What It Is (posts below left; rate sheet, client list, other stuff below right)

My name is Bob Land. I am a full-time freelance editor and proofreader, and occasional indexer. This blog is my website.

You'll find my rate sheet and client list here, as well as musings on the life of a freelancer; editing, proofreading, and indexing concerns and issues; my ongoing battles with books and production; and the occasional personal revelation.

Feel free to contact me directly with additional questions: landondemand@gmail.com.

Thanks for visiting. Leave me a comment. Come back often.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Copyediting and Proofreading Harry Potter

No. Not me. The only interest I have in Harry Potter is that I'm glad it interested a generation in books, and a few members of my family are mighty interested in the books and movies.

We also have a British first edition of one of the books that I think was purchased in Germany in 2000 when one of the series came out. Interesting thing, from what I understand, is that one of the chapters ends differently than the US edition, and there might even be some chapter titles that are different, or a couple of chapters in different order. Huh? Well, whatever.

Anyway, I've linked below to a story about the woman who proofread the first few in the series and copyedited the last few. It's only mildly interesting, but I figure that a mention of Harry Potter might draw a little blog traffic. Shameless whore? Present.

Harry Potter haiku anyone? I'd be at a loss . . . except to use it to riff on publishing and money and myth -- and my wife wishing she could have seen Daniel Radcliffe in Equus.


Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Other Than That, Mrs. Lincoln, How Was the Play?

Email received this morning from a publisher:


Hi Bob:

I know you have several projects in your hands right now, but I’ve run into a problem and I’m contacting all my indexers to see if anyone can help!

I received an index from a new indexer yesterday (my three “regulars” are busy), right on schedule, but it’s not acceptable.  I now have a book that is going to be overdue, without an index.  The book is 288 pages, with 8 pages of that reserved for the index.  The biggest problem with the rejected index is that the indexer does not have a grasp of the theological content, and many of the entries just don’t make sense, the contributors to the volume are not referenced properly, some of the page ranges are too wide, and poor decisions are made about what to break down and how to phrase things.

It may be possible to salvage some of the work—I could forward the rejected index to you—or maybe that just makes more work than not.

In any case, if there is any way you could help out with this index or if you have any suggestions, please let me know.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Haiku Monday [Sleep]: The Report

Haiku Monday: The Winner

Toda la vida es sueño, y los sueños, sueños son.
—Pedro Calderón de la Barca (1600–1681)

The translation I originally heard for this statement was “Life is a dream, and dreaming, a dream.” I know barely enough Spanish to know that’s not a literal translation, but it’s close enough and it’s the one I’ve stuck with. And it sounds better in Spanish anyway.


My methodology.

I read nothing and, as you’ve now seen, made no comments while the posting was taking place. Promptly at midnight I printed two copies of all the haiku/comments. I put one copy aside, and then gave the other copy to my 18-year-old son, instructing him to black out all names and avatars. I was committed to treating this contest as much as possible with the haiku masters being anonymous.

I did read up a little on haiku, most of which echoed what Troll’s already explained elsewhere. I did not take the elements of classical Japanese haiku into account for their own sake; that is, if you incorporated classical haiku elements you were not awarded for it, nor were you penalized for their absence. And a little research shows that American haiku has branched off into pretty much a different form regardless. And that’s what we’re here for: some good ol’ Amurkun haiku. But in the case of Kireji particularly, I think it helps make for some good poetry.

And that’s what we’re dealing with: poetry, but you have a not very good English major doing the hosting. Furthermore, as your host and judge, you have an editor who’s had to suffer professionally through some of the most painful tripe ever written in the name of verse. Imagine the worst—the absolute worst—greeting-card/Burma Shave doggerel you’ve ever read. Then set up rhyming patterns that are broken out of laziness rather than intent. Then entirely screw up the meter. That’s most of the poetry I’ve been paid to endure.

Then there was the book of womanist theology/poetry I edited, in which the author spent the first 100 pages discussing herself and her qualifications for writing the book before getting to the content . . . kind of like I’m doing here. About page xliii of the preface (quoting my brother-from-another-mother Steve, “I crap you negative”), the author thanks a professor “who recognized me as a poet before I named myself Poet.” God save me from such insufferability. Haiku thankfully doesn’t allow much space for that. Nor would this crowd foist it on me.

About the topic. I’m generally sleep deprived. I slept most of the summer when I was fifteen years old, and sometimes I feel like I’ve been paying for it ever since. When Moi gave me an update toward the end of the day on Monday about what was going on in the comments section, I responded:

No sleep for the czar.
National Poetry Day . . .
Winks: Gang aft agley.

