Speaking Engagement

May 28, 2009

I know it’s been a while since I’ve posted anything and, in case you were wondering, the session at CAPA-U went really well.

I’ve just gotten another speaking engagement. I’ll be a guest presenter at the Rocky Hill Re-employment Group on Thursday, June 18. My topic will be “Grammar 101: How Not to Blow the Interview When You Open Your Mouth.”

This idea arose from my having to sit through one too many presentations by sales professionals who should know better – folks who say things like, “Me and my partner went to a seminar last month,” or “Him and me are going to talk about red widgets…” or the dreaded, “On behalf of my colleague and myself…”

Are you sensing my frustration here? Hang on a second while I thump my head against my desk in futility.

I’ll probably also veer off a little into the need to proofread your resume carefully. After all, you don’t want to send off your resume to a potential employer only to realize later that you listed your last job as “Pubic Relations Manger.”

I may be wrong, but that kind of thing seems awfully specialized… and I’m not sure many folks are hiring mangers these days, pubic or otherwise.

All levity aside, I must admit, I’m a smidgen anxious about getting up in front of people who are really there; my background is in radio – I’m used to talking to people who aren’t there. Really! I used to spend five or six hours a day in a 10×12-foot room, talking into a microphone to people who weren’t there! Now, I could reasonably assume someone was listening (if only my mother… and Scruffy, my cat), but I had no logical way of knowing someone was actually tuned in and paying attention to what I was saying.

And now – well, I just spend my days sitting at a computer, typing words… granted, I’m building pretty things with those words, crafting all kinds of fun structural stuff and making folks go, “Gee, I really want to buy that, now that you’ve described it so nicely!”

But addressing a group of live human beings? Not so much my comfort zone.

If you speak in front of people, how do you get up there and do it? What are your tips, your suggestions, your tools of the trade that make you not want to squeak, “Eep!” and hide behind your lectern?

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Mother’s Day? Mothers’ Day? Mothers Day? Which is correct?

May 7, 2009

This Sunday is Mother’s Day. That’s right. Not Mothers’ Day. Not Mothers Day. And certainly not mothers day. Mother-apostrophe-ess: Mother’s Day.

A number of folks have asked me via email, “How do I know when to capitalize Mother (or Mom) and when to leave it lowercase?”

Great question. Here’s the quick-and-dirty answer:

If you were writing, for instance, “I went to visit my mother; we played canasta,” the lowercase form of “mother” would be appropriate. However, if you were to write, “I went to visit Mother; we played canasta,” you would capitalize “Mother,” because that is the name you call her.

Have other questions? Just leave a comment.

Oh, and whether you’re currently overrun with young’uns or your kids are grown and gone – or even if you’re someone’s godmother or favorite auntie, Happy Mother’s Day to you!

And, if you happen to be among the women for whom motherhood was cut short, this is your Mother’s Day, too. Take time to honor yourself and your departed child(ren) this Sunday. Remember to be gentle with yourself… and, above all, know there will be better a Mother’s Day for you in time.


CAPA-U… Seven Days and Counting

May 2, 2009

Next Saturday (May 9, 2009), I’ll be taking part in an editors’ panel at CAPA University, a day-long professional-development day for writers; I’ll be part of a three-member panel of experts. This sixth annual event is sponsored by the Connecticut Authors & Publishers Association.

Some of the topics we’re sure to discuss will be word usage, spelling, grammar, punctuation, general editing and proofreading.

What are your thorniest proofreading/editing concerns? If you were to attend this panel discussion, what burning question would you most like answered or addressed?