Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Today Is National Grammar Day — Who Knew?!

It's been over a year since I posted, and it's not because I haven't been reading. Au contraire, mes amis. I've read some stuff, but, as usual, I can't get through one book without getting distracted by another.

Anyway, I ran across an article about celebrities and grammar after checking my Hotmail today. Not that I give a hoot in hell about how many exclamation points Kanye West uses in a blog post, but I've always had a small fascination with grammar. I guess knowing proper usage makes me feel somehow superior to my not-as-literate friends and colleagues.

To my pleasant surprise, I learned it was National Grammar Day. I didn't know there was even such a thing (I'm truly ashamed of my ignorance). However, I decided that since I still have this blog, this would be good enough reason to post to it.

There's some cute little nuggets in the article, like the difference between a hyphen, en dash, and em dash, or when and how to use an ellipsis (those three little dots, for my neophyte grammarians). Hey, it may not be important to you….

Not only did I learn about National Grammar Day, I also learned about the The Society for the Promotion of Good Grammar, the folks that created it. Membership is, according to their website, free "for pen-toters appalled by wanton displays of Bad English."

Hey, don't mind if I do (it's free—and the mug looks cool).

Friday, February 22, 2008

Good Books:

If you check out my personal blog, studio635, you’ll see that I’m on a quest towards better living. This includes doing things that facilitate my health and general well-being, while specifically cultivating my higher self. And how can anyone’s higher self be cultivated without some serious reading and study?

Accompanying me on my spiritual journey over the years have been many books (some of which I'll discuss in subsequent posts), which have all led me closer to understanding what makes things tick inside me, and in the universe as a whole. My latest acquisitions include A Course In Miracles, and A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose.

A Course In Miracles (ACIM) is designed for self-study although there are many study groups all over the world. It’s certainly not for the faint of heart or the spiritually inexperienced. I say this primarily because of the terminology used throughout this substantive text. I grew up going to church and church school, so although not a religious scholar by any means, I have a basic knowledge of the Bible, on which ACIM is loosely based (very loosely), and other books of this ilk. So although not a breeze for me, I understand the concepts enough to get through it.

Although there are many study aids available online and elsewhere, what’s been helping me are the online lessons given by author/spiritual teacher, Marianne Williamson, who’s got her own slot on Oprah Winfrey’s XM radio network, Oprah & Friends. Perhaps ACIM’s best known guru, Marianne’s decided to focus on one lesson from the text each day throughout this entire year. If you go on Oprah’s website, you’ll be able to find all lessons listed individually. Although the course started on January 1st, you can start anytime. I’m only on Lesson 3 myself, so I still have quite a ways to go.

To learn more about A Course In Miracles, check out the website for its publisher, the Foundation for Inner Peace.

A New Earth is the latest book by Eckhart Tolle, the author of the popular spiritual book, The Power of Now (which I have yet to read). It’s also the latest selection for Oprah’s Book Club, which is the reason I got it. Furthermore, there’s an online class with Oprah and Eckhart starting on March 3rd, and I wanted to get in on it. Ever since Oprah started her book club I wanted to participate, but never did. Now I’ll get my chance.

I started reading A New Earth yesterday and got through the first two chapters, which I love, love, love. Now I really can’t wait for that class to start! I'd like to finish the book first, although I don’t have to, since they’ll only be covering a chapter at a time, but I like getting a head start.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Tools You Can Use: MACJOURNAL 5

I don't think I ever reviewed software before, but this was definitely worth sharing. For those of us who like to journal and use a Mac there's a great app called MacJournal (duh). I just downloaded it from the Mariner Software website, and well, this thing is just too cool for school!

I only started using it yesterday, and I know I've only scratched the surface, but so far I'm pretty impressed. It's got more features than you can shake a stick at, even some you wouldn't necessarily think of for this type of app…or maybe you would.

You can do the usual word processory stuff but it's got other features that are geared specifically for journaling in the traditional way (simulating a diary and its pages, that you can insert as you go), or you can step into the 21st century and use it to maintain your blogs and podcasts.

For someone who loves using my computer for so many things, I've always been a bit old-fashioned about journaling. I looked at one or two shareware apps back in the day, but nothing ever impressed me. Also, I've always just loved the act of holding a beautiful journal in my hand, sitting down with the best writing implement I can find, and expressing my deepest and darkest in its o' so delicate pages. (Can you stand it?) But MacJournal is different. It's so intuitive that I just jumped in and started writing. It actually behaves like a real journal, making it very easy to use.

I'll be using it quite a bit for studying/notetaking (which is why I got it in the first place), and I look forward to checking out it's many features like adding photos, sound and video clips to my entries, and posting to my blogs from it.

