I started out my professional career with a red pencil in my hand at a law book publisher, working on stacks of galleys and page proofs. I had no knowledge of the law but an intuitive knowledge of proper grammar and spelling as well as a bit of an OCD compulsion. It was a winning combination.

Here’s an update on an editor’s favorites from Illustrator Grant Snider:

proofreaders-marks_sniderMore stuff here…have a go…

garfield-10_16_16Garfield by Jim Davis


One important identity that Ms. Letissier’s Christine wears is that of a dancer. As she sings, Ms. Letissier gets inside her music, punctuating the beat with a silken authority or sliding her body between notes to give her songs an unusual kind of energy. She isn’t dancing to the music; she is the music.

“Movement never lies,” Martha Graham liked to say, and Ms. Letissier’s use of dance in her videos and stage performances brings her closer to the essence of Christine. “When you dance, you own everything you have,” Ms. Letissier said. “You are really in your own body. You do it with your muscles and your bones and your weight and your height — it’s how to love yourself by moving.”

– from Christine, A Pop Star Who Sings With Her Muscles, NYT, 10/5/2016

letissier-photoHéloïse Letissier, the French pop singer-songwriter behind
Christine and the Queens.
Photo by Jeff Hahn

Video here – or click on photo above…




by Patrick McDonnell

Let’s try and stay out of trouble today…at least one of us has a chance…

Snow Geese

Oh, to love what is lovely, and will not last!
What a task
to ask

of anything, or anyone,

yet it is ours,
and not by the century, or the year, but by the hours.

One fall day I heard
above me, and above the sting of the wind, a sound
I did not know, and my look shot upward; it was

a flock of snow geese, winging it
faster than the ones we usually see,
and, being the color of snow, catching the sun

they were, in part at least, golden. I
held my breath
as we do
to stop time
when something wonderful
has touched us

as with a match
which is lit, and bright,
but does not hurt
in the common way,

but delightfully, as if delight
were the most serious thing
you ever felt.

The geese
flew on.
I have never
seen them again.

Maybe I will, someday, somewhere,
Maybe I won’t.
It doesn’t matter.
What matters,
is that, when I saw them,
I saw them
as through the veil, secretly, joyfully, clearly.

– Mary Oliver

When we say, “all of my ideas have already been had,” what we’re expressing isn’t jealousy, it’s doubt in our own creativity, in our worthiness to write about anything at all. Never mind that originality in the broadest sense is hardly possible, and never mind that the beauty of most good essayistic writing lies in the writer’s ability to both make the specific feel universal and, paradoxically, turn the commonplace into something momentarily extraordinary. When we say “I should have written that,” what we mean is “How unjust, unfair, unkind that you were faster, smarter, and more fortunate than I. How terrible that I have nothing more to offer.” We’re not amateur novelists at all, just whiners.

– excerpted from Books I Wish I Wrote: On Writerly Jealousy, by Kaulie Lewis

st-jerome_caravaggioSt. Jerome and the Angel
Simon Vouet, oil on canvas, ca. 1622/1625

Do the work. The words will out.


From the sidewalk across from 40 Verandah Place, they could look past the bars on his window, which had no shades or curtains, and see him scribbling on loose typing paper or in a massive bookkeeping ledger—not sitting at a table but standing up, using the top of an old Frigidaire as a desk.  If this posture made any sense, it was only because the man was enormous, about six feet six, “or maybe a little more” in his estimation, and no dieter either. While he concentrated on his work, his big, sulky lower lip puffed out and his eyes widened. If one of his stubby pencils wore down, he chucked it to the side and picked another one out of a coffee can. When he finished with a page—sometimes only twenty sprawling words would fit—he would push it to the floor with a meaty hand and go on. In the afternoons a young typist would come and pick the sheets off the floor, then try to put them in order and make some sense of the handwriting, which generally consisted of a first and last letter for each word, with a wavy line between the two (why waste time with the other letters?). All the while the writing continued, so that the typist would have to keep shuttling between the typewriter and the first floor around the writer’s feet.

The apartment cost sixty-five dollars a month including utilities and it contained barely more than a few busted-up pieces of furniture and haphazard piles of papers and books, with coffee cups and ashtrays dotting the landscape. It was a federally declared intellectual disaster area.

Looking at this giant who worked deep into the night, who paid no attention to personal comfort or social decorum, who drank sludgy coffee and lit cigarettes off the burning butt of the one before, those people on the sidewalk must have thought they were beholding the very image of the writer, the artist.

If they did, they were right. Thomas Wolfe fit all the stereotypes just about to a tee.

– excerpted from the chapter, A Long Way From New York: Thomas Wolfe, in Literary Brooklyn

thomas-wolfeThomas Wolfe
1900 – 1938


monday_for-better-or-worseFor Better or For Worse
by Lynn Johnston

contradiction 2


sunday choiceOn the road…again….


Rain, rain, rain today…

Video by Michel Gondry…full lyrics here (separate window)…

© Bill Israel

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