My Ohio State vs. Michigan memories – monks

Tibetan Monks love the Buckeyes

I’ve spent more than a few holidays away from home: Easter in Bangladesh, 4th of July in Guatemala, Halloween in Thailand, and Ohio State vs. Michigan in Nepal living with monks.

Ohio State vs. Michigan might not be a holiday to you, but then you must not be from Ohio or Michigan.

Yesterday’s game, which OSU won, reminded me of being in Kathmandu watching the evening news with my monk friends. The news is kind of boring when you don’t know what the heck they’re saying. So, when images of Columbus, Ohio, erupting in riots following a particularly heated OSU vs. Michigan game flashed across the screen, I perked up.

“Isn’t that where you are from?” Asked my buddy Dorjee Lama.

“Yep.”

Then silence…

Read More >
 
Add a comment

A salute to all of my former, current, and future editors

It’s great having someone actually think about a story that you wrote and how it could be made more poignant, powerful, gooder, or more grammaticarularly written. I could always use a good editor or two.

When I first sent the piece on Fantasy Kingdom to Judy at the Christian Science Monitor, she liked it but thought it was missing something. Why would someone take 20 kids in Bangladesh to an amusement park? I didn’t have an answer. In my original piece, I wrote about the fun we had and about our imbalanced world, but I never answered the question that was the most obvious.

I added the bits about me being a roller coaster enthusiast (roller coasters rule in Ohio) and wrapped it up with an answer to Judy’s question. I sent it back to her that same day and she accepted it. This is one of the favorite things I’ve written in awhile and it wouldn’t be if it weren’t for Judy.

An interesting tidbit of editing: The CSM changed the tense of my story from present to past. I much prefer to write in the present tense and find it interesting that they changed it. I picture some editor’s assistant cussing me as he turns all my say’s into said’s. I don’t mind the changes. I just feel bad for the fella that had to make them. See if you think it makes a difference. Read the present tense version below the cut.

The first time I ever got paid for something I wrote, it was for this. I sent in my story unsolicited. They accepted it. Edited it and sent it back. And by editing here, they made it way worse. Trust me, it was no gem to begin with, but they were making things up that never happened and arranging them in a fashion that, if they had happened, still made no sense. My words aren’t precious, even less so now that I’ve written a lot more of them, and I don’t want anyone thinking I’m some kind of wordsmith lost in the glory of my craft, each stroke of the keyboard one of genius. I weighed my options and politely told them their edit was crap, putting in danger my first writing payday of…(wait for it)…$20. They were reasonable to work with and thankfully, we found some common ground.

I’m sure in publishing circles editors get credit and blame, but to the average reader they don’t. They are a name on a masthead or in the acknowledgments, toiling away behind the scenes, trying to make things not suck.

And really, is there anything more admirable than making things not suck?

Read More >
 
Add a comment
Read More >
 
Add a comment

What do you read on the John

Atop my tank is Zen: Images, texts, and teachings

For those moments when I’m truly full of crap.

Here’s a sample:

Mumon’s poem

In front of a fool
talk of no dream.
The foreigner has no beard:
it is adding stupidity to clarity.

Read More >
 
Add a comment

Is this blog to bookish?

Because I’ve been told my proposal’s sample chapter are to bloggish?

Which is the reason I haven’t blogged today. I’ve been busy debloggifying the sample chapter. Actually, I think (hope) it’s just a matter of rearranging some of the sample chapter to giving it a longer format. It shouldn’t take more than a couple days to get it looking nice and bookish.

Editors are liking the WAIW? idea; I just need to keep tweaking the sample….

Read More >
 
Add a comment

Fake Reporter or Tourist with a microphone?

It depends on who’s asking?

If it’s the Chinese government, I’m a tourist with a microphone.

China is cracking down on “fake” reporters and is famously wary of foreign journalists. Seeing how I didn’t have a press pass or any type of credentials with me whatsoever, and opted not to apply for a journalist’s visa because I probably wouldn’t be able to get one, this made me somewhat nervous during my recent visit.

I don’t work for any media outlet. I work for me. If I don’t find anything interesting, and I don’t write about it in a way that someone deems publishable, I’m not a reporter. If I do, I refer to myself as a writer, anyhow. The difference between writer and reporter is…

Read More >
 
Add a comment
Read More >
 
Add a comment

Website(s) of the week

Being a newbie to the world of literary agents, editors, and publisher, I’ve found the following blogs offered some insight:

Miss Snark – Written by an unanimous agent, Miss Snark, seems to call it like it is. Her snarkiness came to an end in May of this year, but this is still a great place to search for publishing questions and etiquette.

Pub Rants – The Glinda-the-Good-Witch to Miss Snark’s Wicked-Witch, agent Kristin based out of Denver offers tips and mini-workshops.

Editorial Ass – In a similar vein as Miss Snark, this editorial assistant takes readers behind the scenes of a publishing house….

Read More >
 
Add a comment
Read More >
 
Add a comment

On Strike

To show support for my writing brethren, I’m going on strike.

I’ll be back tomorrow.

But by God I’m not writing another letter the rest of the day, in fact, I’m not even going to finish this sente…

Read More >
 
Add a comment