FYI: If you see this cool little graphic in any future posts, you'll know what's behind it.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Starting Over… Again

It seems like every time I go on a hiatus from this site, or from blogging in general, I come back full of optimism for the future and remorse from the past. This time I believe I've worked through the remorse thing. Life happens. And it's not always about the blog. As for the optimism, it springs eternal like hope itself.

I just finished reading this entire blog from its very first post to the most recent, and I must say, it ain't half bad! I forgot how much time and effort I put into it and how much I enjoyed doing it. Although I've thought about revisiting it many times, reading through it again actually made me more inspired to pick it back up and start posting.

I've been reading a few new books lately and I figured this was as good a time as any to get my groove back with New Word. I look forward to a new start to go with this brand new year.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Happy Birthday, New Word!

Today's New Word's blogiversary. It's been one whole year since I started this blog, and one whole year of basically neglecting it. This I regret very much. I had so many cool ideas for this thing when I started it. It was all good at first. I already had my personal blog, studio635, that I started 2 weeks earlier, but I always wanted to do something literary.

Back in the day, I'd thought about doing a literary magazine, but never got it off the ground. I've always been involved in publishing, whether being on the school newspaper, or helping others design or edit their publications, so when this blogging thing came about, I figured it would be the perfect way to get my own thing going. Plus, I figured it would be a good way to get me reading books and poetry. Oh well. One out of two ain't bad.

Right now, I'm blogging everywhere but here. Since I started New Word, I've created about 5 other blogs, ranging from a community site to a videoblog. Because of those efforts, I've been invited to speak at a blogging conference, and am working a full-time job I got from a referral from my vlogger friend, Jay. I really can't complain. I just wish the days had a few more hours in them so I can post here more.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006


My friend, GA, recently introduced me to a writer named Carl S. Horner. Although I haven't actually met Mr. Horner in person (we did speak briefly on the phone), I look forward to the opportunity when he comes to NYC next week to promote his new book, A Hole In the Wind, which happens to be published by GA's company, WD Publishers.

Horner's A Hole In the Wind, unlike a certain "little piece" of a book, admits to blending fiction with the author's personal experiences of a difficult childhood. Like the book's protagonist, Colby Fowler, Carl Horner grew up with an alcoholic mother and experienced the pain of being bullied for most of his life.

The issue of bullying and its devastating effect on young children and teens has been a hot topic in the news, and on talk shows like The Oprah Winfrey Show, Dr. Phil, and The Montel Williams Show. The National Education Association estimates that "160,000 children miss school everyday due to fear of attack or intimidation by other students." Those numbers, in addition to his own experiences, have compelled Horner, a college English professor, to join the campaign to get the word out about this disturbing situation and put a stop to it, in large part through the messages of his first novel, A Hole In the Wind.

A Hole In the Wind tells the story of Colby Fowler, a teenage boy dealing with issues of bullying by his peers, and the loneliness and lack of self-worth that occur as a result. Set in the competitive sport of bicycle racing, Colby faces the struggles, and eventual triumph, of trying to fit in with his teammates at school, and maintaining his sanity with his drunken mother at home.

The reviews, so far, have been good, and according to letters the author has received, it's powerful message has already saved at least one teenager from committing suicide. Also, students at Landrum Middle School have been so touched by the healing power of A Hole In the Wind that they have rallied the entire Landrum, Florida school district to write a letter recommending the book as a topic of discussion on the Dr. Phil Show.

As of this writing, I've only read a couple of chapters, but I do look forward to reading the rest. So far, from what I can see, it's going to be a page turner—and quite possibly, a tear jerker.

Monday, January 16, 2006

New Year, New Resolve

It's been quite a while since I posted here—over 3 months. To be honest, I haven't felt very literary lately. I hadn't read a book all the way through in I don't know how long, and haven't kept up with any book news—not even from Oprah! Though there were a couple of things I wanted to say here, my focus has definitely been elsewhere. I started to wonder if I should just shut this thing down. It's not like I get many readers. And why should I if there's nothing new being posted?

I got an email today that changed my mind. It was from Steve Leveen, the CEO and Co-Founder of Levenger. I posted about his book, The Little Guide To Your Well-Read Life, way back in May (see post), and commented to his website around the same time to let them know I did. I completely forgot about it until the email showed up this afternoon (eight months later). Despite the delay, is was a very pleasant surprise. And, considering how I've been feeling lately, it totally made my day.

Here's an excerpt:
What you're doing with your blogs is just lovely—such a service to others and, I'm sure, a way for you to learn and grow as well. I admire what you've already accomplished and wish you the very best in your important work. —Steve
How cool is that?! He actually thinks what I'm doing here is important. You could have knocked me over with a feather!

Well, if Mr. Steve Leveen thinks this blog is important, then I figure I owe it to him—and myself—to stick with it. I might not post often, but I'll definitely post. I just hope people still want to read it.

So, here's to a new year and a new resolve.