Archive for July, 2009

Gore Vidal, Gay Talese, Susan Sontag, and Norman Mailer

Gore Vidal, Gay Talese, Susan Sontag, and Norman Mailer

The Paris Review‘s Summer 2009 issue contains an interesting interview with Gay Talese, an acclaimed author and journalist. Even if you have not read Mr. Talese before or are not familiar with him, I do suggest giving the interview a read if you are interested in journalism or writing nonfiction.

Gay Talese has written eleven books and has led a fabulously interesting life. He had his first taste of journalism in high school and continued on to become a reporter for the New York Times. Since then, he has written for such esteemed publications as the Times, Esquire, The New Yorker, Harper’s Magazine, and others.

The interview mentions his groundbreaking article “Frank Sinatra Has a Cold,” which was named the “best story Esquire ever published,” and has a link to Mr. Talese’s outline of the story.

Most notably, Tom Wolfe credited Mr. Talese with the creation of an inventive form of nonfiction writing called “The New Journalism.” There is an interesting perspective on why this label may not fit Mr. Talese so well by Robert S. Boynton in The New New Journalism, along with a comprehensive list of Talese’s articles, interviews, and reviews.

Soon to be published by Knopf, Mr. Talese’s newest work in progress, tentatively scheduled for release in 2011, is a book based on his 50-year, sometimes tumultous marriage.


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As a professional freelance editor, proofreader, and writer, I believe there is nothing more important than expressing your thoughts clearly. If you’re in need of an editor or writer, you can contact me at expert.editing.service@gmail.com and I’ll happily provide you with the expert editing or writing you deserve. From MA theses, PhD dissertations, and undergraduate compositions to essays for admittance (college and grad level) and creative or business projects, I have the experience to take it from good to stellar and from not so good to fabulous.

During my career, I have had the opportunity to work for a number of incredible institutions, both freelance and as a full-time staff member. Among them are So To Speak, a small literary journal advocating feminist art and writing; Heldref Publications, a nonprofit publisher of scholarly journals and magazines in Washington, DC; and Sage Publications, one of the largest publishers of scholarly journals. I have a BA in Liberal Arts (Literature) from Penn State University and an MA in Literature from George Mason University. In addition, I’ve studied at Cambridge University, England, as part of my degree from GMU.

Through these opportunities, I’ve had extensive independant research and academic writing and editing experience in MLA, APA, and Chicago styles. I have considerable interest and academic work in cultural studies, women’s studies, postcolonial literature, and editing. Outside of my personal interests, I have edited many types of articles, theses, and dissertations(e.g., scientific, humanities, and law) as well as books, Web content, guides, newsletters, catalog copy, advertisements, and more. My writing experience includes guides, Web content (including blog posts, reviews, and travel writing), academic research papers, catalog copy, and more.

If you’re interested in my services and/or would like more infomation about my background or would like to see my CV, please feel free to email me, Melanie, at expert.editing.service@gmail.com

I offer extremely competitive rates and lightening-fast turnaround (depending on your needs, of course). I also have experience working with particularly sensitive documents, so you can rest assured that your documents will remain completely confidential.

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matthew-arnoldIn the past, I’ve written on the importance of good writing skills, as well as posted some tips to improve writing skills. This post is an extension of those previous entries and might act as an example of good writing in action. Because I mentioned Matthew Arnold and his belief in the English language and its literature as the basis of a good education in my post about the importance of good writing skills, I felt it would be appropriate to use him as the example. Thinking about this while tooling around on the Internet, I came across an opinion essay called “Discourse Integration by Manipulation: Matthew Arnold” by Avon Crismore, written for the Center for the Study of Reading in which Crismore examines Arnold’s writing style. The full text of the article is available through ERIC (or Education Resources Information Center) and a summary of the abstract can be found in the following:

In the writing of Matthew Arnold, integration, one great impression rather than many great individual lines, is the most important goal. In his essay, “The Function of Criticism at the Present Time,” the “blocs” of his thoughts occur in sets of two, three, or even four sentences: in effect, he writes much like a poet, in couplets, triplets, and quatrains. He also uses a variety of devices to combine his blocs into larger discourse units. His high level of redundancy helps readers integrate and process his difficult text. He manipulates structure to attain parallelism and characteristically puts the most important information in subordinate clauses and phrases. On the semantic level, he does not use many synonyms, preferring repetition of key words to achieve cohesion. This repetition slows the presentation of new information and leads to greater ease of processing. Arnold’s discourse blocs, surface form manipulations, foregrounding, and redundancy all serve to help him develop his ideas while keeping his sentences intermeshed and his prose coherent.

