Thursday, 22 November 2012

And FURTHER....(re: School Days)

Well, now that I'm in school-teacher mode, I have a few things to say, so listen up....

No, just kidding, as is my wont... But it IS true that I did develop certain strict & stern habits of character over my years in the classroom... and also  before that, as a copy editor and proof reader, in my first job,  back in the Golden Age when publishing companies actually DID hire young university graduates to make sure that there were no errors of any kind -- typographical, factual or grammatical
 -- on the page of any book they published. We learned to care, deeply -- our jobs and our lives depended on it -- about perfection. And we abhored mediocrity, which  was associated with careless and shabby English usage as well as a host of other sins.

I was reminded of this recently when someone drew my attention to a blog -- -- in which Jennifer, bless her heart, remarks on how she's seen  me on television, delivering a half-hour talk (videotaped at Humber College many many years ago) about how important I think it is to "get things right" ... And she quotes me as saying that I believe the world has enough mediocrity,  that there is already an abundance of of mediocre books, we don't need more. What we DO need are writers with huge hearts and open minds who care deeply and passionately not only about their subject matter but also about the craft of writing itself... language, punctuation, grammar... the tools and the material out of which we make our literature.

I so appreciated being quoted by Jennifer, and I felt perhaps I'd encountered a kindred soul, until I read a little further in her blog and found that HUGGAN (the name I took when I married, as I preferred it to my father's name) had been altered along the way to HUGGINS.... Now, that's carelessness, which leads to mediocrity... And it's a good reminder to me, too, as in writing a blog one can  so easily slip into "chatty mode" and not pay attention to particulars...I like Jennifer's blog a lot, but this did shake me...and reminded me to look to my own flaws and faults.

For example, I neglected to give a photo credit to my dear friend SANDY (who took the shot of me with Michelle, who runs L'Atelier), in the blog post a couple of days ago. Sandy was Sandra when I met her back in 1978 at Carleton University where she was a journalism professor and my husband Bob was taking his Masters in Journalism on his sabbatical from Loyalist College in Belleville.  She and I were of an age and we struck up a good friendship then, which has carried on even though she's now living in Canberra and has become an Australian citizen, and I find myself  continuing as a Canadian but living in France. We keep in touch regularly, see each other frequently, and have one of those marvellous connections that is  really life-sustaining.

Where would any of us be without our friends, eh? Well, that's another blog for another day.
Maybe tomorrow...