Saturday, June 10, 2006

Paid to write that that

Now, stand back, I’m about to step upon my soapbox.

Where is Marilyn Johnson’s editor? I love this book for many reasons, mostly the humor, the inside information, and the unusual subject. That said, how do I write a positive review when the author makes (elementary school) English mistakes?

Throughout her surprise chat with Billy Collins she misrepresents the possessive apostrophe with an extra “s.” On pages 45 & 46 she writes, “Collins’s anthology” and “Collins’s father.” Just how many Billy Collins(es) is she yapping to. She doesn’t capitalize titles like on page 44, “former poet laureate of the United States, Billy Collins.” This very sentence begins with “and” as follows. “And that was when I saw that that great stillness next to the window was the former,” add above ending.

Yes, I know what you are thinking, calling a spade a spade, aren’t I.

I just finished looking up the rule for apostrophes and am clearly in the wrong. Author Johnson has correctly placed the divet for which I became riled. Please excuse my ignorance. The rule I found gave the "Jones's bakery" as an example. If it was more than one it would be "Joneses' bakery."

I still stand by my other observations. I believe she should erase and rewrite the whole sentence on page 44. For example, "It was then, I noticed the great stillness to be no other than the former Poet Laureate of the United States, Billy Collins."

Stay tune for further updates...

Stepping down from soapbox to write more notes…

“The Independent, in an effort to dodge the desperate chronology, appends to its obituaries a little shaded box with the particulars of the subject’s birth, death, marriages, and positions, and a few other papers have followed.” Colin Haskin of Canada’s Globe and Mail, “calls it the Black Box, which is apt, even if the box it’s in isn’t black.”p37

The story of Opal Petty, on page 38, was institutionalized by her parents for three decades for wanting to dance.

Former Poet Laureate, Billy Collins, shares a subway car with the author by happenstance. She explains her trip and discovers Collins is also a fan of the obit. He tells her, his father used to call the New York Times obits, “the Irish sports page.”

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