Yes, haikusters, yesterday was National Poetry Day, as declared by the United Nations. March 21, every year. And I didn’t even know it until one of my friends who declined to participate pointed it out to me.

And now it’s the middle of the night, or getting there, and still miles to go.

Enough background.

The criteria.

After the syllable count, what did I look for, numbered but in no particular order?

1. Turns of phrase or use of language that made me think, Wow.
2. Stark images of beauty. Or depravity. Or horror. Or glory. Two or more in seventeen syllables garnered extra points.
3. Economy of language. We’re all limited to the syllables. Within that, though, did the piece juggle more than one concept? Did it work on different levels? How much word power went into one intensely honed and crafted little nugget within a nugget?
4. Humor. Always a positive. Barring that, soul-crushing despair works, too. Or hope. But some emotional content.
5. An interesting take.
6. The proper combination of intrigue and comprehensibility. Did the haiku have an element of mystery, but could a reader who didn’t know what the topic was still figure out the topic, or at least come close? If you wrote about sleep or something related to it, but you’re the only one who knew it, that’s a little too much inside baseball. And I’ll admit, I’m kinda literal and frankly not too bright. Metaphor goes right past me. We’ll come out of a play or a movie, and my wife will say, “I thought the play was about such and so,” and I’m like, “Damn, I pretty much thought it was about the plot.” So, subtlety to the point of obscurity doesn’t work well for me.


This section is for you Nate Silver fans. Participants submitted, by my count, 29 haiku on topic. Of those, I had to kick out seven for violations of the only established rule: 5-7-5. There were some nice turns of phrase in those discarded lines, but unfortunately, they couldn’t count toward the contest.

I tried to categorize the topics. Some I counted in more than one category. These are very much subject to interpretation/change.

Dreams, 8
Sleep as metaphor, 5
Sleep, physical aspects of, 4
Sleep, absence of, 4 (very interesting)
Waking, 4
Other, 3
Sleep, as escape, 2
Sleep, spirituality and, 1

The results.

This is the hard part, as there was good in every single entry.

Joe D G, an old pal of mine who’s always had more than a finger in the spiritual realm, started us off on a nice note, grounding us in the eternal verities. The juxtaposition of presuming sleep yet being in a state of thorough awareness is jarring and makes me want to linger on this verse. The pairing of loss and gain also intrigues.

A newer pal of mine, spiritual after another fashion -- and one who straddles the line between friend and family member -- Drew hits me right where I live, as I’ve always viewed sleep as a pleasure of the flesh. And “the second best thing,” I am presuming he means while lying down.

Karen ranked high with her observation. And it’s absolutely true. Hurricanes also hit at night, it seems. I liked the mystery of the 2nd line ending with the number, and the last line devoted entirely to time.

Last week’s winner Foam had the first phrase that really grabbed me: “Forty winks gone sour.” A great lead, pushing me into the rest of the piece. “Contorted yawn” -- aren’t they all? Her first haiku (excuse me for turning editor here) I thought was promising until the last syllable of the second line. We’ve had 11 syllables of noise. The word “noise” there seemed unnecessary. Some type of ‘60s Batman graphic might have been good there: “buzzing whining chainsaw ZAP!” Ooof? Thunk?

Master Troll’s first effort: I must admit that this one failed me. Probably my ample ignorance showing. I don’t know Troll that well, but I know enough to know that he’s trying to achieve something here that’s just out of my grasp . . . like a name I can’t remember or a song I can’t recall. If he lets on what the secret is, I’m sure I’ll think, Of course! But until then . . . He acknowledged he needed to come up with something better. And of course, the master did.

The dead poet salute from Troll was great. I like the “stop” at the end of the first line sans punctuation, so there’s a visual stop but no stop at all. “Frosted” is a great touch. The capitalization of “Promise Keeper” in the first line makes me think of the group by that name, which throws me off a little, because I expect the next two lines to somehow evoke more imagery along that train of thought, but I’m not seeing it.

To me, “Lizard” is the best of Troll’s trilogy. It’s understandable yet mysterious. I’m not sure if this is some waking dream of his own, or maybe Troll fell asleep with the TV on and awoke in the middle of a nature show. Either way, the lines, to me, reflect that odd sense of confusion and certainty that accompanies coming out of a dream. Did that happen? Am I awake? Something is vivid, and five seconds later is gone. We shed memories of our dreams like a lizard sheds its skin. Or like the Onion headline read a few years ago, “Cast-off Paris Hilton Skin Found in Central Park.” Oh, never mind. Nice work, Troll. And nice alliteration with “learn lizards lunch” and “shedding skin sometimes.”

