Tuesday, April 22, 2008

My kingdom for an editor

The Booty clan is on the move again this week, thus The Professor's appearance a couple of days early. I've got to fit this week's review in amongst the chaos and disorder so I'll keep things short and sweet. It's an appropriate approach. One thing I'd like this reviewee to remember: keep things simple.

Probably one of the most undervalued occupations is that of the humble editor. The copy editor at a newspaper is treated like a nagging, slightly-senile auntie. But, it's she who prevents a story being led with "Governments, food companies and consumers are feeling new pleasures to relax resistance to genetically engineered strumpets." It's the editors of the world who make the writers of the world sound magnificent. I wish I had an editor right now, as a matter of fact. You know who else could use an editor? Erika could use an editor.

I like Erika. I like Erika a lot. Erika sometimes writes in ways that I could only dream - with passion and craft and soul. The post that she wrote about finding her biological father is simply some of the best blog writing I've read. She charms me with her personal philosophy - you're as happy as you make up your mind to be - and her description of She's clever, sharp-witted, funny and charming.

Erika's only problem is that she tends to be long-winded and occasionally errs on the side of too much information. Now, as much as I like you, Erika, I just don't need to know about your bowel movements. This is where an editor would come in handy. It's hard, as an author, to decide what to leave out. I know from my own experience that it's hard to leave out a pithy and carefully-constructed phrase because it doesn't fit. But that's what you've got to learn to do, Erika. I loved your writing, but found my attention wandering whilst reading some of your posts. You do yourself a disservice by not being a harsher self-editor.

As far as appearances go, the template is fine - clean and simple if a little dull. I love the header image but hate the title. As has been said many times on this site, don't use the words "my" or "blog" in your title. You're clever enough to do better than that.

As I did with Headbang8, I'm going to have to play it coy. I just can't declare my undying love. Tighten things up, Erika, make it crisp and I'm toddling behind you like a smitten puppy. Until then, take these:

and, my apologies for a hurried assessment.


  1. I love Erika's writing. Love it. I was directed to her story about her biodad a couple weeks ago and was just floored.

    The design really could use some work, but the writing does it for me. I mean, come on! "And so it happened that I mailed my poop to Texas." That's awesome. Sure, she's a bit wordy, but it's a good wordy, in this humble (schmumble) editor's opinion.

    For the design, I'm with Booty. I suggest a smaller banner, an about page, and maybe a splash of color. And a new title.

  2. Speaking of editing, Booty, in your rush out the door I think you missed something.

    "She charms me with her personal philosophy - you're as happy as you make up your mind to be - and her description of She's clever, sharp-witted, funny and charming."

    Description of what?

  3. Erika's writing is what my writing wants to be when it grows up.

  4. I like this blog, I've been reading it since it was submitted to us (yes, we do that). I think she should use her original gut instince title: "Be Gay About It." Or, really, anything other than the current title.

  5. I liked a lot more than the prof did.

    Picture is too big, name is meh, but the url title caught me.
    More of that please.

    There are a LOT of words there, but, and this is the key to any writing, she writes what she knows & loves. Passion and knowledge about any subject can draw you in even when you don't particularly want to be.

    She showed this obviously on the parentage posts, but also in writing about her relationship, the future, & children. This pulled me right in.

    Not preachy, not demanding, but authoritative, she made me want for her to have what she wants from life, as uncertain as it may be.

  6. I love wordy, when it's good wordy.

    Editing does seem to be key but this girl has skills. Being introduced to this blog qualifies this as a good day.

    Apparently I'm here too early though, there are no whiny baby bitches or ass-faced whores crawling out of the woodwork yet.

  7. I can't speak for y'all, but I'm crossing my fingers that there will be at least one crybaby/ass-faced whore this week.

    Just one...that's all it takes.

  8. I really need a crybaby/ass-faced whore this week, too. But unfortunately I like this blog as much as the rest of you so I can't insult the chick.

    Someone could always pick on me over on mine or something.

    Maybe Anon will come back.

  9. oh, and this may make me sound like a right knob, but no one cares what you've been reading, except maybe for your book club, and they should already know so get rid of the list and give us an archive to find your own wee juicy bits of writing.

    laff ya ;0)

  10. no one cares what you've been reading

    But wait! I care, dammit! Does that make me hopelessly dorky? It does, doesn't it?


    On my personal blog I've got a damn GoodReads linky thing and a page FULL of all the books I've read for the past year or so.

    Dorktastic, isn't it?

  11. wow, exactly 5 minutes for someone to point out that I am in fact, a knob.

    consider me spanked

    I can't warm to 'reading lists' myself.