Although Arnold wrote the text in question in 1895, I feel that a modern reader can still access it today with ease. Thanks to Google Books, a digitized version of Arnold’s complete work (“The Function of Criticism at the Present Time”) is available for your perusal by clicking on the link provided in the previous paragraph. I strongly recommend reading Crismore’s work or at least skimming it (at 29 pages this should not take very long) and then reading a good bit of Arnold’s piece, looking for those devices and techniques that Crismore mentions in her essay.

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APA Publication Manual: Sixth Edition

APA Publication Manual: Sixth Edition

The American Psychological Association has a new edition of their Publication Manual available. This new edition is the sixth edition of the manual and details regarding it can be found on the APA Web site.

If you have not yet seen the sixth edition, it is worth taking a look at the site, which includes the option to “look inside” the new book at the table of contents and introduction. Also included are chapter descriptions for all eight chapters and a summary of what is new in the sixth edition.

Accompanying the sixth edition is a new tutorial designed for those with no prior knowledge of APA style.

I have to say, I love the new colors!

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Straight-Creek–Great Burn

                                 for Tom and Martha Burch

Lightly, in the April mountains–
                             Straight Creek,
dry grass freed again of snow
& the chickadees are pecking
last fall’s seeds
               fluffing tail in chilly wind,

Avalanche piled up cross the creek
               and chunked-froze solid–
water sluicing under; spills out
               rock lip pool, bends over,
               braided, white, foaming,
returns to trembling
               deep-dark hole.

Creek boulders show the flow-wear lines
               in shapes the same
               as running blood
               carves in the heart’s main

Early spring dry. Dry snow flurries;
               walk on crusty high snow slopes
–grand dead burn pine–
               chartreuse lichen as adornment
                            (a dye for wool)
angled tumbled talus rock
of geosyncline warm sea bottom
yes, so long ago.
“Once upon a time.”

Far light on the Bitteroots;
               scrabble down willow slide
changing clouds above,
shapes on glowing sun-ball
writing,            choosing
             reaching out against eternal 

us resting on dry fern and

Shining Heaven
change his feather garments

A whoosh of birds
swoops up and round
tilts back
almost always flying all apart
and yet hangs on!

never a leader,
all of one swift

dancing        mind.

They arc and loop & then
their flight is done.
they settle down.
end of poem.

–Gary Snyder
Copyright © 1969

I’ve been thinking about mythology (particularly Native American mythology), environmental awareness (with Obama’s recent speeches concerning global warming and humanity’s contribution to the problem), and activism (especially environmental activism) quite a bit recently, all of which has led me to today’s poetry selection. When I first read Gary Snyder’s Pulitzer Prize winning book Turtle Island back when I was a freshmen or sophomore in college, it had a profound effect on me and still does. He is one of those rare poets who manages to combine all of the aforementioned (mythology, environmental awareness, and political activism) into grand poetry that ranges from “the lucid, lyrical, almost mystical to the mythobiotic, while a few are frankly political,” according to the description on the back cover of the book; a description that is quite apt, I believe.

Gary Snyder

Gary Snyder

You will find some interesting criticism/explication of the poem on Modern American Poetry’s Web site, as well as a very informative biography. For other pieces of literary criticism on Snyder, you may want to check out LiteraryHistory.com, which favors online articles by known scholars, articles published in reviewed sources, and Web sites that adhere to MLA guidelines. Of course, one of my favorite sources for all things poetry is Poets.org, where you’ll find prose, poetry, biographical information, and related poets and links. Enjoy!

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When writing a scholarly article in APA style and using Latin abbreviations, there is one rule to be sure to follow and a few exceptions to remember. First, the rule:

Use Latin abbreviations in parenthetical text. In nonparenthetical text, use the English translation of the Latin term. 

Second, the exceptions:

Exception 1: In text citations and in references referring to court cases, always use the abbreviation for versus (v.).

Exception 2: In text and in the reference list, use the abbreviation et al., meaning “and others,” in parenthetical and nonparenthetical text.

If you have questions regarding when to shorten references in text and in the reference list to et al., see this earlier post for details.

Some commonly used Latin abbreviations and their English translations are:

cf. = compare
e.g., = for example,
, etc. = , and so forth
i.e., = that is,
viz., = namely,
vs. = versus, against

This information can be found on page 106, section 3.25 of the APA publication manual.

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