Readers' Notes

Eve Corbel

We get a lot of mail at the Geist offices, much of it from people who "read the mag from cover to cover!!" But some Geist readers pay closer attention than others. One such sharp-eyed fan wrote recently to ask: "Just what is a 'techno-otipimist' (Number 2, p. 29)?"

It hurt. We at Geist are proud of our proofreading and copy editing, activities that seem to have gone out of style. No—activities which seem to have gone out of style. No, I was right the first time. Or was I ?

Among usage experts there is still disagreement about the use of which and that. In fact, long arguments on the subject are on the record. I've got my preferences—which is nonrestrictive and that is restrictive: clean, clear, simple—but either way is all right with me. Not, however, alright with me: alright now appears in Webster's and probably other places but it does not appear in my work. And neither does anymore.

But these are small quibbles, compared with what I call jargon nouveau. (Use compare to in likening two things, compare with in placing two things side by side to examine their differences or similarities.) For an example of jargon nouveau, take proactive. Please. The word has been creeping into meetings and consultants' proposals at an alarming rate. It is, apparently, the new antonym of reactive. I want to know what the heck was wrong with active. Not forceful enough, without that '9s prefix?

Copy editing, or line editing, is hard and slow going. These are rough economic times for publishers; their decision not to labour painfully over each word and expression is to be accepted, if not applauded. Let's tell it like it is: without some shortcuts, there wouldn't be a Canadian publishing industry. Yeah, I know, tell it as it is. I put that in on purpose, to prove I'm not just a conservative, anal retentive lexicophile. Language shifts like everything else in our culture; however, language is not just a reflection of culture, but one of the forces shaping it. How we speak and write defines how we think and act. (Or should I say proact?)

And now, some sentences found in 199-91 Canadian book publishers' catalogues. The samples were taken from small, medium and large publishers, some Canadian-owned, some branchplants, even a multinational or two:

On stage with the Royal Winnipeg Ballet, at a cow auction in Dauphin, or on the frozen Hudson Bay coast with a prowling polar bear, these images transport you, and remain in your mind's eye.

Here, for the first time, you'll find all the information you need, including where to stay, where to eat, what to do, when best to do it, and why.

Yet they also see the potential for English Canada to come together as a community to realize an accommodation with Quebec and the native people, as well as maintaining our independence from the U.S.

It juxtaposes the verbal accounts of key players, recreating the entire process with incisive clarity.

By the age of thirteen, everyone had given up on Marlene.

On summer break from her teaching job in Saskatoon, she goes on a voyage of self-discovery—first across Canada to Montreal, and then into the heart of her own country, St. Laurent, Saskatchewan, an area originally settled by French Canadians from Quebec who had travelled "upstream" to reach this northern area. As his devious plans for the artworks gradually unfold, conscience begins to prickle.

Very fine quality colour photography makes this handsome volume a pleasure to peruse, and its brief but insightful text completes the experience.

She has appeared in numerous magazines and anthologies.

The book also provides a window onto the riotous international track circuit.

The celebrity guests depart and Creed starts to pack up his gear when a ravaged, grey-coated man lurches onto the scene and begins to desecrate the actress's grave in a most foul manner.

And as the author continues to write, she continues to fill the inestimable silence with words.

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Eve Corbel

Eve Corbel is a writer, illustrator, cartoonist, mom and grandma. Her writing and artwork have been published in numerous anthologies and periodicals, including Geist.


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