Friday, January 27, 2017

New Feature! Janny's Word Wrestling Makes Its Debut!

Yes, it gives me great--or at least a modicum of--pleasure to introduce something that I hope will be helpful here. While I also know that there are 3,276 "grammar" or "word" sites online, where you can look these things up at your leisure, let's face it. They're not nearly as entertaining as I am. Right?

So without further ado (do you? ah don't), enjoy the first installment of what I hope will be a partial curative for one of my pet peeves...word misuse.  Each week, I plan to take a pair like this and expound (briefly) upon the differences. We'll cover all kinds of things that most writers, Word's Grammar and Spellcheck primary among them, get WRONG with astonishing regularity, causing much gnashing of teeth and tearing of hair. This has to stop for two reasons: my dental bill, and what little hair I have left. we go.

First batch: discreet versus discrete.

Yes. They are two discrete things, and if you misuse them, you're not being discreet about your treatment of the language.

Here's the scoop from

"Discreet implies the showing of reserve and prudence in one's behavior or speech. Discrete means something quite different: 'distinct, separate, unrelated.'"

I cannot tell you how seeing this difference ignored in published authors' works (I'm looking at you, Elizabeth Spann Craig) irritates me. And I know there are many other authors out there who've made this mistake over and over and over again. Which says to me two things:

1. You don't know what you don't know.

2. Your editors don't know it, either.

And yes, it does matter. There are something like 400,000 words in the English language; learning the difference between pairs of them that sound and/or look alike but are actually very different in meaning makes you a better communicator. It makes your work say what you intend it to say. And most of all, it keeps people like me from denting walls, the aftereffect of tossing a book against the wall in frustration. (With a Kindle, tossing the "book" against the wall could do even more damage. Making me, your dear reader, even more frustrated. You don't want to go there.)

So DISCREET about the DISCRETE things you cover in your writing and speech. Or face the flying Kindle. 

You're welcome.

Watch this space for another segment next Friday!



Thursday, January 26, 2017

There's Actually A Degree of Comfort... realizing that I don't have a lot of followers for this blog...yet. I can expound on what I choose, and it doesn't immediately get thrown to the wolves like it does on Facebook and so many other places. And I especially like that because, as wolves go, the ones who hang out on social media tend to shoot first and ask questions later. 

Which, as we know, is not generally a way to make friends and influence people.

(And I ought to know about THAT.)

But it will be better, in the long run, if I do get more followers for Good Stuff. Such as writing insights, or even recipes. Hah! So...more posts will be coming this year. A writer needs somewhere to rant, after all. :-)

More to come!

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

"Creative" Isn't a Political Viewpoint. Got It?

A brief word. 

PLEASE, if you run a group, newsletters, or such to which I subscribe and/or belong because of my trade, HEAR THIS and hear it well:

I am a creative person. That being said, however, let's also  talk about what I am NOT: namely, wringing my hands in agony and/or embittered, angry, or terrified  over the direction the country is now taking.

In a word?  Um. No. Much to the contrary, in fact...I'm dancing-in-the-streets DELIGHTED, actually.

"But how can this BE?" you wail. Simple. 

I'm a creative. I'm also a conservative.  And yes, Snowflake, they can go together.

It is extremely prejudicial to assume that because someone is an artist, a writer, or a musician, that he/she is also allied with the mindset of so many of you who consider yourselves cultural "elites."  I'm from one of those "flyover states" you're so fond of either ignoring or disparaging...and I'm proud to be. I hold to traditional values, unapologetic religious faith, and a worldview that  seems to either scare or repulse many of you. I'm also an award-winning fiction writer who's helped countless people realize their writing dreams, a singer and performer who loves to be onstage, and a proud parent of a young lady who is truly gifted in ceramics. Among other things. 

If you hate the first part of my description but love the second, and wonder how those two can coexist...? This is just a guess, but...maybe because ARTISTIC ABILITY is a totally different sphere than POLITICS?

I know. It's a wild and crazy idea. But...imagine for a second...if it's TRUE. (Spoiler alert: it is.) Pretty darned progressive notion, isn't it?

This isn't to say that both of these things aren't part of me. Of course they are. The WHOLE is what I am. But one does not preclude, cancel out, or negate the other. I'm not "stupid" or "uncreative" by being a conservative, and YOU're not "wise" and "enlightened" by NOT sharing my views. We just differ. Period.

This should not be difficult to understand.

Intelligent people know what you DO doesn't constitute the sum total of  who you ARE; it seems to me that creative people should be able to separate, and appreciate, the dichotomy of those aspects better than almost anyone else. How many of us wait tables before that "big break"? Are we career food service people? Nope. Had we better make sure we're GOOD food service people while we ARE doing it? Well, yeah, unless we want to be living examples of "starving artists." 

Just as we're not deemed  "less artistic" simply because part of us is engaged in keeping a roof over our heads and food on the table,  I should not be considered "less creative" or "less intelligent" for holding a worldview that's different from what you might expect. I'm being truly, authentically me. Which is what creativity also hinges on, if I'm not mistaken. 

Creative people don't like being pigeonholed, no matter how comfortable and reassuring you may  find the particular hole in which you'd like to think you can stuff me. :- ) Stop trying. Because, I promise ain't gonna work.

More to the point, however, it's just not right.

So if I'm supposed to "live and let live," then I should be treated with the same courtesy. Yes, even if I'm (gasp!) conservative. 

Go on. Try it. It'll be a good creative exercise for you. And I promise, it won't hurt a bit.