Moi: The first one has me entirely confused, like Troll’s first. I am likely just a simpleton. This seems to be the tale of a longing lover, or not. I’m not sure who is sleeping here, if the narrator is desiring sleep or commanding it. There seems to be a lot of activity going on for something delayed or maybe interrupted. Many mixed signals here. But as always, keep in mind that I am an idiot.

I think the second of the trilogy combines two beautiful thoughts: “Sprung from winter’s cold / cruel womb,” and “newborn shoots bloom a / tribute to the sun.” Great phrasing, great application of the topic. What knocks it down a notch for me is the “a” dangling at the end of line 2. The internal rhyme on the line is nice, though (womb . . . bloom), and I think even transposing the last two words would have worked better, also leaving you with the interesting phrase “a bloom / tribute” and a strong emphasis at the end of every line.

The third haiku, Moi, is one of four in the lot that I ranked with the highest scores across the board. “Psycho sous chef dreams”: “Flash of kitchen knives / sunk deep into fattened flesh.” Are these dreams about a psycho sous chef? Dreams by a psycho sous chef? With just enough of a hint of Jeffrey Dahmer here, I wonder if you’ve been watching far too many cooking shows. I especially like the rhythm of these lines.

I think K9’s 2nd and 3rd lines are outstanding. The phrase “defenseless hemispheres” is perhaps my favorite of the entire contest. Indeed the brain at sleep is defenseless. I’ve always puzzled at people who are afraid to relay their dreams to others. Most of us have no control over what goes on in our dream state. Our hemispheres are indeed defenseless for that time. “Birdsong alarm,” also nice. The first line throws me, though. “A little like death” . . . I think of the French phrase la petit mort (the little death), which is a euphemism for orgasm. But I guess la petit mort leaves us somewhat defenseless as well. K9, while you’re not a winner this week, just for “defenseless hemispheres,” I’ll be happy to send you the phonies or the fraggers book. Both are good. You can email me your address, and I’ll send one along. My email is landondemand@bvunet.net.

Boxer: Dogs do indeed dream; of that I have no doubt. I enjoyed the pun on “rest”: “Spring sun awakens the rest.” And plants and birds certainly rejoice upon awakening as few other beings do, whether by song or by stretching to the sun, or by opening themselves to the warmth and glow. Beauty awakening all around.

Derek is a pal of mine who I knew would step up and deliver. Numbers one and three nailed it. The Scots couple murdering more than sleep -- wonderful. Sheep dreaming of electric shepherds as they run through blades of grass. What does it say that two of the top-ranking haiku deal with sharp instruments? Is it me? Is it you and Moi? I don’t know. Is there some Jungian thing about knives? Derek’s middle haiku was a tame, pleasant interlude.

KafkaFishy brought us the best word: “Insectuous.” Brilliant. We have a lot of literary haiku this week; don’t know if that’s the norm. Fishy’s second, third, and fourth ones are impressionistic, evocative . . . but like Troll’s Z, I feel like they are just out of reach for me. I love the sounds of “rose apple sedation” and “deep clover dreaming,” but the meanings are elusive, or maybe illusive. Again, it’s probably just me. Perhaps they are dream images. I also like the double interpretation of “Gypsy dreams of God.” Is this a Gypsy dream, whatever that might be, or is it a gypsy dreaming? But going back to number one: Metamorphosis! was bunched with a few others right at the top of my rankings.

Karl also got into my head: “I’m up, not at all . . . on autopilot.” Yes indeed. The juxtaposition in the first line is great. “Here I am, but I am not.”

Fleur, another dear old friend, received very late notice and tossed this off in a manner of minutes. And I rank it at the absolute top of the 2nd tier, just out of the running for the top slot. “On the pillow, a shadow / of my face remains.” Although I’m fighting off Shroud of Turin images, I like this very much. She also mentions weep / sleep / pillow. Unfortunately when I wake up with a moist pillow, it’s usually drool, but that’s more than you need to know.

Yes, Kym, I think we all can relate to being so tired that even our dreams bring sleep. Very nice image, kind of uroborotic, if that’s a word. A frustration for me has been dreaming of actually working on the manuscript that I left when I went to bed. I wake up feeling like I’ve been working, yet no more work has been done. Quite frustrating. But dreaming of sleep is almost like the Doublemint commercials. Going back to what Drew said, it’s like a second helping of pleasures of the flesh.

Of the disqualified haiku, I won’t call you out by name, but some phrases certainly got my attention. Wish I could have included them:

* according to the / circadian rhythm / siesta at two [love the thought]
* uncertainty is fading / now I can get some [amazing how removal of stress induces sleep]
* rest awaits in the grave [yes, I’m counting on it, too]
* so begins the flowery revival [beautiful]
* fifty-one and fighting [is that three of us?]

