The Em Dash?

I was an English major. I was a Technical Writing minor. I took grammar classes and diagrammed sentences for fun.

And yet I’m still learning things every day. 

For instance, did you know the difference between a hyphen and a dash? If you answered yes, did you know that there are four different kinds of hyphens/dashes regularly used in printed text? That’s right – five.

When someone first asked me about “em dashes,” I played along. “Yes. Sure. Of course I know what that is! I’ll make sure to double checks all of the…uh…m hyphens.”

I can laugh about it now, but that one conversation sent me on a frantic hour-long googling session. Here’s what I found out.


According to CSM, these are all the kinds of hyphens/dashes:

Hyphen –

En dash —

Em dash —

2-em dash—-

3-em dash——

And they all have specific purposes!


It suddenly occurred to me—Commas. Ellipses. Spaces. Numbers. Basic grammar. Did I know anything?

It turns out that CSM isn’t all that different from MLA, but I had to break a sweat discovering that. And it was…reassuring…to know that I’m not done learning. It feels like I just finished college yesterday. I don’t think I ever felt that “I’ve got the world on a string,” feeling as a post-graduate, but I’m sure many people have.

News flash! We never stop learning. If we do, then something is wrong.


Could I get through school with out knowing that? Yes.

Can I have this job without knowing that? Apparently not.

Do I now add proofreading marks and word comments to my personal writing? Yup. (It’s kinda scary and yet oddly satisfying to have a conversation with myself like I have with the Press’ authors.)

Will I  still keep learning? You betcha!

Who’s with me?

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My fist video post – A whole new level of nerdiness

You can check out my first video post here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ISAXjsMPf_k&list=WL&index=2

And I’d like to thank the blogging community again for nominating me for another fun award. Y’all have been so supportive 🙂 ! Thanks!

The Versatile Blogger Award

Thank you, Birdie Bookworm, for nominating me for this award!

Y’all can check out her awesome blog here: https://birdiebookwormblog.com/


Rules:

  1. Display Award.
  2. Thank the person who gave this award (and include a link to their blog.)
  3. Share seven things about yourself.
  4. Nominate ten bloggers.

Here are seven unique things about me:

  1. My husband and I have reading dates where I bring sandwiches to his work and we just sit there in complete silence while we eat and read. It’s awesome!
  2. I’m addicted to grape Dr. Pepper. My family knows they can get me to go anywhere if we stop for Sonic drinks on the way.
  3. I’ve owned a variety of pets, including hamsters, turtles, dogs, cats, and hermit crabs. Since our apartment isn’t big enough for a dog, I’m currently lobbying my husband for a guinea pig.
  4. I’ve have had many book crushes over the years, but no one has been able to compare to Ian O’Shea from The Host.
  5. My dream vacation would be a trip to Ireland/Scotland. I have a little Scots Irish in my blood and I’d love to get back to my roots!
  6. I’ve already picked out all of my kids names. My husband thinks that I’m just being silly…No, it’s true. I have.
  7. I recently became a full-time editor at TouchPoint Press and I’m so excited! I keep telling everyone, so I thought I might as well tell you!

Okay, so that’s it. I’m nominating:

    1. hopethatanchorsmysoul
    2. bookreviewdirectory
    3. thebookiemonsters
    4. novelacious
    5. wordsreadandwritten
    6. wearevoracious
    7. shelbydavids
    8. millieschmidt
    9. cindinessblog
    10. litandloveblog

Good luck, guys!

You Can’t Jog in a Bookstore

 

I’ve got another confession to make: I’ve become a runner.

Well, sort of…not really. I hike for 56 minutes and jog for four one-minute increments, but I’m getting there. I started walking along the trails near my apartment, because I wanted to get out of the house more. An at-home computer job doesn’t lean towards much exercise. Never in my wildest dreams did I think that I’d enjoy it.

My motto was always been: I’d rather read.

Do you want to go to a party? No, I’d rather go back home and read. Do you want to go out and get some pizza. I’d rather have the pizza delivered here so I can read. Do you want to go the part? Um, do I have to…because I’d rather stay home alone and read!

But I’ve found that my morning hikes actually allow me to get more work done. Sure, I might still want to be reading, but I’m beginning to really enjoy my morning outings.

Sometimes I take my earphones and sing along while I jog. (Or dance along the trails 🙂 ). Sometimes I do my bible study before going out and pray while hiking. But more and more lately, I’ve just begun to enjoy being alone with my own thoughts. It’s helped me to organize my thoughts and tasks for the day and, more importantly (yes!), it’s allowed me time to think about my writing. Most days, I just can’t wait to get home from my walk and open my laptop to write.

It’s fantastic! I knew that ideas usually hit writers when they can’t write them down, but this is something else entirely.  Did anyone else know that getting out into nature and exercising could jog the imagination so much, and if so, why didn’t you tell me?

Of course, many days (like today), I can’t just open up my laptop and start writing whatever I want. I do have to work. But jotting down a few hurried notes before opening my email is almost just as satisfying. 😉

I don’t think I’m going to become an exercise nut anytime soon…or ever. But I have gained a new apparition for nature. After all, you can’t jog in a bookstore…

Or see a deer. For fun, I’ve included some pictures of the trails near my home.

