Sunday, January 29, 2012

So Give Up Already!

Early in my writing career I became fixated on selling something, anything, to a particular children’s magazine. I’d heard it everywhere that a credit from this venerable publication was tantamount to winning an Oscar and not only would my self esteem skyrocket but my goal and dream of becoming a ‘real’ writer would be validated. So, I wrote and wrote. I did research and interviews and revisions. I subbed my very best stuff to them and I established a pretty good rapport with a senior editor. I did a little hip hops around my desk every time I got a word of encouragement or a ‘we like your work, please try us again’. And I did—for years.

In the meantime, I began to realize sales in other venues. I sold short stories, some greeting card verse, essays, non-fiction pieces, poems, crafts, recipes and plays. I landed several larger, more lucrative assignments. Then one day I got my last rejection from the venerable publication. The editor had loved the story, but was concerned about how her imaginary reader might perceive certain aspects of it and so, regrettably, she couldn’t take the piece. A blinding flash split my vision just then and suddenly I knew—I was never going to submit to this magazine again. It was my last rejection from them because I wasn’t going to send them anything else.     

When You Can’t, Don’t

So how many brick walls have you beaten your head against this month? It can be a real ego (or forehead) bruiser to have repeated rejections from your dream market. You may not mind the bruises if you consider it the challenge of your career to finally break the back of a certain market. Or you may begin to seriously wonder why your sadomasochistic side only appears when that publication is in the mix. So ask yourself the following questions.

o   Do I really like their product?
o   Do I understand the tone of the publication?
o   Is it worth it financially to keep trying?

For me all three answers were no. Deep down I had to admit I really didn’t like the magazine that much.  I thought it was out of touch with modern day kids. I tried very hard to understand the tone, even reading a year of back issues, but I kept missing the mark somehow. I concluded that I just couldn’t write benignly enough for them. And finally, the money wasn’t that good. One article they’d refused from me was subsequently purchased elsewhere at a higher fee. That sale, along with the blinding flash, was more than enough to convince me to give up on a publication that had gradually gone from dream to nightmare. If you can’t answer yes to at least two of the questions—my advice?—don’t continue your pursuit of the market.  

Freedom and the Take Away

If you’ve made a decision to unshackle yourself from an impossible dream and move on to new writing adventures, don’t be surprised if your productivity improves dramatically and delightfully. Freedom is a beautiful thing. It pokes at you and says “grow”. You’ll blossom in areas you didn’t even consider when you had your head in the dream cloud. And that’s when editors will look forward to receiving your work. After all, you’ve had a long session in the school of hard knocks and the payoff is coming. 

The lesson I took away from my Quixote-like quest was this; maybe I can’t write for everybody, but I can write. I’m good enough to have more than just that one editor say “send more”. I have and I will, but not to Them. I’m free.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Why Women Love Doilies

I pulled back the white tissue paper and sighed. Except for the missing netting, the taffeta skirt and doll, everything was intact. As I touched the crocheted stitches images of my maternal grandmother danced around the room. When my sisters and I were little, all younger than ten, my grandmother asked Mom for our favorite colors. I chose turquoise, one sister yellow and the the other red.We eventually pried it from Mom that Grandma was making special Christmas gifts and we almost died of longing to know what she was up to. We didn’t live near Grandma so a few months later she mailed our gifts and oh, the excitement of seeing Mom pull our gifts from the big paper and string tied box! Mom read the to-from tags and let us each feel our brightly wrapped gift, all soft and crinkly, then she whisked them off to her closet until the big day.

Years later as I recall pulling the fashion doll from the wrappings, dressed in a beautiful crocheted turquoise dress, I thought of all the other things Grandma made by hand, doilies chief among them. I have one she made that looks as though purple and yellow pansies are dancing around its edge. Gradually I began to wonder if other women I knew might also love doilies. So I emailed several of them and boy – did I get a response! Here’s what they said.


Why do I love doilies? Let me count the ways! First off, 90% of mine were crocheted by my sister so that’s one big reason. She has many intricate patterns and they are beautiful. Most of mine are ecru made with cotton thread but I also have one with several different colors in a thicker cotton. Secondly, they give a warm background to whatever is setting on them, whether an old clock, vase, picture, jelly jars with toppers, etc. You don’t notice dust so much if you have one! Antique furniture screams for one as much as a hardwood floor screams for a braided rug.


I love them. I make them. I use them. But the question, why? Not sure except that my mother used doilies all my life so guess it's just natural that I would too. I remember when doilies were pinned to the chair, probably to protect it from the oil in our hair. Matching ones were thrown over the arms of the chair. I think that practice went out ages ago. I decorate my rooms seasonal, so change my doilies accordingly.


