Monday, August 22, 2005

on details and mindnumbing tedium

perhaps the reason why i post so much unedited stuff, is because i spend so much time attending to the details of others' writing that i haven't the stomache to mess with mine.

i spent hours this past week, all told, about 20, here and there, some successive, but many hours tweaking a newsletter i edit for our homeschool group. the deadline is the 15 and i'm still getting, "can you fit this in?" emails.

uh, no, i can't.

formatting is a feat of momentous proportions at times. making something pleasing to the eye is more than just cut and paste, it is lining stuff up, balancing pages, and placing pleasing neutral spaces (which people complain about as being a "waste" of space).

when i see newsletters jammed from cover to cover with stuff. crazy with fonts, like some hyde came in late and changed them all, it overwhelms me. i am for three fonts, maybe four (i like vivaldi for offsetting quotes. when i do a newsletter i try to put inspirational quotes in, when told this is another "waste of space" i reply, inspiration is cheap. many times i've read this newsletter and gotten nothing out of it. if there were something to inspire me, then that is something after all).

i guess all this playing with lines and hyphens, abbreviations and symmetry makes me do strange things to my own works. i like to see poetry left justified, or if centered upon the page, done so without center justification. but i think this is a distinction most don't even contemplate. there is no reason to annihilate formatting of a poem just to center it upon the page. center justification alters the poem. center aligning a poem resets the poem in the center of the page without disrupting layout.

when i am editing for friends, when i am reading a book--currently i have a poetry book and i notice the apostrophes are different although baskerville old face (a favorite font of mine) was employed, there is not a follow through of curly apostrophes. the straight quotes or apostrophes are called "dumb," just like the one's used here on blogger. but the curly ones, those lovely little whisps off-setting words and phrases with their delicate curls, now those are the ones you want dotting your prose.

and while i'm on the subject, your free editing lesson of the day is:
hyphens are for line breaks, word-mating and the like.
M-dashes (shortcut: Ctrl+Alt+Num-) are for interjections, interruptions, there are no spaces preceding or following M-dashes provided they are not interrupting lines of type like: "quick beforeM-dash"
N-dashes (shortcut: Ctrl+Num-) are for the conjunctions between verses of scripture (i.e. john 1:2N-dash5 <--i am limited here and can't show you).

these tedious little things no one sees or notices pop out at me when i am reading a book. i can't read poorly edited books without approaching them as an editing project. i seem to have the compulsion these days to comment on the works friends' give me.

yet my work limps and swaggers like a drunk in the gutter. go figure.

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