  12. You're not a knob, Xbox - I've been trying & trying to put various lists of things on my page, and I can't help but feel like nobody but Calamity would give a shit.

    That doesn't make Calamity a dork, necessarily, but...

    Hmm; I can't figure out a way to end that sentence.

  13. Oh, and I really liked Erika's writing, in case anyone was holding their breath in anticipation of my opinion.

    And I love Calamity too, even though I'm going to get flat-out slapped at the company picnic this year...

  14. I can embrace my own dorkitude.

    That sounds dirty.

  15. I hate those book thingies, too. And I love to read, and I'm INCREDIBLY DORKY. So yeah, I'm with the boys on this one. No book thingies.

  16. So, we're all in agreement then: we're dorks.

    Feels good to clear the air, doesn't it?

  17. Oh good, I have back up, those book lists are like people advertising they've STDs, people will ask when they want to know

  18. Well, I'm a dork, but I also have blog accessories that you guys hate. So who is the dorkiest of them all, hmm???

    Yeah, that would be me.

    Bow down.

  19. Um, that was for Xbox, lest anybody think I was slandering Calamity...

  20. people will ask when they want to know

    Err... it's a blog. People will know what I tell them and they'll damn well like it.

    You can pry my book list out of my cold, dead, dorky hands!

    Seriously though, this newly discovered bias against the bibliophile with a need for lists is troubling. I considered, briefly, getting rid of them, but I just can't.

    It hurts to think about it; so I won't.

  21. The writer speaks.

    First, I am humbled by the supportive comments made so far here and on various posts today on my blog. Thanks, guys.

    Second, hearing that I'm wordy is nothing new. I suffer regularly from flashbacks to high school English, where my essays were frequently returned to me with chunky red slashes (even though I always earned A's). It's something that I'm working on constantly -- tightening it up, making it crisp -- and I know I've improved over time as a result. This, coupled with the fact that I invest a lot of care into how I say things, is why the absolute worst thing that Professor Booty could have said in his review was: "You do yourself a disservice by not being a harsher self-editor." Professor, believe me -- there is no harsher editor than moi. I wonder if your wandering attention span had more to do with your intercontinental migration and the disorder and chaos around you, or even a difference in stylistic preference? Anyway -- I've got the harsh thing covered. (Even this comment is taking seven years to write.)

    Third, I appreciate the feedback from all the reviewers re. my blog title and template. I've endured a tortured relationship with the latter, especially, since I started this thing, so I'll pay it some attention. The title comes from the famous episode of Friends where Phoebe says, "So this is my bra", which made sense when my only two readers were avid Friends' fans. Perhaps you're all spot on: time to clever it up already.

    Fourth, I really appreciate xbox's [first] comment. My partner, Jenn, can verify the plotted process by which I try to portray myself as openly, as genuinely, and as artfully as possible through my writing. In fact, I'm thankful she hasn't left me because of it! I'd be lying if I said that, after waiting four (!) weeks to be reviewed, the Professor's rushed, distracted review didn't crush me a little. Not one of the hyperlinks to the specific posts he cited in his review drilled deeper than the homepage, and his main reason to plead for an editor (dare I say, bowel movements) was based on one post -- out of 80! Then again, I suppose a rushed review befits my arduous blog -- in the cosmically ironic sense, anyway.

    But I am glad he thinks I'm clever, sharp-witted, funny and charming. Because I am.

  22. By the by, Calamity, it's Dork City over here REGARDLESS of my lack of blog-accessories; don't assume blog-cleanliness = non-dorkstrousness.

  23. P.S. [because the previous comment isn't long-winded enough] My books are my trophies. I'll try to find a way to roll it up, but the list stays. It's me & Calamity against the world on this one.

  24. Nutjobber : you'll keep (that was meant in a Guy Ritchie movie kind of way, not a Jaimie Oliver to a side of roast beef in the fridge kind of way)

    Calamity : I like a book as much as the next fella but I just keep them in cardboard boxes in the shed.

  25. Erika, my books are on a whole 'nother page, so as not to unduly subject my readers to my glaring dorkstrousness.

    I do have a pretentious little GoodReads doohickey on my sidebar, but it's down low and unobtrusive. Ish.

  26. It looks like it.

    Hey, book-listers - I have THOUSANDS, literally THOUSANDS of pages of lists in my word-processor; I write lists to jump-start my actual writing; I LOVE lists.

    I just assume that no-one else wants to see them, and, mostly, I'm right...

