Margaret Shertzer’s “The Elements of Grammar”

I previously reviewed Arthur Plotnik’s “The Elements of Editing” and Strunk and White’s “The Elements of Style”, both of which are worthy reads. Shertzer’s The Elements of Grammar was the third of the three volume set I purchased years ago and finally sat down to read.

First, it’s a quick read. At least I found it so, and perhaps because I still remember Mrs. Woodbury’s 4th grade class in which grammar played a major role.

My volume is from 1986 (I mentioned years ago, right?) and is based on a 1950s text. I was fascinated by how much grammar rules have changed, and anthrolinguists should give this a good read as it shows language shifts recognizable in retrospect. Case in point, “like,” as in “So he said, like…”

It did clear up several confusions I had in my own work (mostly because I remember what I was taught – good job, Mrs. Woodbury! – and some editors are more current in their grammar than I). It still serves as a good general reference. Examples:
Continue reading “Margaret Shertzer’s “The Elements of Grammar””

15 Days of Harveys Day 10 – Me! Four Flash Pieces

Yes, I’m blessed! Harvey Duckman Presents Volume 8 has four flash sized pieces from me (but be warned, Harvey doesn’t like the term flash.

It’s a Man’s World

 
“Where are you going?”
Susan’s face softened but she looked away.
All the women in the neighborhood were dressed in what we use to all “Easter Sunday” clothes; light dresses, bright, Spring colors of sky blues and yellows and whites, some with flower prints with big roses or tulips or daffodils or morning glories or black-eyed susans and all with long, lush green vines wrapping around them. All of them wearing wide-brimmed sun hats, many with scarves tying their hats around their chins. A few wore sunglasses. All had nice big purses, lots of different colors but most of them white, white cloth gloves covering their hands and all of them in either tasteful heels or flats. Nobody wore stilettos or CFMs of any kind.

Lessons Learned

They stood, coffee cups in hand, staring out the kitchen window. The radio switched from the news to two DJs joking about the lead story: an extraordinary meteor shower that wouldn’t be seen locally due to heavy cloudcover.
He leaned forward, resting his elbows on the sink. “Turn that down, would you, Love?”
She put her hand on his back and leaned forward beside him. “You think that squirrel knows we’re watching him?”
“How do you think he gets up there? That’s twice in two days I’ve seen him at the top of the bird feeders. He can’t be getting past the baffles on the poles and there aren’t any branches near by.”

Sanctuary

There is a planet on the scanners. It is large and round and red. The sun is yellow and warming, and the planet is in the sun’s life zone. The gravity is slightly stronger than Earth’s. The air is a bit richer, and there is abundant water under the surface.
The red coloring comes from two things. The surface of the planet is covered with red vegetation and their spores are everywhere. The ground is also red, although not with spores but with clay and slate like so faraway Connecticut.
The dog beside me raises his massive head and growls. I scratch behind his ears and his hind legs start thumping the cabin floor. I make him thump in time to songs I sing, switching legs as I go from chorus to lead and back.
“We’ll go down, see if this is the one.”

What We Saw at Bishop’s House

What’s become of Bishop’s house? This chamber is like the one I lay in moments ago but I know neither you nor your man. Outside the door, that’s not Bishop’s workshop.
I am William Bennett. Where is my wife, Chrysanthé? We are “The Dancers Extraordinairre.” There’s an advertisement in my breast pocket. See? “Dancers to the Crowns of Europe.”
Bishop’s told you of us? Where is he, then?

Each of the above is from Harvey Duckman Presents Volume 8 (the famous “No Dragons” issue). You can read the rest of each along with several other amazing stories between its captivating covers (and I hope you do!)

Have you been Harveyed?

The kind, wise, and wonderful folks at Sixth Element Publishing included four of my flash pieces in Harvey Duckman Presents Volume 8 and I’m repaying that kindness by showcasing the opening from each author’s work for the next few weeks.

