I’ve been debating for weeks whether or not to share this. This could easily be filed under the “Look How Cute My Kid Is” category, which most parents fall victim to — myself included. But I’ve thought about this at the oddest moments ever since it first happened, which tells me there’s something to it outside of the Cuteness Quotient.
A few weeks ago, on an ordinary weekday evening, my first-grade son, Henry, presented me with a handful of pages he had bound together with Scotch tape. He had written on the front page: Henry’s Poems for Fathers.
I knew he had been working on these poems. On the front of a red folder I gave him, he had written: “Henry’s pomems — privit binder.” Inside on the left pocket, on a piece of masking tape, scrawled in his own handwriting is “work in progress” and on the right side is for “finished work.” But I didn’t know he had plans for it. After he gave me the poetry collection and I thanked him, he told me it was no big deal. “I was going to have to clean out my poetry folder anyway.”
I relayed this whole story to a fellow teacher who Henry had shared these poems with. She told me that he had confided in her that he was planning to give them to me on Father’s Day.
So on this day before Mother’s Day, I can’t help but think about these little people who say “Mom” or “Dad” every 15 seconds without reason or provocation. And I can’t help but think how much my own life — after nearly 40 years — reads like a poem, penned by tiny hands and vividly illustrated with colored pencils.
I just had an unusual experience with two of the books I’m currently reading.
Ben Yagoda’s How to Not Write Bad: The Most Common Writing Problems and the Best Ways to Avoid Them is an engaging read. It seems geared for college writers, but anyone could benefit from his dead-on advice. It’s not just a reference handbook either. Yagoda drills down to clarify when necessary and manages to keep you reading. That’s not an easy feat when writing about writing.
Earlier today, I was reading Yagoda’s take on unique vs. unusual. It’s not something I’ve given much thought to: that people sometimes use unique (which means one of a kind) when they really should use the word unusual. Yagoda writes: “Nonunique unique is certainly something to be concerned with, but even worse, to me, is the now very common use of unique as a synonym for admirable, impressive, or some quality that is vaguely positive but has no other attributes.”
Then just awhile ago, I opened up Shirley Jackson’s Novels & Stories to the short story “The Rock.” Here’s the beginning of the first sentence: “Being on the water was not precisely a unique, but rather an unusual, experience for Paula Ellison …”
I haven’t finished reading the rest of the sentence yet.Read More
Thanks to everyone who pitched in to help out Gumbo Radio. Within a month, we not only reached the goal of the crowdsourcing campaign, we surpassed it by over 50%. That’s going to allow me to replace the hardware, beef up the audio quality, and redesign the entire website. There’s still more work to be done, but stage 1 of Phase Deux has officially come to an end! Thanks again.
I’ve started a crowdfunding campaign at indiegogo.com/gumboradio. Let’s raise some funds to get Gumbo Radio‘s live broadcast of Louisiana’s music back up and running. Check out the video below for more details.
I’ve been trying to lay off my rants lately about signs that drive me nuts (see Signs), but after seeing a sign at the local Home Depot that’s been up there for months, I think I’m back on the beat. There’s a few offenders I’ve been eyeballing anyway.
Now, of course, I will be the first to admit that this isn’t Grammar Depot, but is this necessary? To whom should I address my question? The Pro? Or something that The Pro possesses but which is apparently not named here?
Why even use the apostrophe at all? The Pros is perfectly fine. Sure, it might look weird, but there’s a lot that looks weird that’s right.