Where they have burned books they will afterward burn people.

— heinrich hein, from his 1823 play almansor: a tragedy

Editors should be able to write too.

I’ve been writing all my life. I’ve even tried my hand at fiction, although I’m not working on anything currently. A lot of what I write now is book jacket copy (or marketing copy packs) for different publishers. I’ve also written scripts, articles for local publications, and all sorts of marketing copy.

I have particularly enjoyed writing about my travels, which have resulted in a travelogue disbursed to friends (and which may someday result in something more). Here’s a little example:

We took a trip to Paris this spring, and I’m thrilled to report we had a grand time, in spite of the fact that neither of us speaks a lick of French. The thing is, most of Paris is subtitled. It’s the number-one tourist destination in the world, for pete’s sake, and, trust me, most of those tourists do not speak French. Of course, we learned the language quickly: le bridge, le bottled water, le apartment, le mobile phone … But seriously, the French have laws (laws!) about this sort of thing (zis Franglais, eet must be stopped!), so it’s a wonder we weren’t deported.

There are about 87 million native French-speakers, which actually puts it ’way down on the list of world languages. Chinese, of course, is first, even if you only count Mandarin, at 873 million; English and Spanish are neck and neck, each with around 350 million native speakers; then there’s Arabic, and Portuguese … French is actually twelfth on this list, after Russian, Japanese, and German, among others—but really, do you want to learn to speak Russian? Nah. My too-brief visit to Paris, on the other hand, has me considering French classes, because I want to go back.

One burning question you may have had that I am pleased to be able to answer: do they really wear berets in Paris? Absolutely. The young, the old, men, women—there are lots of berets goin’ on. Simple, classic, oh-so-chic. I’d read that Paris is a city of fashion, of careful dressing, and it’s true. You see older women in the shops, all dressed up in hose and heels and a skirt, buying their groceries—no running down to the convenience store in your sweats on a Saturday morning, oh no. Paris is simply not a casual city. You can immediately identify the tourists: we’re the ones in the comfortable shoes.

My primary delight in writing these days, though, is my blog, where I discuss writing and editing, books and authors, words and language, and publishing … not necessarily in that order.

On occasion, I write middle grade chapter books with Tim Conrad. It’s a lot of fun. :)