This post by Peter Richardson is wild. I considered doing something like this a few years ago but A) the tech didn’t exist / wasn’t easily accessible, and B) I’ve been sort of afraid of how deep the rabbit hole is.
People think that serial / “Oxford” commas should be an optional style thing. But if you’re writing for the web, please use it.
Here’s an example of a sentence without a serial comma:
Please bring Jack, your brother and your uncle to the party
And an example of a sentence with a serial comma:
Please bring Jack, your brother, and your uncle to the party
First point: the second sentence makes it much clearer that Jack isn’t some questionable relative and that you’re meant to bring three people to the party.
Second point, and more the point of this post: the sentence with the serial comma is much more intelligibly read by screen readers, particularly when content is being read quickly.
Use the serial comma!
Even though I’ve said to you that she hardly ever wrote a full-page poem, I know of one that I think relates to writing. And I’d like to read that if I could. I happen to have a copy of it. As far as I know it’s never been published, but I’ve kept Ursula’s poems from our group and I remember this one very well. And I think it relates to our discussion about writing.
It’s called The Practice.
That was writer Molly Gloss introducing
and reading one of Ursula K. Le Guin’s unpublished poems that she kept from when they were in a small poetry writing group together. This was in conversation with David Naimon on his podcast Between the Covers in the 10 February 2022 episode “Crafting with Ursula: Molly Gloss on Writing the Clear, Clean Line”, at 42:04.
Check out the podcast to listen to the poem in full.
GC shared this podcast episode with impeccable timing, as always.
Edit 29 Jan 2023: The original version of this post had a transcribed version of Le Guin’s poem. But it was pretty presumptive of me to publish it here considering Le Guin had decided not to publish it in her lifetime. Finally got round to removing it today.
I really recommend listening to the podcast in general, but also of course to hear the poem. If for some reason you can’t listen to the podcast but still want to hear it, just email me. I do still have it written down privately.
Really need to make a habit of reading something that makes me giggle before bed. It sort of sets the day straight.
I’m reading He Used Thought As A Wife, Tim Key’s first lockdown book. It’s perfect. Funny, poignant, captures so many of the absurdities of the first lockdown in the UK. Also the title is perfection, though I didn’t really get it until I got going.
This is the part that made me giggle last night. It’s the middle of a vignette titled “Book Arrangements”, the designer of this book speaking with him about his progress on said book.
JUNIPER: Get anything down today?
Key approaches the SodaStream, strokes its shoulders and smashes a flask up it. Bubbles and a honk. Infinitesimal animated prisms are released into the air, kissing themselves to death and falling to the counter. Key pours the magic into his Simpsons mug.
KEY: I’ve placed my books in order of how many pages they’ve got in them.
Key nods at what he has said.
JUNIPER: You should be writing.
KEY: Well, I did that in the end.
JUNIPER: How does it look?
KEY: Unbalanced, I feel like my lounge is going to tip over.
JUNIPER: Richard E. Grant has his arranged by spine colour.
JUNIPER: So you’ve not made a start then?
KEY: You listen to Five Live enough, you start to believe it’s fine to do fuck all.
JUNIPER: It is Tim.
Ugh, kind of regretting writing that down here because reading back through it, the humor is gone without the context. Leaving it in since it took a few minutes to format.
Just read the book, it’s great.
On Dead Writer Besties, by Alexandra Molotkow from The Hairpin
It’s like realizing that there’s a garden when you’d only been shown one rose.
See also: Hazlitt Magazine, “a home for writers and artists to tell the best stories about the things that matter most to them” (Molotkow is a senior editor); The Female Quixote by Charlotte Lennox (free on Google Books and Girlebooks); Those Who Write for Immortality by Heather Jackson (available via Yale University Press).
Researching the definition/concept of a construct (in science, in philosophy, in art) and came across a listing for On new constructs in art by Ernest Edmonds in the publications section of the compArt | center of excellence digital art database. Need to take a closer look at this database, they’re currently drawing attention to the early phase of digital art (roughly 1950 to 1980).
Read “This Is Water” by David Foster Wallace (via Some weekend reading post on kottke.org).
I grew up in California but moved away in mid-2010 to the UK for a postgrad at Central Saint Martins. Recently, I had the opportunity to visit San Francisco with my partner. It had been almost five years since I was last in the state.
I had a great time showing him some of my favorite things in San Francisco, discovering new favorites, seeing family and friends. California was as beautiful as I remember, perhaps more so. I didn’t realise just how much I had missed the environment, the fog and the wildlife. A couple of friends and I happened to visit Ocean Beach on an overcast day when thousands of bright indigo jellyfish-like creatures washed up on shore. I spent an afternoon walking the trails through Mt. Sutro with a good friend, passing California poppies, Pepper trees, serpentinite boulders, eucalyptus, mountain irises, hummingbirds, columbines, poison oak.
However, a few of the more disappointing aspects of Californian life have lingered in my mind since returning to the UK, things that I rarely noticed (or maybe more accurately, tried to ignore) when I was living in the Bay Area.
One moment from our trip sticks out in particular.
Jane Howarth’s beautiful bird guts and a rant about lousy artist statements
Very enjoyable blog, and a particularly enjoyable post by the writer.