  27. You keep your books boxed up and put away?! Gasp! But, how do they breathe? How can you enjoy them if they're huddled there in the dark, getting moldy, with no one to hold them?

    I think the next guy doesn't like books at all.

  28. Well it's good to see everyone is in touch with their inner dork. Isn't 'dork' slang for penis?

  29. ok, you're gonna be sorry you asked.
    Books, in 3 groups.

    1 - a couple of dozen on shelves dotted about the manor.
    The class ones, the ones that cheer me up and the ones that match the furniture.

    2 - 3 or 4 boxes in A spare bedroom, easy access, no double stacking. Cookery books by twats, autobiographies by people I secretly wanna poke, and my guilty pleasures.

    3 - the shed, it's a nice shed, very hansel and gretel-esque. It's a nice place for books to go to retire. All the wife's manure.


  30. Oh, sure, take us straight from books to the gutter...

    I don't have an inner penis. I can tell you, though, that I have a ton of books and ginormous balls.

  31. I'd apologize, but I don't do that too often. At least not sincerely.

  32. I'd really like to read your personal blogs.

  33. Um, that's the only type of blog I know how to operate. Sincerely.

  34. This is one of those things where I know it's wrong, I know people don't like it, but I just can't bring myself to care.

    Kinda like my love of Xanadu.

  35. Dork = dick.

    Did I misspeak when I announced that we were all dicks? *I* knew what I was saying...

    Also, my books are my trophies as well...AT HOME, where I can cuddle, caress, and cherish them in all their actual-page-turning glory.

    Angel: I'll drop by your place sometime disguised as myself.

    Your BLOG, I mean; worry not.

  36. Someone did tell me once that "dork" means whale penis.

    Damn, Nutjobber. I had my hopes for a split minute!


  37. Do you think any of us will ever come out of the closet and let people here read our personal blogs? Hah. I probably would. I think my co-workers are already reading it.

  38. But Love Bites, you see, you've never reviewed my blog so I have no reason to hate you! Obviously I'm already addicted to you or I'd be bored by now.

    My only reason for reading your personal blogs would be entertainment. I think the people on this site, reveiwers and lemmings alike, are awesome. (And slightly hot in a sexual way.)

  39. "...believe me -- there is no harsher editor than moi."

    I cry bullshit.

    You have an aesthetic eye. I applaud that. But you're fucking delusional if you think you're a harsh editor.

    Ninety percent of the value of an eye for beauty is being able to see the tree for the forest, but what you do is rather queer indeed. You'll take one look at a tree and inject the whole damn forest into it; and then write all about every last detail.

    Some people may have skeletons in their closets, but I'd wonder if your closet isn't crammed full of innocent and oft-beaten dead horses.

    Booty is correct with his assessment.

    Worst of all, the very attitude that compels you to whine about getting a quick review after a long wait is the same attitude that prevents you from taking away any truth in the one comment Booty made that would improve your blog most.

    ~ Driz

  40. Naw, I think people should have to WORK to figure out who you are. Nothing in life is free. If you guys came out I would be really pissed about all those wasted week-- er, day-- er, hour -- er, minutes, yeah minutes (because otherwise that would be soooo weird) I spent diligently unearthing your identities. Knowing is my secret prize.

    Have I mentioned Erika's writing is what my writing wants to be when it grows up? With all due respect to the esteemed Professor (and I do respect him, very much) I kind of wish there could be some kind of do-over here.

  41. I actually spent quite a considerable amount of time reading this blog, and I don't disagree. The writing could be tightened up considerably. Now, does that mean that everything I write on my blog is as tight as it should be? Oh, HELL no. I blog for my own mental health, not because I see myself as some kind of "writer." Though, I will acknowledge at times that I can write the shit out of something, and always have been able to.

    But, Erika really is wordy. It doesn't keep me from reading her, but it could definitely be tightened up. I don't think she got short-changed.

  42. Actually, at least one of the people who was reviewed this week knows who I am...I linked to her in a post and she commented on it. But I don't think she knows I'm me. ;) It is KIND of fun being mysterious.

  43. But, I'll tell you what. My e-mail is on my profile here. Send me naked pictures and I'll think about giving you my blog address. ;)

  44. I think I'd like amend my original statement to agree with Maggie: isn't it more fun to figure out who we are on your own?

    Sure, Maggie might be a MACHINE when it comes to figuring things out, but the hints are there if you know where to look...

    Also, in reading the blog originally, I really liked Erika's writing; her snippiness in the comments, however, has me agreeing with Driz in both point AND tone.

