Category: Writing

Mom & Dad’s Photos

My task is scanning and organizing their photos.
Since my parents’ deaths, we’re sifting through their belongings, deciding what to keep, what to donate, and what to sell. It feels wrong, as if they’ll come home any minute and catch us robbing them. But we know for sure that we all want copies of the family photos.
Mom and Dad kept all their photos loosely tossed in large cardboard boxes, along with…

Self-driving Cars and Avocado Toast: Welcome to AP Stylebook 2017

These are the days that we grammar freaks live for!* The Associated Press Stylebook 2017 is shaking things up with 200 changes, some of them major changes. The internet (lowercase i) is buzzing with venom as traditional grammarists duke it out with progressive grammarists, using well-written and carefully punctuated insults, while trolls stoke the fire with deliberate misspellings. It’s a maaaaaad house!

Why did it take nine years to get serious about my own writing?

My son, always looking for ways to earn a few extra dollars to fund his science projects, emerged from his (laboratory) bedroom as I emerged from my Writing Zone. We met at the (writing fuel) coffee pot, and he began his proposal.
“I see you’re making money,” he started.
“I’m not making money,” I answered.
A sound caught in his throat, as if this unexpected answer…

Avoiding Bias when Writing Descriptors

One of the biggest changes to American English in recent years is an emphasis on persons first. That is, we no longer define human beings by their descriptors. I’m not talking about Political Correctness. I’m talking about grammar.

This post is for procrastinating writers.

Manahoana, Writer Peeps! It’s been a week since I officially set aside copy writing and copy editing to focus on writing the words of my heart. My writing time seems more precious as my eyes grow out-of-focus and dimmer each day. My goal is to write…

When and When Not to Write On Spec

    Kon’nichiwa, Writer Peeps! On spec. As a writer, you’ll hear that a lot. It’s short for “on speculation,” and it means that you write an article, a short story, a screenplay, book, whatever, with no contract and no promise of publication. You send…

Top 10 Perfectly Nice Words that Sound Offensive

Peace, writer peeps! Last month’s crazy response to my using a single word (shh…it was feminist) got me thinking about David Howard, and the trouble a single word made for him. In February of 1999, David Howard, an aide to Washington DC’s then-mayor Anthony Williams,…

Functional Shifting in Grammar: Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

Hi Writer Peeps! Today’s blog is about words and phrases that usually identify as one part of speech, but step out and play another role from time to time. I like to think of these as “transgrammars.” Other grammarians–stuffy sorts–call them functional shifts. The…

In language, mob rules.

Salut, Writer Peeps! For those who forgot, and for new readers, Monday blogs are about writing and editing and books and reading and all things word related. In my house, I force my kids to listen to me lecture we enjoy lively discussions about etymology, the history of…

Hanging my head, I present The Excuse.

I ask about their progress, even when I suspect they’ve made none. I roll my eyes when they claim they’re too busy to write. I stare down pre-published hopefuls and demand, “You make the time!” In short, I’ve been kind of a bully–but I hope in a benevolent, head-matron kind of way.
Now it’s my turn to hang my head and mumble, “I’ve been dealing with a lot of stuff.”

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A personal blog by John Parsons, author of the Hebrew for Christians web site.

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My tongue is the pen of a ready writer. Psalm 45:1

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