Monthly Archives: February 2019

Jeopardy fan (except for the punctuation).

The Oxford comma debate is a juicy one, but one I prefer to back away from. As a trained journalist, I’m happy to stand with my peeps and just say “no,” but I also recognize that it’s sometimes needed for clarity and in those cases, I’m not against dropping the curly punctuation mark behind the second to last of a serial list and moving on.

Am I a wimp for not caring deeper? Perhaps, as I understand it’s even a compatability category on Tinder. After all, how could an Oxford comma aficionado possibly match with a journalistic hold-out in the game of love (or friendly benefits, if that’s what you’re in to?) Fortunately for me, I’m positive Tom Florence has no opinion at all about its necessity in this world, likely doesn’t even know what the Oxford comma is, and would think I’m insane if he knew I was using up gray matter to blog about it. (See what I did there? I usually do add one in for long, wordy and drawn-out sentences. And hence no comma after wordy… Am I getting too wordy, by the way?)

I take issue with Jeopardy however.TswiftJeopardy

Commas and periods always go inside quotation marks. It’s a very simple and basic rule, and yes, Brits make some exceptions, but in the USofA, commas and periods always go inside the quotation marks.

“The end,” she said.

So why does Jeopardy do it wrong?

I’m certain they’ve heard the complaints. It sticks in my craw every time I see it. It should be 2009’s BEST FEMALE COUNTRY VOCAL WENT TO HER FOR “WHITE HORSE,” WHERE… (and no real need to be catty with the rest, Jeop writers.)

Is anyone else out there bugged by this? Please don’t suggest I just let it go because it’s been stewing for as long as I’ve been watching Jeopardy, and I’m pretty sure I still had braces then.

Instead, just let me know if it also bugs you. And if it doesn’t, what does? Where do you stand on the Oxford comma debate? Who has it right about quotation mark placement— the British or the Americans? Does TSwift rock? Should grammar nerds seek love on Tinder?

Girlfriends of the Monkees.

We played it for weekends at a time. Quite possibly one entire summer.

I was Davy’s girlfriend, and God knows why, my girlfriend name was “Dolly.” We packed suitcases for the concert tours, warded off crazy backstage fans, went on dates in planes and trains and fancy cars, and surfed on a plank between two chairs in my bedroom while our famous, visible-only-to-true believers, boyfriends surfed behind us.

Of course, Davy was a good pick, arguably the cutest, the most popular and got the most vocals, but the real truth? My friend Melinda picked first.

thHad she not called Peter Tork before I had the chance, I would have picked Peter. He was taller, a little goofier and had a dimple that looked a lot like mine. I never told Melinda, but I thought we were a better match. Plus, though we were only 12 or 13, but I already had a good four inches on Melinda, so it would have been a simple, natural, sensible trade.

Davy’s gone. Now Peter. Oh, I could hide ‘neath the wings, Of the bluebird as she sings, The six-o’clock alarm would never ring.

Thanks for the memories, adorable Peter Tork. And for the goofy Saturday morning ventures, singable lyrics and songs that sounded especially spectacular when singing into the industrial-sized propeller fan in Melinda’s basement. And give Davy my regards. He’ll probably remember me by my frosted pink Max Factor lipstick “borrowed” from my mother and my Heaven Sent cologne.

Feeling my way around the author world.

For those of you who have attended my A Novel Idea event, you know this: There are a kazillion (an exaggeration, but still you’d be surprised) number of local authors out there. I book six authors each month to talk for 10 minutes each about their published books at Crema, a Dunwoody coffee shop, and I could double that with the number of requests I have to participate.

For me, it’s a way to integrate myself into the author world; meet others like me; share tips and ideas; and feel, for a moment, like an on-the-cusp-of-famous author.

Truth is, we are all looking for the same thing: a means to share our stories and find readers for our work. For the past few years, it’s been my goal is to take a class and attend one writer’s retreat every year, and it always turns out to be some of my favorite days each year.

