Thursday, July 31, 2008

Out of it?

Okay, what happened to July? I'm seriously feeling out of it.

But apparently I shouldn't feel out of it at all. It's come to my attention that supposedly I'm living where it's at.

Here's reason #1 I'm where it's at:

The 2010 G8 Summit is coming to a resort near me. Gack!

Here's reason #2:

Camp Rock was filmed near me. Cool!

And you can probably judge my mental age by my reactions to those tidbits of info.

(Keep in mind that when I say near, that actually means within an hour's drive. Round here that distance is like right in my backyard!!!)

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Write with Robert Munsch!

Want to help write a story started by Robert Munch and help out the cause of literacy at the same time?

During the Great Muskoka Novel Marathon, in which writers gather in a big room to get away from everday distractions and do little else but WRITE! (and raise money for adult literacy), the Muskoka Literacy Council is inviting everyone to dust off their keyboards and participate in a story relay.

So, if you're like me and at this point in time you know your family would go to that place that's apparently sometimes found in a handbasket if you were to be absent for that long, between Friday, July 11, 2008 at 8 p.m. and Monday, July 14 at 8 p.m. you too can have a little literary fun without leaving home.

Here's how the Story Relay works. Three writers have begun three separate stories. Robert Munsch has started a children's story, Mel Malton's is a mystery, and Roy MacGregor's feels a little historical. Add a word or a few sentences to the story. See what others have added. At the end of the event the authors will come back and complete their tales. Interestingly enough, while Robert Munsch is renowned as a bestselling Canadian children's author, both Malton and MacGregor have also written for kids as well as for adults.

For all the details and the how-to on participating in the Story Relay go to

Find out more background on Munsch, Malton, or MacGregor, visit each author at their website:
Robert Munsch at
Mel Malton at
Roy MacGregor at

Learn more about the Muskoka Literary Council, and the Muskoka Novel Marathon at the MNM blog.

Happy writing!

Monday, July 7, 2008

Lucky Odometer

In honour of the seventh day of the seventh month, here’s a shot from last fall of my lucky odometer. Not often you see that!

But here’s the thing: Like all things in life, everything depends on how you look at it.

This is a lucky odometer if you believe the number seven has some significance. So what's my problem?

Using my feeble math skills, these sevens mean there's only 2,223 km left in my lease agreement. So take my average km usage per month X the 10 months left to go on the lease = the fact that I seem to be, well...Robertsoned!**

**(Canadian proprietary noun: a threaded metal fastening device featuring a unique square indentation on the head. More on Robertson.)

Sunday, July 6, 2008

You might like words if . . .

. . . you own four English dictionaries, two style guides (okay, one's technically on loan), a thesaurus, a French-English dictionary and a rhyming dictionary . . .

. . . and you actually use them all.

How can I possibly use them when every computer comes with a built-in dictionary and thesaurus and often a grammar checker? Easy. There are things that the computer just doesn't catch. I do use those computer functions, but I don't rely on them exclusively.

I work sometimes as a freelance copy editor. A publication will have a house style and that includes following a particular dictionary. It goes without saying that I'd better have that same dictionary. I have never yet been told that that dictionary is Microsoft Word. I repeat, Not yet.

Words can have more than one correct spelling. The one that gets published comes down to the dictionary the publisher decides to follow. Canadian spellings freak out my computer software. Red lines everywhere! And computer dictionaries don't catch when a word's spelling depends on the meaning intended or how the word is used in the particular sentence. Think: they're, their, or there. They are all spelled correctly so a spell check wouldn't flag this as wrong: There party is they're on the street where their doing construction.

Sorting out spellings and meanings and grammar rules can be a headache. You definitely have to like obsessing about this stuff. But there's this awesome moment of triumph when you zero in on a typo and then blast it from the face of the paper or screen forever. Gotcha! Hah! You just have to hope the 95 percent rule kicks in when you miss one (you know, the one that says 95 percent of people reading it won't have noticed).

Some things I've had to wrestle with recently:

Is it raccoon or racoon?

phosphorus or phosphourus?

give away or giveaway?

awhile or a while?

through, threw, or thru?

compliment or complement?

affect or effect? (I hate that one!)

and finding the use of "jester" where "gesture" was what was needed put me in a good mood for hours.

But don't assume then that this blog is free from typos or grammar mistakes, okay? 'Cause while I try to be correct if I had to obsess over that stuff here too I'd never ever get around to posting.