  45. To clarify, not snippy at all. I'm sorry if it reads that way because that's not what I intended. I responded to the review -- to some points favorably and to other points less so -- as anyone should be allowed to do. Everything here is opinion, right? The review and my response.

    And Driz -- you got me.

  46. Yeah, I'm with you. I think the thing that gets me is that people are so defensive. She'd have gotten a virtually identical review from me if I'd drawn her, and I am not traveling this week, and I wouldn't have apologized for it, if I were. We all have lives, and we do this for fun.

    And if I were pinned to the mat, I'd say that Erika's writing, while it's good, also grates on me. It has a self-conscious feeling to it so that I am always aware that she is someone who considers herself a writer. So, I find myself noticing her craft, the sometimes hokey mechanisms she uses, and it loses something for me.

    The best writing seems effortless, but it isn't. It only makes it to effortless through ruthless self-editing.

    We may occasionally rate differently, I know Cal is far nicer than I am, but generally speaking, I would say that when I read one of y'all's reviews, I almost always agree with it.

    I can't believe how much time I just took to figure out how to punctuate y'all's. And I'm still not sure I did it correctly.

  47. I never said to come out here on this blog! Just tell me so I can visit. I don't care about anyone else.

    Maggie may be the goddess of finding all, but you shouldn't hold the rest of us up to such high standards!

    I don't know where to look. I don't know jackshit about blogger, blogspot, or any other site on here other than my own little obscure host.

    I promise, me on my knees is not a bad thing, but please don't make me beg.

    And my opinion on the Prof's review (not that it matters), if I submitted my blog here I'd be thrilled about a quick review getting me 3 stars.

    On a serious note, it was a good review. I'm learning tons of things I had never thought about before by reading the points and opinions here.

  48. About harsh editing:

    This post

    This is a tremendously powerful post.

    But, it would have been a hundred times more poignant with about 4 or 5 paragraphs in the middle removed. It switches voice, from a compelling personal story into sounding like a magazine article and then moves back to personal, and then on to advocacy of a particular position.

    I would suggest to you that simply telling the story, without the advocacy and supporting quotes, would have been far more moving and inspiring. And, would have accomplished the same goal, to motivate people to care about the injustice of denying g/l marriage.

    In fact, it would have been more successful at achieving that goal.

    You may be confusing self-criticism with actual editing. Self-criticism sheaths the sword, editing makes the blade sharper, swifter, and more powerful.

  49. While I'm not changing the world with my lunatic-blog, I keep the posts short - I often watch an anecdote swell in the word-processor and ask myself if said anecdote needs to be told.

    If I can't condense, if it takes too long to get to point, I probably don't need to share it; the rules are different, however, when I'm on a roll and writing pure madness. Still, these are usually baffling trinkets of pseudo-writing that can't sustain themselves long enough to be a burden.

    So, I guess what I'm saying is playing fast & loose with the rules of writing and then chiding others for doing so is what Nutjobber's all about.

    Now I'm going to just sit here refreshing the page until Driz yells "Hypocrite!" at me...

  50. Just popping in from a layover at LAX. Fuck me I did forget to finish that sentence, Calamity. Was meant to be something about how she perfectly described the inspirational ennui of the Gulf Coast beaches.

    Erika, are you seriously busting my balls for not reading enough of your posts? First of all, you got a great fucking review, second of all you're too wordy and it would have taken me weeks to get through your archives. Finally - you get what you pay for, hon.

    I fucking like you Erika, what do you want a blow job?

  51. I don't wanna know why Professor Booty is offering to give blow jobs.

    I just wanted to say that "So this is your bra" would be a much more fun blog title. ;)

  52. @ Nutjobber:

    You fucking hypocrite.

    There. Now go get some sleep before you break that mouse clicking all through the night.

    @ Erika:

    Attagirl. Get down from that pedestal and spend some time on the ground, with the rest of us sinners.

    But don't give me that dissembling shit about opinions and entitlement. You get nothing of value from an exercise like this when you hollow out your prize.

    Treat it like scripture, if just for a day. If I'm talking, you're getting told; in this way, you take it on the chin and walk away with a bruise that improves you, another chip from the chisel.

    ~ Driz

  53. Can I just say that, though this wouldn't keep me from ass-reaming his site come review time if that's what I was feeling, Driz rocks. HARD.

  54. Driz seriously fucking makes me nervous

  55. What am I missing?
    I didn't like it.

    It seemed...forced.
    I would have been able to become more involved in the stories she told if it didn't feel like she was purposefully trying to expose herself, instead of just doing it.

    If that makes *any* sense, whatsoever.


Grow a pair.