It’s come to my attention that my banner is cut off on the right on mobile devices. I’d really like to fix this problem before A to Z rolls around, so I’d appreciate any advice on resizing or shifting text. The default size for this template is 1100 by 250. At the moment, I don’t know if switching to a new template is something I want to do.
What I’m Reading
I finished reading The Chameleon in the Closet, a book self-published some years back by local woman B.J. Rosenfeld. It’s about how her two sons became Orthodox when they were at university. The older son went Hareidi (i.e., ultra-Orthodox) and is today one of those full-time kollel (adult yeshiva) students in Israel, while the younger one seems more Modern Orthodox machmir (strict). It’s obvious the younger one and his wife aren’t Liberal Modern Orthodox, which is where I’d like to eventually end up.
As much as I enjoyed the book, the apparent lack of a copyeditor was very distracting. There were so many obvious punctuational, grammatical, and formatting errors, along with a lack of contractions, overuse of “that,” inappropriate God-mode (e.g., “Little did Name know that someday….”), overuse and misuse of adverbs, redundancies (e.g., “shrugged his shoulders”), “As you know, Bob” dialogue, etc. If you’re self-publishing, and your grammar and technical writing skills aren’t beyond-impeccable, you kind of really need to bring in another set of eyes after your final draft!
On a less technical note, I found it really chutzpahdik how her older son cut the Internet and cable when his family visited one time, and then she actually apologised to HIM for getting upset. It’s her house! He doesn’t make the rules when he’s the guest! It was also kind of weird how both of her daughters-in-law called her Mom. I’d never be able to use that word for anyone but my own blood mother. It just seems disrespectful and unnatural, and I’d say that to any potential MIL who wanted me to call her Mom.
What I’m Writing
Past all initial guesstimates, I’m up to 885,000 words in Journey Through a Dark Forest. I revised the table of contents one final time, so there are now 120 chapters plus the Epilogue. Chapter 118, “Old Wounds Finally Healed,” had been slated as the last chapter, but a natural, perfect ending developed, and I wanted it to stay focused on Lyuba and Ivan instead of sprawling out to include a bunch of other storylines as well. That way, it stayed at mid-length (by my standards). I’ve now finished Chapter 119, “Blossoming New Beginnings.”
When researching UC–Berkeley’s 1948 commencement date, I was really excited to discover none other than President Truman gave the commencement address! Like Katrin, I felt his speech shouldn’t have been so political, but that was still an awesome detail to discover. It’s not about a speech being liberal vs. conservative, what a particular issue is, or even if I might agree with a POV. A commencement speech isn’t really an appropriate venue to get political, as I remember from the horrid speaker at my junior high graduation.
My goal for next week is to finish Chapter 120!
What Works for Me
Never go into a huge, sprawling saga without notes and/or an outline. I’m already starting to make tentative chapter-by-chapter notes for my future fourth Russian novel. I used such notes for the first three volumes, and couldn’t have done it relying just on memory and imagination. It helps to keep even a deliberately long book more focused instead of flying all over the place. Even when new characters and storylines organically arise, they’re still based off the same general outline.
What Else I’ve Been Up To
I volunteered at the local food bank on Monday night, and it was a really nice surprise when we were responsible for making up boxes of pet supplies. Humans aren’t the only ones who need food and other supplies when they fall on hard times! We sorted and packed kitty litter, pet food, birdseed, toys, aquaria and their ephemera, substrate, treats, medicine, leashes, lint brushes, etc.
I’ve also recently discovered RealOldies on IHeartRadio, and it’s such a relief to have a real oldies station to listen to again. It sounds just like 98.3 was many, many, many, many moons ago, before they changed over from about 1955–73 to 1975 onwards, with barely a pre–1970 song in sight. All these songs I haven’t heard in years were instantly recognised. It’s been particularly exciting to finally hear Fifties songs again, like Buddy Holly and The Everly Brothers. I suddenly love that era of early rock a lot more than I probably ever have.