Archive for November 2016

'Championship Writing' -- bumpy or smooth?

'Championship Writing' -- bumpy or smooth?
My first favorite chapter in “Championship Writing: 50 ways to improve your writing” by Paula LaRocque (introduced earlier today here) is Chapter 5, “The writing path can be bumpy or smooth.” LaRocque gets down to basics, as good writing must, by writing that “Finding the right words often makes the difference between mediocre and distinguished... Read more »

'Championship Writing' to get from the World Series to the Stanley Cup Final

'Championship Writing' to get from the World Series to the Stanley Cup Final
It’s letter-writing time for “the holidays,” as well as year-end report-writing time in many jobs. So what better time for some writing tips? That’s what I thought when a little orange-and-white paperback book started jumping out at me (almost literally) from my collection of writing manuals. That book is “Championship Writing” by Paula LaRocque. With a title... Read more »

Thanks and thanks again! Serious questions to ask yourself

Thanks and thanks again! Serious questions to ask yourself
What a wild month in a wild year. (Just a month ago, we didn’t know who would win either the World Series or the presidential election!) But that wild feeling just makes it more important to stop to rest. Hmm, I nearly typed that as “reset.” Not much of an error. Let your stop be... Read more »
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Is the 'personal news feed' the problem? Go get startled!

Is the 'personal news feed' the problem? Go get startled!
When did you last run across a story that startled you? When did you last read something by a writer you don’t subscribe to — just because you liked how it looked? I can still do that. I still get a newspaper delivered. As regular readers of these essays will know, I am a longtime... Read more »

What if campaigns had time limits and candidates had to wait?

What if campaigns had time limits and candidates had to wait?
I feel compelled to depart for a moment from the usual verbal focus of these essays to consider what I see as the leading problem with the presidential campaign: It’s too long. Most of the analysts I’ve watched, and many I’ve read, have commented in some way that the campaign lasted more than a year. I’ve... Read more »

The real difference between historic and historical events

The real difference between historic and historical events
Reading and listening to the news of this November has alerted me to a pair of words worth defending: historic and historical. Contrary to my original definition of “words worth defending,” each of these words gets out enough — even too much, in this busy month — but it’s the distinction between them that needs... Read more »
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'What do we do now?'

'What do we do now?'
The election is over. Regardless of the outcome (and I’m writing this before it’s known), I’m going to spend the day considering what my political science professor, Dr. Richard Balkema, taught me at Valparaiso University back in — er, back in the twentieth century. The most important question in politics, Dr. Balkema said, was the... Read more »

The real story behind 'Now I can die in peace'

The real story behind 'Now I can die in peace'
Like many residents of the North Side, I watched the World Series with interest, even though I am not a close follower of the Chicago Cubs. I watched it partly for the joy of seeing something I’d never seen happen before, a Cubs championship. But since the series has been won, I’ve been watching language with... Read more »