If you’ve made it this far, you deserve a prize.

Well, all of you do. And like just about every other week, the choice is impossible, but it has to be made. As I mentioned, with the help of my son, the haiku were completely anonymous this week. I read and graded and ranked them and did all that, and only afterward did I look at my second sheet to reveal the names and other comments. And frankly, I thought some of the pieces were actually written by other folks. I couldn’t tell who was who.

Four haiku were at the top of my list. Two actually came from one person -- Derek -- which is quite impressive, given the competition. (But if you know Derek, it’s not at all surprising.) Fishy’s insectuous dream horror shared in the three-way tie for second.

But the one that grabbed me, that I laughed out loud upon reading, whose rhythm hit the marks from start to finish, and whose wordplay works on a few different levels:

Flash of kitchen knives
sunk deep into fattened flesh.
Psycho sous chef dreams.

Moi, Stepping-Stones is yours, presuming you were serious. Congratulations. It was a very tough week in which to win.

Thanks to all for allowing me the honor of hosting and judging. I’m going to try to get . . . some . . . sleep.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Haiku Monday (3/21 edition): The Topic Is Sleep

For those of you who've come here for the latest installment in LandonDemand's travails in the publishing world, please excuse -- or revel in -- this temporary interlude.

It's Haiku Monday!

Former participants know the drill, and here it is for the newcomers. Go to the comments section for this post and submit your haiku. This week's topic is sleep. Any take whatsoever on that word is acceptable. The only requirement is that your haiku meet the mandatory 5-7-5 syllable structure. No matter how delightful, if I have to count past that on my fingers on any given line, that's an immediate disqualification.

We editors can be sticklers for style.

Now, those of you who actually know something about what really make up good haiku, have at it, and set an example for the rest of us. I'll try to read up a little on haiku in the meantime and remember what I can from Troll's ongoing teachings, but I can't guarantee that a classically formed and perfect haiku will beat out something that just really grabs my attention.

We editors can be arbitrary.

The competition is intense; there's never a clunker in the bunch. Submit more than one if you're inspired. Deadline is Monday, 3/21/2011, 11:59pm, EDT.

Winner does come away with prizes. Of course, the absolute most coveted prize is the privilege of displaying the Haiku Monday winners' badge, prominently shown in the right-hand column of this blog. (I am an extremely humbled former winner of this honor.) You can display the badge on your own blog or, presumably, your Facebook page, your mailbox, your forehead, or anywhere else you'd like to draw attention to your accomplishment.

The second most coveted prize I am demonstrating here: the option of hosting and judging the following week's contest (not mandatory).

The final prize (not available in all states; supplies are limited) is a gift from the judge or another contributor. This week's gift is a book from the LandonDemand client library. Among the fascinating tomes you could win are

Real Phonies: Cultures of Authenticity in Post-World War II America
Fragging: Why US Soldiers Assaulted Their Officers in Vietnam
Dual Disasters: Humanitarian Aid After the 2004 Tsunami
Stepping-Stones: A Journey Through the Ice Age Caves of the Dordogne
Contentious Liberties: American Abolitionists in Post-Emancipation Jamaica, 1834-1866
Envisioning Nature, Science, and Religion
Einstein, Polanyi and the Laws of Nature
Cowboy Park: Steer-Roping Contests on the Border

In keeping with this week's theme, I can guarantee that many of these books will indeed induce sleep.

I've got many more. Depending on the winner's area of interest, I'll try to unearth something you'd actually want to read or can give to someone as a gift. Trust me, no offense taken. I read every one of the above titles because I was paid to -- although some had the side benefit of being interesting and well-written.

As will your haiku.

Winner announced sometime Tuesday, 3/22/2011. Best of luck. And if you're new to Haiku Monday or this blog, feel free to participate. Everyone is welcome.

So, haiku away. If you're not already there, the topic is sleep.

PS: For an example of a previous contest, please visit http://trollstroll.blogspot.com/2011/02/haiku-monday-water.html

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Fortune Cookies: 0 for 2

"A dark-haired woman will soon be giving you a gift."

"You have a charming way with words and should write a book."

I suspect one's not gonna happen, and there's no way the other's ever gonna happen.

UPDATE: Within a week of receiving these fortune cookies, a dark-haired woman gave me a gift because of my "charming way with words." And that is no joke.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Today's Quote

"One of the symptoms of an approaching nervous breakdown is the belief that one's work is terribly important."

Bertrand Russell