While we were away, cold rains pounded San Diego, stranding my parents inside with the kids and washing away most of our carrot seedlings. The radishes and lettuces survived the floods and are looking sprightlier than ever. The blueberries dropped a lot of blossoms but I think we’ll get a few berries, at least. The flowers are lusher than ever, fresh-faced now that I’ve picked off the spent, rain-battered blossoms.
We miss our bird feeder. Last summer, it attracted rats, so we emptied it. I’m aching to try again. When we moved from New York to Virginia in the winter of 2002, the very first box I unpacked was the one marked BIRD FEEDERS. True story. In our Long Island backyard, we had downy woodpeckers, nuthatches, and titmice at the feeders every day. I can still feel the cold glass of the sliding door that tiny Jane and I use to lean against as we watched our birds. In Virginia, we had cardinals, juncoes, and my favorite, the wee chickadees. A pair of bluebirds nested in a box under our deck, right outside my office window. I wrote Across the Puddingstone Dam between bouts of peeking at those bluebirds from between the blinds.
In this yard, we mostly only see sparrows and finches, and the imperious crows. There’s a lone phoebe, junco-gray and tufted like a cardinal, who perches on the fence, watching warily as I putter in the garden. There are the hummingbirds, of course, flashing low overhead like little green comets, perching on the slender branches of the cape honeysuckle. They adore those trumpety orange flowers, as do the bees. I haven’t seen the scrub jay in a while. All last summer he called outside our bedroom window at a minute past sunrise every morning. The kids named him Peanut, after his favorite food.
I just googled my own blog to see when I’ve posted about the flock of parrots in years past. January and February is when they swirl through our neighborhood, it seems. But I don’t think I’ve heard them this year! Any other San Diegans know the whereabouts of those rowdy green squawkers right now?
the most important thing is stop your work, get in your car, and drive to your father's house, when he's not expecting you. To find him out back, watching the birds in the trees and at their well-stocked feeder. To sit with him through mourning doves and orioles, woodpeckers and finches. To leave a book, a new one, behind.
I received an email question from a blog reader who had just finished reading one of her favorite authors and was dismayed by the â€śdisastrous typos and spelling mistakes in the text, embarrassing things the author should have caught.â€ť What she described to me were misspelled street names and store names, things anyone who is familiar with or a resident of that city would surely notice.
It reminded me of an experience I had while still an assistant editor at Berkley. Early one morning, I had just settled into my desk with a coffee and delicious Zaroâ€™s bagel from Grand Central when my phone rang. It was an irate reader. She had just gotten off her train at Grand Central (imagine if we had been on the same train) and the entire experience was ruined for her because the book she was reading was riddled with typos and errors. She wasnâ€™t able to finish the book, but had circled all the mistakes she had found and would be sending the book back to us. I received it the next day.
The mistakes she circled? Purposefully written that way by the author. It was the slang used by a 13-year-old character. All of the â€śmistakesâ€ť she circled were actually dialogue.
What was so interesting to me about this particular situation is that the reader was not at all upset with the author, but instead blamed the publisher for the mistakes made. Which brings me around to the first question by the blog reader. Who is ultimately responsible for typos or other errors in the book? Is it the author? Editor? Production? And what can a writer do when this happens?
Well, Iâ€™ll be curious to hear your thoughts on the matter, but I personally feel that itâ€™s the authorâ€™s responsibility. While a good copyeditor should definitely check and double-check things like street names, itâ€™s not a copyeditorâ€™s job to make sure your facts are straight. The author, presumably, has done her best to turn in a manuscript that she feels is polished and ready to publish. The editorâ€™s job is to make sure the book is strong, well written, and marketable. Through revisions itâ€™s again the authorâ€™s job to make sure the manuscript is polished and ready to publish. Itâ€™s the copyeditorâ€™s job to make sure the book is clean of typos, grammatical errors, and any plot inconsistencies, and, well, you know the authorâ€™s job by now.
While you certainly hope for a good strong editor and copyeditor who will do extra work to make sure every little detail is correct, you canâ€™t always count on the fact that theyâ€™ll be the ones to â€śfixâ€ť things. Thatâ€™s no oneâ€™s job other than the authorâ€™s. If you are one of the lucky few who end up with a terrific copyeditor, itâ€™s always nice to send a note of thanks. They are a very talented and yet underappreciated bunch.
And yes, I am not forgetting that there are the rare times when an authorâ€™s corrections do not make it into the published book. In that case the author should definitely turn in a list of corrections to her editor. Hopefully theyâ€™ll make the fixes the next time they go to press.
Typos are inevitable, you just hope they arenâ€™t embarrassingly noticeable.
Did you know that cardinals mate for life and return to the same nesting ground every year? Or that a roost of crows can number up to two million individual birds with complex family units that could include up to fifteen family members? Those are just a few of the many facts about common North American birds found in this lovely book authored by Michael J. Rosen and illustrated by Stan Fellows.
Haiku seems to be enjoying something of a renaissance with dozens and dozens of poets sharing traditional and new haiku on blogs. One of the most striking things about this book is that the watercolors contribute to the impression that we're just catching a quick glimpse of the bird's busy life.
The illustrations are masterful as they emphasize one or two physical characteristics of each bird and place them in a typical setting so that the reader gets a real sense of what they look like and where to find them. The book is organized into four sections that represent birds you would see during the four seasons. The color palette for each of the seasons also contributes to the impressionistic effect.
There is quite a community of Canada Geese in my neighborhood and Rosen's haiku describes them perfectly.
the pond's still airstrip
far-off trumpets grow louder -
And here is one for the dark-eyed junco:
phased like tilted moons
half shadow, half reflection
juncos cross the snow
There are many wonderful facts about the birds scattered throughout the book in lovely script. My only complaint about the book is that these are very small and difficult to read. I had to pull out the magnifying glass and my eyes are not that bad. there is an appendix in the back of the book that gives more information about the birds, their habits and their songs.
It is a beautiful book that can be shared many times throughout the year as the seasons change.It's a wonderful place to start a young birdwatcher.
For more reviews about the book, check these out:The Wrung SpongeHaiku by TwoBook Ideas