I want to know if anyone else has experience this feeling before. Is there something else that you enjoy doing that helps to relax you and exercise your imagination?


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I’m the One Being Rude?!

Okay, I want to try to keep off of my high horse – and I do admit that I own one – but I’m a little upset about how some non-readers see us. I guarantee the majority of the time, we’re not trying to be rude or antisocial or ignore you. We just want to be left alone to read in peace. Grrrrrrrrrr

Anyway, here are some of the top scenarios that really bother me. I have been in each of these, and I’ve seen them happen to other readers. You have my sympathy if you have ever had similar experiences.


Scenario #1 – 

You’re sitting in a room where many people are staring at their phone. You quickly grow bored and decide to sit down and pull out your book. Someone walks into the room and signals you out for “being rude” and “ignoring people.”

Okay, this one really bothers me. First of all, no one else really looked like they wanted to talk. And second, everyone else is on their phones! I know it’s kind of clique to point this out, but why is it rude to pull out a book and not rude to pull out a phone? 

Scenario #2

You’re reading a book that you’re really into. The hero is just about to face the dragon and…someone else walks into the room. They immediately start to talk about their day. You hold up your “one minute, I’m reading” finger. They continue talking. When you verbally ask them to just hold on one minute, they call you rude and walk away. Or worse, they just keep talking.

First of all, let me say that I’m not suggesting that it’s okay to read while other people are talking, especially since something important may have just happened. However, I think that the “one minute, I’m reading” finger is something that should be respected. Someone has entered another world  through a book and might need a minute to return to this world so they can actively listen to you. I don’t think that’s too much to ask for.

Scenario #3 

You’re leaning against a wall, enjoying a new book that you got from the library. There are people walking down the hall and talking loudly. No one is really bothering you…until, out of the corner of your eye, you see a guy lean against the wall next to you. Slowly, he inches closer to you until he is barrrrely touching you arm and then, oh so non-conspicuously, he leans in and cranes his neck sideways to try to see what you are reading. Except that you totally know that he’s there, because he’s blocking the page.

Rude! If you want to know what I’m reading, either try to actually ask me or bend down and read the cover. That might at least get a half smile and a raising of the book from me. Just because a reader has temporarily stopped paying attention to their surroundings, doesn’t mean that you can invade their bubble. Readers are really into personal bubbles! I don’t think it’s rude to point that out.


Have you experienced any similar scenarios? If you could put together a list of rules that non-readers should understand about what is considered rude/not rude, what would you write down? I think I’ve chosen my top three!

 

 

 

Portrait of a Young Reader

I’ve shared a little bit about my life as a young bookworm, but I don’t think I’ve told y’all that reading didn’t always come naturally to me. I’m not saying this to be dramatic: I was probably one of the worst readers in my Kindergarten class. I don’t know why I had a hard time picking up reading, but I was a bit of a slow reader at first. Somewhere between Kindergarten and second grade, something changed. When I look back I can’t explain it. It was just like, suddenly, all I wanted to do was read.

I distinctly remember walking out to recess one day in the second grade. I had a book in my hand that I planned to use to help pass the tedious hour in some shadowy corner. My first grader teacher noticed the book and came up to ask me how I was doing in reading. 

Proudly, I told her that I was doing great. I loved to read. I loved it so much, I even read when I wasn’t supposed to read…even during class. That probably wasn’t the best thing to tell a teacher. She was bound by the “teacher code” to give me a stern talking to, but I think she was suppressing a smile.

Third grade was when I started giving my teachers a hard time about restricting my library privileges. I did not like being told that I couldn’t check out a book because it had an upper level sticker on the spine. That was also the year that I discovered Harry Potter. I had no trouble finishing those books in a week and taking the mandatory reading test.

The school library was quickly growing smaller and smaller in my mind. Que the public library! It was a world filled with wondrous stories and new worlds to explore. I think  I nearly floated off the ground when I was handed my first library card. It took me some time to learn that I could also look for books online. I was bored one day, so I decided that I would practice my computer and internet skills. But what should I look up? With a shrug, I typed in “books.com” and – pow – I discovered Barnes & Noble. It was heaven!

My early reading days were filled with many wonderful discoveries – book stores, high library shelves, stories filled with dragon and wands and magical lamps! *Sigh* Those were the days.

By the time I was in 5th grade, I was a mini book worm. I would have been my father…you know if I like reading mystery novels, and if I was a guy, and if I was a father…Okay, that took a weird turn. You get the idea!

I completed every extra credit reading project. I got 100% on all state reading tests. I was allowed free access to peruse every corner of the school library. I was spending as much time in the public library as possible. I was sleeping next to a large stack of books. And I was writing my own short stories. 

Still, nothing could compare to the excitement I felt about going to middle school. No grade stickers on books and freedom to read while walking down the hallway. Score!

So what happened in those early years that turned me into such a bibliophile? Well on some level, I think God just created  me this way. My wild imagination can only be tamed within the pages of a book. My teachers also deserve some credit, especially the two that I call parents. I’m so thankful that I got the opportunity to grow up in a world full of books. I don’t want to even think who I would be without them.

So…what’s your story?