Monthly Archives: May 2012

Thursday Intermission

It’s Thursday! Time to sit back and relax with another Thursday Intermission.

This would be a great day for a picnic–let’s have a look at how technology can help. The soundtrack really adds to the experience.

Oops. Did we get some ketchup on your shirt? You might be excused for feeling a little cranky. Like this guy:

Maybe we should forget about the picnic. How about a pick-up game instead?

See you tomorrow!

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Nine Things Ghostwriting Has Taught Me About Life

Writing

Writing (Photo credit: jjpacres)

Last week I wrote about my job as a ghostwriter. This week I thought I’d share nine things I’ve learned from that job.

1. It’s not about me: Book projects take many hours: initial talks with the author to see if we’re a good fit and get the gist of the message or project, reading and listening to the materials provided, critiquing the manuscript, organizing, writing, researching and fact-checking, and revising—all to make someone else’s message clear and interesting. My name rarely appears anywhere in the book, and I never tell anyone else if I’ve written a particular book, even if it does really well–and even if that one slightly snobbish friend tells me about this new book she’s been reading and I really, really want to. It’s not about me.

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Thursday Intermission

Welcome!

Today’s video is a love story, full of action and suspense. I proudly present: Octopi in Love. Enjoy!

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Bears in Africa: The Mother Bear Project

Doug in Namibia 10.12

One of Karen’s bears found a friend in Namibia.

 

Africa used to be known as the only continent that was not home to bears. Thanks to my sister, and many people like her, that’s no longer the case.

Karen is part of the Mother Bear Project, a nonprofit that is “dedicated to providing comfort and hope to children affected by HIV/AIDS in emerging nations, by giving them a gift of love in the form of a hand-knit or crocheted bear,” according to their website. “The simple gift of a hand-knit bear with a tag signed by the knitter has touched children who have nearly nothing in the world with the message that they are loved by someone halfway around the world.”

Project founder Amy Berman was moved to take action when she read a magazine article about some of the horrific things that were happening to these children in the false hope of curing HIV/AIDS in adults: rape, HIV/AIDS and poverty. The article asked that people send in items of comfort for the children. Recalling the hand-knit bears her children had loved, she was inspired to knit a bear—even though she didn’t knit at the time. She went on to create the Mother Bear Project, inviting friends and neighbors to knit bears for children in Africa.

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Thursday Intermission

Good Morning!

Thanks for joining me. Have you ever thought about how beautiful life is? This video shows the beauty of just one second–in a series of one-second videos.

And do you remember last week’s “Where … Is Matt,” in which Matt danced his way around the world? Well, it inspired this guy:

Hope you’re having a fantastic week!

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Ghostwriting: Acting on Paper

When our second son was young, he watched as I listened and took notes on a recorded teaching, playing the same thing over a few times to be sure I’d caught the nuances. He asked me what I was doing. I explained that I was trying to bring the man’s message–from videos, audio and lots and lots of notes– together into a book. But I needed to sound like the author, not like me. “Oh,” he said. “It’s like acting on paper.”

That pretty much sums it up. As I’ve mentioned before, I’m a ghostwriter. My work involves other things, too: I also serve as an editor, proofreader, copy editor and writer. But ghostwriting is a little different, a bit more involved. When I ghost, I’m writing an entire book in someone else’s name.

Generally the way it works is that I’m given a stack of materials–essays or notes, teaching outlines, seminar handouts, audio or video recordings–that are to be made into a cohesive, coherent message. After I’ve grasped the main thrust and the intended audience, I can start to put together a draft. It needs to be organized and fact-checked, trimmed in some areas and expanded in others. The ideas must flow in a logical progression. Questions that might arise from what is presented must be answered.

Oh, and it also has to “sound” like the author, not like me.

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Serving the Gumball God

Gumball machines in a Diner at Dallas, Texas, ...

Gumball machines in a Diner at Dallas, Texas, in 2008. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

They made a lively trio: The young mother perusing the grocery shelves, her son–maybe five or six years old–and the baby in a seat in the cart. She talked to her children, making a game of it. I smiled, remembering how I had done the same with mine–it made the trips go a little more quickly.

Just then, the boy looked up and, seeing my smile, gave me a huge grin and a wave. I grinned back as I continued on my way.

As sometimes happens, we kept seeing each other as we shopped, weaving our ways through the aisles of the store. Each time the boy and I would exchange a smile, a wink or a wave–the mother didn’t seem to mind and started smiling at me too. Finally, I was at the check-out line–just behind my new friend. He whispered something to his mom. When she nodded, he leaned over to me. In a conspiratorial whisper, he told me a grand secret: “Mom said I could have money for the gumball machine!”

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