Friday, May 09, 2008

Table-talk of Parkus Grammaticus for May 9, 2008

I. Saki Knafo, a/k/a the greatest journalist in the world, is still on the paragraph symbol beat. We thought it was just called a pilcrow...until he came across this in a recent New Yorker:

"Alinea" is the word for the backward "P" symbol that proofreaders put at the beginning of a new paragraph.

II. A really smart take on Personal Days is up at Barnes & Noble Review—it's long and thoughtful and basically pull-quote-proof, and I'm doing it an injustice by cutting and pasting, but here's a taste:

In a nameless Manhattan office, a group of be-cubicled peons huddle in fear on the staticky carpeting. They are proofreaders, perhaps, or copywriters, or fact-checkers —at any rate their work (never discussed) is unfascinating and redolent of squandered IQ. Neon-blanched, sharing an intimacy that cannot thrive—that dies immediately, in fact—outside the strange conditions which created it, they have nonetheless made a world: pet names, in-jokes, the minor voodoo of office life....The fragmented narrative and shaggy-dog tangents of Personal Days operate in the service of a seeping, slow-build paranoia, of the sort that has sustained whole seasons of ABC’s Lost.

"The minor voodoo of office life"!

III. Save the date: I'll be giving my first post-publication PD reading on May 21 at McNally-Robinson. Then I'll chew the fat with my editor, Julia Cheiffetz, whose name I am invoking for the first time on The Dizzies!

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