Doilies! Wow a flash from the past. Instantly I think of Mom. She
crocheted doilies all the time. We had them all over the house. Every
table had one. I can remember her washing and starching them. I have a
huge container of doilies in the closet. I have some on my tables now.
I guess it does prove the apple doesn't fall far from the tree.


I LOVE doilies! I have at least one in every room. They remind me of days gone by when my grandmothers kept house. They add a lovely finishing touch on furniture and give a room a "homey" appeal.


A mere glance at a doily brings sweet treats and celebration to my mind. Doilies are heart and home wrapped up in a circle of paper lace.


I love doilies because they add an old fashioned feminine touch to a room. My favorites are the more delicate types.
To their enthusiasm I add my own. One thing I always loved was watching the motion of caring hands as hook and thread were plied to create a small masterpiece. The thread wrapped fingers and quick flick of the shiny hook twisting and turning seemed to be responding to some invisible rhythm of the heart. The ball of crochet thread sitting in an apron covered lap, growing smaller and smaller as the hours wore on created the perfect atmosphere for quiet contemplation or cheerful camaraderie with other women. My father-in-law’s second wife almost always had a doily in the making. Years ago I asked her to make me a very long one in ecru colored thread to use as a pillow topper for my bed. I loved it. I still have it and think of her every time I use it. Marie’s favorite stitch was the pineapple stitch, just like my grandmother’s.

And I guess that’s the charm of doilies. They are tied in our hearts and minds to women that we have loved, furniture and knick knacks they have enhanced, remembered quiet talks while fingers danced and oh, so many things. Often, for younger women, a doily is made of paper and wraps a sweet treat or sits on a cookie plate for a touch of elegance. You can find them in grocery stores and dollar stores. I love that too, but hope a generation hasn’t abandoned the idea of doilies and the sentimental meaning they have for so many. To that end I did some online research and would you believe you can now learn to crochet doilies on You Tube? Of course you would. Enterprising people will aways find ways to keep a beautiful idea alive. Why, I even suspect the world wide web was inspired by something the mother of the web originator once made in the shape of a vast ecru doily, probably in the pineapple stitch. Now wouldn’t that be something!

Note: The photo is of my granddaughter's Barbie doll wearing the dress Grandma Blaine made so long ago.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

For Writers of Poetry

In the last five years or so I’ve received several contracts for poems, most recently to Ideals, a Guideposts publication, for their 2012 Easter issue. I’m only a part time poet. Whoever is contending for the next Poet Laureate of our country has absolutely nothing to fear from me. But I put the occasional rhyme or poem together and have sold quite a few. Maybe you’d like to move some of your own poetry into the marketplace and wonder what my magic formula is. Um – well – there isn’t one but I can tell you what flavors of poems I’ve sold with a tip or two that might help you.

Kids Poems

These are the most fun to do and each one that I’ve sold is a rhyming poem. They’ve all been short and have a specific focus, like this one for a rainy day sold to Wall Words.

Here in my room
With friends I play
The best way to spend
A rainy day


Holidays lend themselves so perfectly to poetry. A recent sale to Standard Publishing for the Fourth of July begins like this:

High waves the flag
Over people and nation
A red, white and blue
Grand celebration

I go on to mention liberty, God, rockets – you know – the whole shebang. It’s another rhymer but it’s intended for use in a church program setting and for my editor, it worked.


I was positively stunned when my complimentary copy of New Love Stories arrived and I realized my poem was the only one in the magazine. I simply highlighted a situation dozens of women have been in – waiting in a restaurant for a date to show up – and gave it about twelve lines. This poem was easy to write when I focused on the annoyance of waiting countered by the delightful melting of the heart when the dinner date finally shows up. The editor snapped it up and subsequently took one more. Unfortunately the magazine has since folded.


My poem for Good Old Days magazine focuses on a summer picnic. I was born in upstate Minnesota, the land of 10,000 lakes. I have many idealized notions about summer; toasting marshmallows over a lakeside campfire, water lapping on the sand, and the looming specter of autumn at the end of August. I incorporated all of these into a poem titled, The Last Picnic of Summer, and sold it.


From my own personal experience selling poetry I offer this.

