The go-to grammar-and-style website Grammarist.com interviewed Plotnik in a series featuring several prominent language mavens. A lively site worth visiting on its own.
Grammarist: "What is so interesting about language/grammar to you?"
AP: "The potential for stimulation. Most of us crave this quality in our lives— something to stir the ganglia, strop the wits, prick up the ears, transcend the ordinary, clear the fug, bring us together in the dance of being. And nothing can deliver this gift better than language, its messages framed and facilitated by grammatical conventions. . . . "
Katie Stromme of the marvelous Mud Season Review did this interview in connection with my essay about the many ways a neighborhood changed and changed one's feelings.
KS: "As many of us are, I am drawn to writing that is rooted in place—like “Sap Rising” . . . But your piece is also very involved with time. Because of the many changes . . . was it challenging to try to recapture the mood and vitality of that time period . . . ?"
AP: "One does . . . face the disappearance of original stimuli, like the ancient house next door—trigger for memories of a woman screaming “I want to die!” The house was replaced by an upscale dwelling whose insulated walls and windows stifle any sound. Yet, the ghosts of whatever stirred one’s literary antennae at a certain location have a way of haunting the aura of that place—call it “writer’s reiki,” a force or energy you feel as you pass nearby. . . ."
The Bookbag, a perky book-reviewing and literary site in the UK, had some fun in an interview after the publication of Better Than Great: A Plenitudinous Compendium of Wallopingly Fresh Superlatives.
BB: "If pushed, could you possibly pick a favourite expression from the book?"
AP: "I love mind-marmalizing, with its suggestion of something so extraordinary or unexpected that it pummels the mind into marmalade: Mind-Marmalizing Choice of Plotnik as Nobel Laureate Shocks Literary Community! Forceful, even violent actions to body or mind make for energetic superlatives: kneebucklingly sweet (David Foster Wallace). A wig-
walloping spectacle. Heart-judderingly sad. Armor-piercingly gorgeous. . . . "
Looking for an editor or writing coach? I no longer offer these services myself, but I can recommend a select few masters of such arts:
Christina O'Shaughnessy, who operates out of Geneva, Switzerland, is an experienced, highly skilled, and convenient choice for Europeans needing an assist. An Irish native with 23 years experience as a United Nations editor, she now offers full time editing /proofreading in English (technical and general texts) and workshops in editing/writing for international organizations. Also translates German and Spanish. She can be reached at email@example.com. Website: http://www.worldwidewriting.org/
Eva von Emden, editing out of Vancouver, has a science background and can work/translate in English and Dutch. Her special interests are editing academic and popular science writing and editing fiction, particularly science fiction, with an eye for detail and excellent language skills as well as wide general knowledge and a good sense of logic and common sense. Check out her site at:
or contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Daphne Gray-Grant also operates, wisely, out of beautiful Vancouver, handling work from all parts. She's an established writing/communications coach and consultant with a compelling list of services that you can check out at http://www.publicationcoach.com/
On the air
Katherine Dunn show, Wisconsin Public radio, with Veronica Reukel. A smart interview with call-ins.
Interview on "Writers on Writing," with literary angel Barbara Demarco-Barrett, host, KUCI-FM, on iTunes College Radio; podcasts at writersonwriting.blogspot.com.
Interview with guest host Jessica Page Morrell on "Susan Rich Talks, " on All Women’s Radio, http://w4wn.com.Annemarie Schuetz, co-host.
Irreverent host Scott Cluthe talks with with Plotnik on "Positively Incorrect" radio.
In a ten-minute segment of the NPR affiliate show, "Here and Now," Host Robin Young interviewed Plotnik about superlatives of praise. NPR also rebroadcast the interview as a Valentine's special. The archived tape has passed into the ether, but the notes and comments are here on the show's site.
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SPUNK & BITE: A dozen years and counting
The year 2017 marked the 12th anniversary of SPUNK & BITE, my "Writer's Guide to Bold, Contemporary Style."
Random House published the hardcover in 2005 and the paperback in 2007. About 39,000 sales later it's still chugging along, with enthusiastic reviews and use in many writing programs, including at Harvard University.
Abroad, too, the book is valued for its insights into contemporary writing. The iconoclastic ABC Books of Amsterdam, for example, recommends it to buyers and stocks it regularly.
Perhaps most pleasing, S&B continues to receive thanks from aspiring writers. Recently this tweet appeared from one such author who goes by "Danger Geist": "I used Spunk & Bite to spice up my 2012 war memoir. It turned out better than it should have. I am grateful . . . ."
And I'm grateful—as a writer who has experienced plenty of the trade's downsides—for the sweet longevity of this particular effort. Pictured: The paperback cover, with designer Nora Rosansky's spunky pooch.
News, Interviews, Surprises
TMore under construction: Please return for writing advice and resources, writing in progress, and surprise features. (Old site, www.artplotnik.com, concludes on Oct. 27, 2017.)