Maybe I should have named my blog Potpourri or Pastiche or simply a Savory Stew because I aim to throw a lot of different things into the pot, mostly about reading, writing and art, but many other things, too, because I’ve lived a long time and have a lot of interests. I also will include here thoughts of others I come upon who share my loves. Including those of you who care to share your thoughts and impressions.

Archive - June, 2013

Before the PC or Mac there was the TYPEWRITER
posted by Ed Farber on June 24, 2013

Most of you younger writers have never used a typewriter. How lucky you are.

Consider this. Back before PCs and Macs became the tools for writers, when you were working on a manuscript and wanted to rewrite a paragraph or a sentence or even a word, you had to retype that page. If it changed the word count, you then had to retype everything that came after it. And if you were a mediocre or even an average typist it took hours. I confess that I used to write in long hand on yellow lined tablets. I wrote an entire novel that way on 27 tablets filled with scratch-outs, scribbles, odd notes to myself. I still keep those tablets to remind myself how far we have come with computers to ease the burden of writing and rewriting.

Prior to PCs and word processors (that’s what they called the earliest rudimentary replacement for the typewriter) in order to prepare a manuscript for submission to a magazine, say, you had to type your manuscript (on a typewriter) on clean white paper, no strikeovers or erasures. Editors were then and are now particular about how a manuscript looked. If it was messy it probably would not even be read. And if it was filled with typos and poor grammar it would end up in the big, round file on the floor.

Rewriting, always a difficult process, is so easy now. Just rewrite, copy, paste. The computer does it so quickly. When you’re done, print it out. I used to paste in the old days, too, cutting out the rewritten part and pasting it in position in the manuscript, and then when I was satisfied, I would type it all out once more. Tedious, but that’s the way it was. I still have my old typewriter gathering dust on a shelf. Anyone want to buy it?

Can You Use a Book Title Already Taken?
posted by Ed Farber on June 17, 2013

Being a relative newcomer to indie publishing, I was under a basic misconception when I selected the title of my first book. I really wanted to name it, Looking Back Laughing. When I Googled that title, I discovered that it had been used before, primarily as a song title. I thought at the time that I couldn’t use it because of copyright law or something. I was dead wrong. If I wanted to I could write a book and name it, Taming of the Shrew, or Hamlet or Gone with the Wind. Titles are not copyrighted, even current titles. Of course, it would be a mistake to do so, but if I wanted to I could. I know that now, but back then I changed the preferred title to Looking Back with a Smile. I think I’m stuck with that title (yes, I do know I can change it if I want, but the change is complicated and I think not worth the effort.) But I can change the cover design as I mentioned in a previous  post.

Here are a few more things you can't copyright:

Titles and names, short phrases and slogans; ideas, concepts, procedures, familiar symbols or designs, color combinations, common story plots. You do copyright your own written book with the story and characters you create. You can be accused of plagiarism if you use other people’s published work as your own without permission. But if you like a book title that someone has used, go ahead and use it safely. I wouldn’t. But you could if you like.

View Up the Street takes First Place
posted by Ed Farber on June 7, 2013

I have my art listed at FineArtAmerica for the sale of open (unsigned) prints of my paintings.

They hold contests on various themes which I enter periodically. One of the recent contests was on the theme, Old Porches. I entered my painting, A View Up the Street, pictured above. It won FIRST PLACE out of 71 pieces of artwork entered.

An interesting note about that painting. The scene is a view up the 1300 block of Clara Avenue in the city of St. Louis as it was about 70 years ago. I painted it with a mixture of acrylics and nostalgia because that was the block I grew up on. I painted it from memory because I did not have old photos of it. Recently, I Googled that block to look at a street view and most of the houses are gone, razed to the ground. The second house on the right in the painting is 1368 Clara, the first-floor flat I used to live in as a kid.

I actually painted a number of paintings of that old block because it held happy memories of my growing up years. One of those paintings, The Old Neighborhood, Clara and Minerva, is on the cover of my new book entitled Echoes of Clara Avenue, a collection of short stories about people who lived on a fictional block named Clara Avenue.

My old neighborhood had a lasting impression on me. How about your old neighborhood? How do you remember it?