Gradually, Then Suddenly
A couple of weeks ago I was proofreading a newsletter for my co-worker, and it felt strange that Black wasn’t capitalized when talking about people. I didn’t correct it, because it was consistent and I follow Chicago Manual of Style instead of APA for that newsletter, but sure enough a few days later the CMS confirmed my spidey-sense and announced the change in their recommendations. The AP, and therefore the website formerly known as my local paper, too. It was definitely less than a year ago but feels like ancient history that seeing Black capitalized meant I was reading something from the 1970s or a social work article.
”Is it reflex or sickness?”
I can’t remember how I got there—probably from Twitter—but I watched this five-minute video about asemic writing by Ananda Naima González, and gave it a try. Mine came out like this:
Looking back at the translation I wrote shortly afterward, it does reflect my state of mind on the day I wrote it. My favorite line: “is it reflex or sickness?”
If I try it again, I might write right to left, since I don’t usually get to do that and as a lefty it might feel good.
Love from A to Z, by S.K. Ali
Just finished the audiobook of this Muslim YA romance and it was so good! In the middle I was getting big Pride and Prejudice feels—they needed to work through their different outlooks on life, for real, but it was never the annoying “just a big misunderstanding” romance trope.
Then I was heading out for a walk and there was 45 minutes left in the book, and Adam and Zayneb were in love and trusting each other and communicating, and I thought, “Is it going to be 45 minutes of how things worked out happily?” and reader, it pretty much was!
I loved Adam’s family in particular and also now want to visit Doha. Islamophobia is a topic in the book, but not in the characters’ families or between Adam and Zayneb, It’s more about thinking through how to be yourself and not lose joy in your life even though haters are lurking.
There is a meant-to-be, Happily Ever After vibe much like the one in When Dimple Met Rishi, but it didn’t feel limiting to me like some YA romance does when it goes that way. Maybe because they weren’t high school boyfriend/girlfriend.
Anyway, it was a balm and just what I like in an audiobook.
Three More Things Wrap Up a Post
I concluded that the alphabet is laminated and staff mark it up… but for awhile I pictured people shelving until all the letters looked weird and they forgot the alphabet and needed a cheat sheet.
Happy Labor Day! Being a little bit active in the AAUP is one of the few things I’ve done that’s felt usefully political in the Trump years—when elected representatives seem unlikely to keep or change their positions in response to my phone calls, and donations seem like a miniscule drop in the political-money ocean. Last week I sat in as an observer during bargaining; the union believes things go better when as many of the people actually affected as possible are in the room, even silently. (Even reading a book or typing away on a laptop. Donuts were also involved.)
We do interest based bargaining, so for the entire hour I was there, they were at step one of seven, framing the problem to be talked about. It’s easy to see why bargaining starts in the summer even though the contract’s not up til the end of November.
Not all chapters of AAUP are negotiating collective bargaining agreements; I enjoyed this account of guerrilla organizing by adjuncts in my hometown.
Unusual that two pieces in one week would make me think anew about dashes—
em dash compared to a semicolon in this one, as in
I thought hanging out would be great—a chance to finally see the city, just like Aunt Lillian wanted.
I thought hanging out would be great; it would be a chance to finally see the city, just like Aunt Lillian wanted.
And here, an en dash for a relation that isn’t numbers or dates or place names, like author–editor relationship or either–or, and how it differs from a hyphenated adjectival construction:
Amir was an Asian–British scholar and something of a polyglot.
Amir was an Asian-British scholar and something of a polyglot.
In the first example, with an EN DASH, Amir’s Asianness and Britishness have equal weighting. In the second, with the HYPHEN, ‘Asian’ is modifying ‘British’ and carries less weight.
Things to keep an eye out for in the wild, anyway.