 
Read

Next up, a taste of Kate Baucherel’s Firebird.

Enjoy!

15 Days of Harveys Day 9 – Jack Pentire’s “Time will say Nothing”

Time will say Nothing

by Jack Pentire

 
They dragged her in through the door from the bright sunlit square outside the courtroom. She was small and stick thin, and she looked almost delicate, held as she was between the two burly jailors, They hauled her backwards as the custom was, so that she could not make eye contact with her accusers. The two men paced themselves just fast enough to prevent her from keeping up, and her heels dragged, creating two shallow tracks in the dust. The building was old and high vaulted with a hammer-beam roof that dated from the days of the tithe barn system when the local church had had greater influence over village life.

The above is from Harvey Duckman Presents Volume 8 (the famous “No Dragons” issue). You can read the rest of Jack Pentire’s Time will say Nothing along with several other amazing stories between its captivating covers (and we both hope you do!)

Have you been Harveyed?

The kind, wise, and wonderful folks at Sixth Element Publishing included four of my flash pieces in Harvey Duckman Presents Volume 8 and I’m repaying that kindness by showcasing the opening from each author’s work for the next few weeks.

 
Read

Next up, a taste of four flash pieces from me!

Enjoy!

15 Days of Harveys Day 8 – Muriel “iPad” Blythman’s “Ye Olde Ship Inn”

Ye Olde Ship Inn

by Muriel “iPad” Blythman

 
Crossing over the bridge, the storm was growing in volume, the harbour lights shrouding the dark shadows of fishing trawlers, beginning to heave in the turbulent water, lights swaying to and fro from high in the riggings. I was in Whitby to run a full day of training for Health and Safety, First Aid at Work. The group, all advanced First Aiders included four fishermen, three police officers, two council staff and two managers of a packing factory, all to update and renew their certificates.
I had stayed in a local hotel overnight, due to the inclement weather, distance and early start of the Training Day. The venue was a small community hall which I had used before, situated below the 199 steps leading up to St Mary’s Church which, this morning, was shrouded in a dark cold mist. The gloomy hall matched the weather outside, freezing cold, even the electric heaters did not seem to take the chill off the room. The morning was to start at 9.00am, however, at 9.15am all the group had not turned up. As yet, two police officers were missing. The police officer who had arrived stated that his two colleagues were on their way but had been detained by an incident on the moor road. Two of the trawlermen had also not turned up.

The above is from Harvey Duckman Presents Volume 8 (the famous “No Dragons” issue). You can read the rest of Muriel “iPad” Blytheman’s Ye Olde Ship Inn along with several other amazing stories between its captivating covers (and we both hope you do!)

Have you been Harveyed?

The kind, wise, and wonderful folks at Sixth Element Publishing included four of my flash pieces in Harvey Duckman Presents Volume 8 and I’m repaying that kindness by showcasing the opening from each author’s work for the next few weeks.

 
Read

Next up, a taste of Jack Pentire’s Time will say Nothing.

Enjoy!

Recovery Triptych: The Stone in God’s Sling

Recap from Recovery Triptych: The EchoRecovery Triptych took shape 9 Feb 1990. Originally I conceived only the first section, The Echo. I shared it with a critique group and was told I shouldn’t submit anything to the group containing such vulgarity and violence (see Writers Groups – Critiquing Methods – Ruled to Death, third bullet). I remember thinking at the time, “You think this has vulgarity and violence? You’ve had a protected life, huh?”

The triptych’s three parts are:

  1. The Echo
  2. Welcome to My Sandbox
  3. The Stone in God’s Sling

Here for the first time in slightly over thirty years, starting two Mondays ago and concluding here, Recovery Triptych.

It is precisely because a child’s feelings are so strong that they cannot be repressed without serious consequences. The stronger a prisoner is, the thicker the prison walls have to be, which impede or completely prevent later emotional growth.
– Alice Miller, The Drama of the Gifted Child

The Stone in God’s Sling

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