Dear Writers,

I used to do this on Facebook but I’m not really using Facebook these days and if (when, in all frankitude) I return I expect my, uh, social strategies will have changed. So we’ll do this here and, in the future, you may use the category Dear Writers to retrieve all the lessons.

That out of the way: jesusgod, people, stop. pushing. my. buttons.

everyday (one word) = adjective: ordinary, unexciting, habitual
He wore his everyday suit to the ball. Scandal!
I did the everyday cleanup of the cat box.
She had a ho-hum, everyday sort of face.

every day (two words) = adverbial phrase: recurring at twenty-four-hour intervals
We went to the beach every day last summer.
Every day she contemplates killing her boss.
Will you loathe me every day as you do today?

On another matter: If you type My short story, “The Best Piece of Fiction Ever Composed,” has been selected for reprint in a prestigious annual or Random House will publish my novel, You Can’t Even Imagine Writing Something This Good, next summer, your parenthesizing commas are saying you have only ever produced one short story/novel and will never write another. I hope this is not true. (…Or maybe I don’t, if you keep this up.) Deploy punctuation with discretion and care lest it bite it you.

Edited to add[endum] some hours later because jesusgod:

You do know, don’t you…. Oh, rats, I’m being disingenuous there. Some of you—some of you who write for well regarded outlets which might be assumed to employ copyeditors—clearly don’t know that populous and populace are not the same word. (My computer’s dictionary says they’re pronounced the same but not in my idiolect.) Different parts of speech even.

populous, adjective, referring to a location, meaning well peopled, heavily peopled, perhaps jam-packed with people

populace, noun, meaning the collective human persons who inhabit a location (which need not be populous)

A further note of caution. Populace and population are very nearly synonymous, but where population is a relatively neutral, value-judgment-free term that does not invariably refer to human persons, populace is not. The value judgment is right there in the etymology: from Italian popolaccio “common people,” from popolo “people” + the pejorative suffix -accio. In plain words, populace is rabble, the great unwashed, those people with whom we the élite do not associate and to whom we condescend. When, for example, you are speaking from your well regarded bully pulpit about the Great People of the United States of America (no, I do not plan to name my target but I do have one) and mean to be complimentary rather than snide, you should really think twice before calling them (us, frankly) the populace. Perhaps if you had thought twice you would not then have screwed up even further by typing populous.

spring is here*

And with it my first published story in two years. Go. Read. (It’s free.) Then, if you missed it and if you like, there’s a bit of background on “The Garden of Sons and Husbands” here.** * Or so they say. I am not so sure. El-Niño-birthed weather patterns mean it’s been dismal in the […]

story news

I have not been talking about writing much but the fact is I’m doing it. Some. Now and again. And even finishing things…infrequently. Which is to say, so far this year three stories, two longish and one shortish. And a fourth I mean to complete before the New Year’s Eve submission deadline (get cracking, Jeffers!). […]

book news

Long ago at the beginning of time—in 1976, that is—the first piece of fiction I was ever paid money for appeared in print. If I remember correctly, that story paid for my first electric typewriter. I’d written it longhand in a prep-school spiral-bound notebook, then typed it up on a portable manual Hermès that might […]

farewell, lovely

RIP Miss Charlotte Brontë, July 2001 – November 2015. Her resting place in my sister’s rose garden, Roseburg, Oregon. Under this rose I acquired in the spring but never got into the ground—Milwaukee’s Calatrava.


Happy Revolt-Against-Your-Rightful-Monarch Day or whatever you call it. I have not had much to say these weeks, what with Misses Charlotte and Jane not venturing into the terrifying outdoor world for a while, thankfully. A little earthquake this morning, first I’ve noticed since returning to the west coast although not the first to occur: the […]

jane’s adventures

Envious, no doubt, of Miss Charlotte Brontë’s harrowing ordeal as reported in the previous post, Miss Jane Austen did her own thing last night. With my unwitting, careless, stupid aid. That is, I came in from a cigarette or something, washed a few dishes, then noticed Charlotte nosing at the deck door. Which moved. Even […]

unhappy homecoming…joyous reunion

I went away for a week. A road trip with my sister to the Monterey Peninsula of California. The occasion was the annual spring garden-party fundraiser for the Robinson Jeffers Tor House Foundation, which maintains and preserves the house my grandfather built, where we grew up. We met up with our elder brother, who keeps […]

Alida Moraes

Alida Moraes (1888 – 1918) was a Portuguese story writer and poet best known for her posthumously published novelas pequenas (“little novels”). The only book published in her lifetime, a slender volume simply entitled 26 Poemas (26 Poems), appeared in 1910 under the masculine pseudonym Sebastião Preto. In 1916, when the Portuguese Republic declared war […]

oh, hi

Three and a half months since my last post. Wow. I never intended it and it doesn’t feel that long. The calendar says so, though: the calendar and the season, which—here in Eugene—is pretty definitely spring although people where I used to live are still digging out from under Snowpocalypse ’15. (Can’t say I’m sorry […]