Friday, October 19, 2012

Calling verbs into action!

Every Wednesday afternoon at precisely 1:00 p.m. the community sirens blare through our neighborhoods, calling our attention to the oft-chance that a tornado or other calamity should befall our towns.  It got me to thinking, what are our personal alarms? Sirens? What gets our attention? 
In grammar, there are many sirens sounding, trying to get our focus to hone in on rules and misusage of our words.
I’ve noticed one commonality in my editing tasks; the ever “present” (play on words) problem with verb tense.  Past?  Present? Future? – There are the other tenses, all important and screaming for our attention: 1) Perfect tenses – perfect present, past perfect and future perfect – 2) Progressive tenses – present progressive, past progressive (which to me seems like an oxymoron – how can the past be progressive?), and last, but not least, future progressive. 
There is also passive voice and active voice.  An example of passive voice is: “My son was scratched by the family cat.” – Example of active voice, “The family cat scratched my son.” – Very different!
I will blog more about verb tenses in the “future.”  Below is a verb exercise just for fun!
What is wrong with the following sentence? 
I “seen” a truck heading for the bicycle rider.   
Seen is the verb.
Take a closer look at the tense. 
Present perfect: have seen, has seen
Past perfect: had seen
Past Passive: I was seen, you were seen, he/she/it was seen – it all ties together.
My alarms are still under inspection for improper verb usage.  Education in one’s craft, at any age, to me, is extremely important.  I will continue to study grammar to become excellent at my editing vocation. 
What are your grammar alarms?  What are your pet peeves with the English language?
Comments welcome.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Following the Path!


Starting a new career path at sixty-seven years young is a bit “white-hair” raising, to say the least! In some circles, my “mature” age makes people say things like, “She’s washed up!” or “she’s over the hill!” – wait a minute… that is not true!  God planned all along for me to journey this route – giving me the love of words and a passion to help others.
There’s still a great deal of “yes I can!” as opposed to “no I can’t!” – with so many baby boomers headed down the retirement trail, more and more people are turning to a “second life” career.  Reinvention is a buzz word used in silver and white-haired circles frequently.
My grandmother was one of my important role models when I was growing up.  She had to support herself and two daughters as a single parent when it wasn’t considered a “normal” lifestyle.  The family apricot ranch was parceled out and she handled her portion and provided for her family as best she could.  My great-grandparents lived on the same property and were instrumental in assisting her in her day-to-day life and the raising of the children.  Divorced at a young age from my Irish Catholic grandfather, she filed charges of “abandonment” and went about trying to improve her family’s situation.  My grandfather, a World War I veteran must have been disillusioned about serving in the United States military and trying to persuade his young protestant wife that their children should be brought up Roman Catholic.  He, evidently, hastened himself back to Ireland and was never heard from again. 
Single parents back then were accepted if they were in the “widow” class.  Being a “divorcee” was frowned upon, even in the case of abandonment.  She made it through many financial and social challenges.  At the ripe age of sixty plus years, she found herself employed in a print shop and made herself valuable as their assistant and “chief bean counter.”
My mother, widowed at fifty years old, followed in her mother’s oxfords!  She had a background in journalism but at fifty, didn’t know exactly if she could launch a writing career, so she got licensed in child care.  She did very well! 
So now, it’s my turn!  A widow, retired, with a passion for words that has taken me through these many decades.  How would I use this gift?  Who could I help?  Someone out there needs my talents and I hope to build up a clientele of valuable, wonderful, creative and passionate authors. 

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

The Art of Tying Words Together

As a young girl, it always interested me how words tied together.  Guessing, that is why I was drawn to reading and writing early in life.  In my elementary school years I loved to compose poems.  It was a relationship that grew and has spanned over sixty years.  Writing articles, short stories and poems is a passion that is truly a gift from God.  He has never allowed me to turn off the “word switch.”
Now that I’ve started over again, after retirement, it seemed a good idea to “step up” my love of words and turn my eyes toward helping others get their works published.  Because of my background in customer service and my love for the “art of words,” I will strive to give people my personal touch, along with dignity, respect and compassion for the author’s written word.  Those words are tied together in a very personal way for each individual writer and their work becomes a special part of my life as I get inside the characters of the project and travel the many journeys and through exciting adventures one can only read in books.  

So I say, “Welcome” to the many authors I have yet to meet and I hope I may be a beneficial tool to assist you as you move forward to accomplishing your publishing dream.  

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Monday, September 10, 2012

Jumping aboard the "Word Train"

 The “word train” arrived at my depot when I was very young.  I enjoyed writing poems and reading at an early age.  My dad was a “word man” and was pleased with his vocabulary.  He, in turn, decided that it would be beneficial to challenge me with new words frequently.  I was told to look up a word, spell it correctly and learn the definition.  “But Daddy, if I don’t know how to spell it, how shall I look it up?”  I asked, innocently. “Ah, that is part of the challenge, my dear daughter.” And thus, “The game’s afoot!”  As they say!
Years passed and my attraction to the written word grew and in elementary school I became friends with imaginary people like, Nancy Drew, Sherlock Holmes and Tom Sawyer.  My parents presented me with a complete classic library when I was around ten or eleven.  I overcame my battle with reading comprehension and Dyslexia (which wasn’t even a recognized disorder) as I matured and moved into junior high school. 
Always a fan of diaries and journaling, it was apparent that my love of words was not diminishing, but increasing.  Thus, a “word girl” was immerging and she morphed into a bookworm.  I read mysteries, history of fascinating characters like Davy Crockett and George Washington and fantasies, as well. 
In my professional surroundings, I worked in customer service environments and like a “moth drawn to a flame,” my love of reading and writing proved beneficial.  I was editor of a quality assurance newsletter at an airline company, an assistant editor of a financial paper, and as time moved on, various online newsletters and magazines requested and published my lifestyle articles and trusted my proofreading abilities, as well. 
Summary of freelance and job related experience:
Economic Research Newsletter – Assistant Editor
American Airlines Affiliate (TSR) – Editor of the Quality Clips Newsletter
AMR (Training & Consulting Division) – Typed and Proofed documents/itineraries/expense reports/Consultant Resumes
Southwestern Diabetic Foundation – Camp Sweeney – contributor – various articles
Juvenile Diabetes Foundation – National Foundation – contributor
Southwest Airlines – Charitable Contributions Department – Composed and edited reports assigned by my manager – Promoted to Project Manager for various reports and responsible for their accuracy
Boy Scouts of America – Information Services Division – Co-edited and contributor to the “Insider” division newsletter – Online magazine – contributor
N.E. Times – Local newspaper – contributor
Destiny in Bloom – Online magazine – contributor
My Purpose Now – Online magazine – contributor
Texas Blaze – Local newspaper – proofread various projects and contributor

My mission:
To use my God-given skills to help authors achieve their dreams by presenting the most accurate copy of their manuscripts for publication, with knowledge and integrity.

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