ReunionofSaintsfrontonlyI’m in the thinking mode for Novel No. 3; working title: Reunion of Saints. I’ve written about 14,000 words (a novel is usually around 80,000+) and I have a good start and a good outline, but I haven’t yet hit that surge where I can’t stop telling my story. Stupidly, and against all good-use-of-time logic, I’ve even designed a cover idea. It’s the story of four girls who meet at a fictional Catholic college in Georgia in the early ’80s. They solidify their friendship freshman year while on a rafting trip on the Chattooga River with a UGA fraternity.

Their friendship remains solid and though they all go their separate ways, they stay close over the years via Round Robin letters they share. Twenty years later, they come together for a week-long reunion and take a second rafting trip down the Chattooga. This trip, though, is much different from the first.

BTW, the next A Novel Idea is scheduled Tuesday, March 5, which happens to also be Fat Tuesday. Let me know if you need more details. It’s free and fun.


Parameciums, hypotenuses and the aftermath.

What’s your favorite word?

I like serendipity, hootenanny and ubiquitous. I think rainforest is cool. And I can totally groove on groovy.

I dont’ like phlegm, mucus, aftermath or stool. And as far as products go, just hearing the words Kaopactate and Quarter Pounder sends me retching.

UnknownParameciums and hypotenuse are two words I distinctly remember branding into my brain when I was in high school. Not just because they were fun to say, but because I learned what they were and knew I’d never forget. I didn’t, but I can’t recall either has ever come in handy in conversation since. In fact, parameciums aren’t even what they were then. We were taught that they were the smallest single-cell organisms on earth, and since that time I think scientists have found about 40 billion smaller things. I still like hypotenuse, though. If I ever get a goldfish, I might name it Hypotenuse.

Some people don’t like moist. I can live with that one, though if I think about it too hard, it takes me back to a nasty-ass hotel room I stayed in once.

Ass is another word I kind of like. Mostly used like above. It’s a good suffix to words like crazy- and silly- and big-, as in “That’s a big-ass cupcake.”

Aftermath is without question my least favorite.  It never describes anything but terror or destruction. By definition, I suppose it could be used to describe what happens after something good, i.e., the aftermath of the sunshine and spring rainfall brought out the tulips, but I’ve never heard it used that way.

What’s your favorite and least favorite words?

Sneak peek at my Valentine to you.

VDaymemeBe the first to know… I’m offering a free download for “Three of Cups” on Thursday!

Speaking of Valentine’s Day, I have some random thoughts:

Once—I think it was Mrs. Sanders’ 4th grade—we had a substitute teacher the week of Valentine’s Day. We’d all brought in empty Kleenex boxes so that we could decorate our Valentine’s mailboxes, and on the day of decoration, we had the sub.

I covered my box with pink construction paper and the substititute teacher thought that was dumb. She pretty much said so.

“Red is for Valentine’s Day,” she said. “Not pink.”

I didn’t try to come up with a reply, because I thought she was kidding. Pink is the closest color to red. It’s a desaturated version. Pink is a tint of red, vs. maroon or burgandy, which is a shade. Add white=tint. Add black=shade. I wanted pink construction paper to backdrop my Valentine’s box that I added hearts cut with Mrs. Sanders’ pinking shears and paper doilies edging out the opening to. I thought it was fabulous.

She wasn’t kidding though. She really thought that my design was dumb. So dumb that she felt it necessary to tell a 4th grader so. I don’t know why I remember that, but I do.

I remember something else too.

My friend Debbie had a boyfriend named Jeff. He gave her a box of candy conversation hearts for Valentine’s Day and she shared them with me on the bus. They tasted terrible. We figured out— and the next day he confirmed— that he’d sprayed the box of candy (no Cellophane, by the way. It was a long time ago.) with his mother’s perfume. Chanel No. 5, I think. We could taste it.

Download the book here: