsense" but I prefer to use the phrase "uncommonly sensed" because it's more reflective of creative types.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

I’m Not Prejudiced. I Just Don’t Like Commas.

I recently received a draft of one of my manuscripts back from my editor. While he hasn't gotten on my case for using the word "that" too frequently, I did notice that most of the edits were to insert commas where I had left them out.

So in my defense, I’d like to clarify something:
I’m not prejudiced against commas. But I do have certain beliefs.

For example, I don’t believe that commas and other punctuation should mix in the same sentence. Commas should be allowed to exist in separate but equal sentences but other punctuation should not be forced to mix with them.

Furthermore, when commas and periods get together, the period should always be on top. This is what God intended and this union is referred to as a “semicolon.” Notice that a full colon, the stronger form of punctuation, is two periods. I don’t know what God was thinking there, but I’m sure He had a good reason for it, as commas were completely left out of the mark. Besides, Vonnegut hated semicolons, also.

I’ve also noticed that commas occasionally think too much of themselves. They get lofty ideas and turn into apostrophes. Even worse, sometimes these self-important bits of punctuation join together into pairs and become quotation marks. This is not natural. They are rising above their place in life and should be stopped.

I don’t hate commas. In fact, they're sometimes necessary. But they invade paragraphs, even when they’re unwanted. Just look at this blog post. They’re everywhere.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The Truth About Tattoos

 I recently read a book by Terry Pratchett called “Nation” in which an older man initially doesn’t trust a young boy because the boy doesn’t have enough tattoos. In that culture, tattoos mark significant life events and growth experiences, so a person’s wisdom can be easily gauged by the amount of ink on the person’s body.

So this got me thinking ... Why do some people have a prejudice against individuals with tattoos and view them as shifty or unreliable? I don’t think the view is accurate, so I’d like to set forth a few arguments against this perspective as food for thought.

First of all, I’d like to point out that the average tattoo lasts longer than the average marriage. This is a key point because it demonstrates that people with tattoos know how to make a commitment. Are you looking for a partner for the long haul? An employee who isn’t going to quit easily? Look for someone with a tattoo.

Secondly, getting a tattoo can be extremely painful. This tells me that these people can tolerate uncomfortable situations and will stick it out when others might quit. They can endure under pressure and keep their eye on the goal.

In addition, when people tell me that individuals with tattoos are unreliable, I simply laugh. Reliable is a synonym for consistent. Who would you rather trust: someone who wears the same image day after day on their skin (i.e., is consistent) or someone who changes their clothes, makeup and jewelry to appear different all the time (i.e., projects an inconsistent look)? No contest.

Finally, I’m willing to bet that very few of our politicians have tattoos and I don’t think any of us believe that they’re doing a great job. Perhaps if we elected more individuals with tattoos our country would be in better shape. At least we could learn who we were really voting for because most people with tattoos make sure that the images they permanently mark on their bodies reflect what they believe in.

Based on my conclusions, I think that people with tattoos make better employees, spouses, citizens, and (probably) elected officials.

Maybe some people without tattoos feel threatened by those who have them because people with tattoos are just better people. By the way, I don’t have any tattoos, so you may not want to trust me on this.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012


I was talking with another writer about editors and he said that his editor is always striking the word “that” from his drafts. So I’ve come up with the perfect solution:

Write a graphic novel about a super hero named THATman!

Who is THATman?
THAT hero THAT is like THAT other hero THAT rhymes with THATman THAT also wears a cape and THAT fights THAT other kind of evil whereas THATman fights THAT oppression THAT evil editors inflict and THAT uses the word THAT as much as THAT can be done in a book about THAT subject.

"How to passive aggressively get even with your editor through character definition."

The goal is obviously to cram as many “thats” on a page as possible because of the way THATman speaks and operates. But the editor can’t take them out because it’s part of who the character is. Brilliant!

THATman will also need a side kick called THATguy. He sticks out wherever he goes because he’s always saying the wrong things at the wrong time and embarrassing himself and his friends. He works as a decoy for THATman by distracting nearby people through his dumbassery (real word, FYI, since I spoke it into existence here). At parties and other events people look at THATguy's foolishness and say, “I wouldn’t want to be THAT guy). Meanwhile, no one sees THATman triumphantly place another THAT somewhere on a manuscript...

I’m seeing this as a series.
Episode One: THATman Begins
Episode Two: THAT Dark Knight
Episode Three: THAT Dark Knight Rises to Superscript
Episode Four: Comma Abuse is Morally Justified (even when the text isn’t).
Episode Five: Participles Dangling Over the Edge of Infinitives

I’m sure there’s more. But I just love THAT idea.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

The View From The Tangent

Telling me not to go off on tangents is like telling me that I can’t go home. Because I live on the tangents. That’s where all the interesting things are because they haven’t been trampled underfoot by all the people on the road of common thoughts.

I realize that there’s a place for the conventional. It serves a purpose. But not everyone needs to be there. People like me make life more interesting.

For Example, your meetings may be more productive, but my meetings are more entertaining. People actually like coming to my meetings and things still get done. However, these things are not always done in the way that you’re used to seeing them done.

Furthermore, the tangent is where all the good ideas exist. People like me are brave enough to walk out there and harvest these ideas and we don’t mind doing the work because we were made for it. Don’t forbid people who are comfortable out on the edge the ability to go there. If Thomas Edison hadn’t gone there you’d still be reading by candlelight.

New ideas can change the world. They can make us laugh. Don’t be afraid of creativity. People like me are only dangerous when you restrain us. So let us wander out to the edges of thought. It frees up space in the main thought pool for the rest of you swimming there.

Finally, some people have told me that because I think differently and enjoy life that I don’t take it seriously enough. To those individuals I have only one final thing to say:

Dance to the music while you still can, people.
Because some of you are choosing to make yourselves deaf.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Life Lessons From The Drum Show

 This past weekend I attended the Nashville Drum Show. If I had to describe this event in one word, it would be LOUD. Imagine a room with a cement floor, cinder block walls, tin roof, and hundreds of drums and drummers. Even the sales reps were wearing earplugs.

It was difficult to talk during the show, but I did see some very nice things. Check out the beautiful work on the drums in the photos in this post.

However, no matter how beautiful the drum is, what matters most is the sound and it was difficult to hear anything clearly amid all the noise.  It’s like trying to hear a conversation when there are a few hundred people shouting around you.

My husband and I talked when we left the show. He’s worked with a lot of drummers and he said that he’s found that some of them just hit as hard as they can and let the producer set the levels in the recordings (or sound guy in a live situation). Other drummers play according to the situation and adjust their volume to the size of the room, type of event, genre of music, and the people they’re playing with. In other words, some drummers pretty much do one thing: they’re very solid, lay down the beat, and let someone else make it fit. Other drummers are more collaborative in their approach and see making music as a team effort.

I think I’ve come across people who approach life from each of these perspectives, also. The ones who hit hard and let others sort it out have the ability to drive the song, but they also tend to leave a lot of broken pieces behind. The ones who adapt to the situation and adjust their playing accordingly have more friends. I don’t know if one approach is more valuable than the other, although I know which one I prefer. I know that sometimes what we need is a strong beat to help us keep going, but most of the time what we need are people who can work with us as collaborators. Those are the situations where life is most beautiful.