(Or simply not being aware of them)
As a bookseller in a university setting, I sold hundreds of copies of Strunk and White’s classic every semester. And I felt guilty each time. While the work is still mandatory for most college classrooms, I much prefer EATS, SHOOTS, AND LEAVES and wish everyone would read this text instead.
It appears Geoffrey K. Pullum agrees. This incredible refutation of the grammar of Strunk and White is a must-read for writers (I want to argue that everyone should read this, but I realize that many won’t care). Absolutely brilliant. Especially:
There is of course nothing wrong with writing passives and negatives and adjectives and adverbs. I’m not nitpicking the authors’ writing style. White, in particular, often wrote beautifully, and his old professor would have been proud of him. What’s wrong is that the grammatical advice proffered in Elements is so misplaced and inaccurate that counterexamples often show up in the authors’ own prose on the very same page.
It’s been a crazy-busy few months, with very little time spent at home, but my book tour has drawn to a close. Germany, London, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, and over a dozen US cities . . . and now I’m back home in Jupiter. A huge thanks to everyone who came out to see me, and an equal thanks to those who have posted comments or emailed me with their encouragement and humor along the way. In every way imaginable, the release has exceeded my expectations, and I credit you all with that. Thanks a heap. Happy reading, whatever you’re digging into. And now, I’m going to get back to writing.
I’ve got a new website in the works, and I’m so excited about it that I had a dream last night that it was already live. It was so vivid that I had to check first thing this morning to see if it had already gone up. Instead, I found an email from Tim Grahl with an update on the site design. I love what they are coming up with.
Tim approached me as a fan a while back and asked if there was anything his company Out:think Group could do to give me a boost. I explained my biggest challenges these days, and he laughed at how Cro-Magnon my workflow was. While discussing plans, he suggested some website tweaks. And then he and his design team came up with a way to further your ability to interact with the site.
The Dow plummeted today on news that a bomb had gone off at the White House. The source of the news was a Tweet on the Associated Press account. Turns out the account had been hacked.
The reason the Dow took a hit was because automated trading programs scour news feeds for the first sign of trouble. In fractions of a second, they dump stocks ahead of an anticipated decline. Basically, we have artificial intelligence managing our markets. But with low IQ and a hair trigger.
I’m sure this will end well…
My latest short story is now available to be read in full on Lightspeed Magazine’s website. Written at the height of the Fiscal Cliff debacle, it applies as easily to the recent failure to pass a gun law in the United States. The story deals with the suicidal indecisiveness of party politics. It received a coveted and rare “Recommend” from Locus Online’s Lois Stilton. You can read the full story here.
The accompanying art for the piece is by the incomparable and talented Galen Dara.
I have one public event in Auckland on Monday. It’s at Takapuna Library from 6:30 – 8:00. The library is at 1 The Strand, Takapauna. I’ll talk for a bit, take questions for even longer, and then sign books. Hope to see you there! Bring sheep! (But not really)
EDIT: Bumpy landing in a massive rainstorm last night. Woke up looking over the harbour here in Auckland. A bevy of interviews today before the event tonight. So excited to be here. It’s been on my wish-list for so long; hard to believe I’m really on the other side of the globe from my home.
Meeting Hugh Howey has turned me on to the existence of another Hugh. This one is a Hugh Howie (which is the correct spelling, btw). It turns out that he receives email meant for me. You can read all about it here.
I feel bad for Hugh’s inbox and the way Google mismanages search results. From what I understand, the Howeys and Howies come from the Howe clan. (I’m remembering this from when I was very young and could be confabulating). What I heard is that Howie is the original spelling and that we had a spate of illiteracy some time ago (many would argue it persists). I grew up around people with both variants. We even intermarried a while back. I like to say our family tree is shaped more like a vine.
I keep saying my five minutes should be running out right about . . . now. Hopefully for the sake of Hugh Howey and Hugh Howie, it strikes midnight soon. They both sound terribly annoyed to have fans throwing themselves at them.
Visit HughHowie.com to give the real lad some love, won’t you? At the very least, ask him how DUST is coming along.
No, I haven’t gotten celebrity-crazy and started referring to myself in third person. Tonight, I met Hugh Howey.
It feels weird to even write that. It was even weirder to endorse a book to him and then sign my name. I found out about Hugh several months ago. I believe he messaged me on Facebook to say that he was the real Hugh Howey. He had seen my name in relation to Wool (I think) and reached out to me. I inquired about his age. He said 34. The cries of “Imposter!” began immediately.
(I’m the real Hugh Howey, as it turns out).
One last event here in Sydney before I’m off to Brisbane. Tonight it’ll be the Kinokuniya Bookstore, which is the largest or second largest store in Australia, depending on who you ask (there was a good-natured debate at an event last night from staff of both stores!)
The event is at 6:30. The store is right downtown on George St., I believe. If you’re in the area (and who isn’t?), come join us!
I’ll be at Pages & Pages at 2:00 today. If you’re in Sydney (Mosman) and unfortunately unemployed, come stop by! I’m really looking forward to meeting Jon, who has been such a huge supporter of the books. I hope he’s ready for a bear hug.
A huge thanks to everyone who turned out tonight in Camden! That was one of the most enjoyable events I’ve had anywhere in the world. Great people, a full house, wonderful food and drinks, and quiet snorers. What more could you ask for?
A lot of pictures taken, so please share here or on Twitter or Facebook. And thanks again for spending your Monday night with me!