There are some seriously bookish, utterly geeky friends who populate my little corner of the world. As you might imagine, this tends to lead to some rather odd discussions. There are probably not too many groups of people who would consider parsing when and how they use possessive terms as casual discussion over drinks. It … Continue reading Possessive


Getting Trustworthy Input

During my university years, a writing instructor made certain to drive home the point that it's extremely important to find someone you trust to read your work. Luckily for me, I married that person. Kimmy is not one to shy away from a harsh critique. After finishing a novel shortly after college, I printed it … Continue reading Getting Trustworthy Input

Swearing in the Classroom

Ji-eon approached me while I stood at the lectern. She sheepishly grabbed a  black dry erase marker and wrote “sheet” followed by the word “shit.” Her cheeks flushed in embarrassment. “How to say?” she asked. I showed her the vowel sounds and had her mimic them back to me. The i in kid or lift … Continue reading Swearing in the Classroom

Practical Writing: Prose Origami

Sometimes writing is an unencumbered joy--the words flow freely, the story unfolds smoothly, and the expression of the muse is in perfect harmony with the prose. Much of the time, writing is a creative process more akin to sculpture, where rough drafts are reworked and refined until the inner beauty is finally revealed by the … Continue reading Practical Writing: Prose Origami

English Major Confessions: Grammar Nazi

"Oh shit, don't judge me if I don't talk good," she said. We were at a party and had just met. I don't remember her name, but I remember she said it. "Well," I said. "If I don't talk well." I didn't want to let her down. A lot of people have said some variation … Continue reading English Major Confessions: Grammar Nazi

Alas, Chocolate Funeral

We worked in our university's commissary, regularly skinning fifty pounds of potatoes and slicing eighty pounds of onions and doing all sorts of extremely mundane tasks. She was Russian and very serious and never took a liking to my feeble attempts at making our job slightly more enjoyable. She was not impressed by my singing … Continue reading Alas, Chocolate Funeral

Decisions, Shapes

I remember learning the alphabet only in the vaguest way. It's safer to say that, when I learned how to spell, I had a memory of learning the alphabet. Stringing words into sentences wasn't all that tough: I just mimicked how people talked. In later years, English teachers drilled us all in proper grammar. As … Continue reading Decisions, Shapes

Foxtrot Uniform Charlie Kilo

Standing in the checkout line at the local grocery are two 22 year olds. They were married at 18. Young, the people said, but in love and not stupid (at least not that stupid) and both of them have a maturity that comes from years of self-reliance. As they step up to the register, their … Continue reading Foxtrot Uniform Charlie Kilo

Lovely Words

Foist Oxford tells us that to foist is to "impose an unwelcome or unnecessary person or thing on". Much more interesting is the example given by reference.com, "to foist political views into a news story." Bulldozer This word has a great, buzzy sound that evokes tank-like treads rumbling down the asphalt as we drive by, … Continue reading Lovely Words

Traveling Down the River

They called to us from the shore. We cruised through the Amazon in a large houseboat and watched and waved from the top deck. The villagers ran barefooted down the shore, holding up a frisbee. Our boat was about fifty feet away, but the leader of the pack ran ahead of us to stand on … Continue reading Traveling Down the River