  1. Study your target publication and strive to set a mood and tone that will appeal to the demographic peculiar to that publication. Don’t send a saucy limerick to Highlights for Children for instance. Trust me - they won't take it.
  2. Ask someone to listen to your poem as you read it. You may be surprised and pleased at the response you get. If you’ve touched that person, you’ll touch others.
  3. Write your poems when the moment strikes. Beautiful sunset? Romantic boat ride? Wild and crazy puppy? Let the visions created by these scenarios come out in verse. Get the lines that come to you down as quickly as possible. I've even dashed straight out of the shower, draped of course, to pound out a phrase or two knowing I'd lose them if I didn't. What is it about the shower anyway?
Just go ahead and have fun with your words, or lean against the rainy window pane feeling the angst of some long ago trauma, or let your wrath at the injustices of the world bleed onto the paper. You get the picture. But whatever you do to add to the poetic tomes of the world do it with all your heart and it will show in your end product.

Image: Pixomar               

Monday, January 23, 2012


“Thank you for sending a package to Jim and Glenda,” Mom said. “You know,” she hesitated, “nobody loves the homeless.”

I’ll never forget her words. It was kind of a happy sad moment. Mom was relating the joy and excitement she’d witnessed when my brother Jim and his girlfriend, Glenda, opened the Christmas package I’d sent to her apartment in California from my home in New York. I don’t even remember now what was in it but enjoyed hearing how it had been received.

I was not alone in doing for Jim – far from it. Mom and Dad had nine children and all of my sisters and our brother, Tim, worked and prayed and gave aid to our heroin addicted brother with love and devotion over the course of his life. At the time I sent the package Jim was already in his late forties and had been a street person for many years.

I’m giving this lead in to the following story because Jim and I were writing buds. It was about all I could do living so far away. We exchanged many letters over a good span of years. I always put a piece of gum in the envelope and he usually sent one back, sometimes the same piece! It was kind of a running joke between us. In his letters the hard kernel of who he really was came out. He used his God-given wit and a wry sense of humor that enabled him to observe and write about his own life in a way that surprised us all. Here is a letter he sent to me a few years ago. It was neatly penned while he sat on a motel room bed shortly after he and Glenda married. I have edited it lightly for clarity.

Walking from somewhere, upon our travels, Glenda and I decide to stop and take a break. Chancing at a market, we decide to refresh ourselves, tea for Glenda and a beer for me. Glenda asks if she can buy a scratcher ticket. Seeing the smile on her face, I nod my head. We step outside and commence behind the store. She scratches and in disbelief we win $10. After we enjoy our refreshments, we proceed back to the market. We exchange the ticket for the $10. With a smile I say to the cashier, "Looks like a free lunch to me." He looks back and says, "It sure does."

In the same mini mall there is a Juan Pollo. We step inside, Glenda orders 3 $5.49 lunches. I ask her, "Why are you ordering 3? We only won $10."

She replies back to me, "Well it's for free."

I say to her, "No, it's not. The free lunch came from the ten dollars we won."

"But you and the clerk said we get a free lunch."

"No, no, no," I say to Glenda. "We still have to give them the money we won from the scratcher ticket."

Glenda looks at me and says, "No, you're just stupid, Jim."

By this time the cook / cashier approaches the counter, looks at me and says, "Are you talking to me?"

Politely I say, "No, I am talking to my wife." (I feel like I'm in a Robert De Niro flick now). I reply to the middle aged Hispanic woman, "When I look at you then I'm talking to you. When I look at my wife then I’m talking to her!" Now my head is going from one woman to the other. Both of them yapping at me. Glenda marches out the front door, again calling me stupid.

I look back at the cashier and apologize, saying, "I'm sorry, my wife is a litt bit crazy, uh, you know loco," as I index finger circles my ear. She replys back to me with her hands on her hips, "Dis is not Pollo Loco, dis is Juan Polo."

I smile and say, "Yeah, I read the sign out front. They're all chicken houses to me."

She replies, "Are you calling me a chicken?"

"No," I say. "I call KFC the same thing, chicken houses. This is the dialect I use." By now all heads in the restaraunt are turned towards me. Glenda re-enters the fast food place. I convince her that we can only get 1 each as that will only leave three dollars. She understands now and we sit and enjoy our meal.

Had I been smarter, I would have said, "Let's go get lunch dear," instead of saying "we get a free lunch," had I realized the avalanch that would follow my slang term.
Funny how a few simple words can mess up your whole lunch.

Love Jim

Note: Mom and Jim both died last year within a few months of each other. Jim was 55 years old. Towards the end of his life we signed our letters G.I.G.A.T.T. God is good all the time.
Glenda, a severe epileptic, is in a home.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Medicine Mom

This happened quite a few years ago, but remains relevant as most mothers will attest!
When our oldest son came down with his first caught- at- school head cold, I was unprepared. So I left him with his Dad and ran to the grocery store to pick up some cold medicine. When I got home I wrapped my sick child in a blanket and set him in a chair. I told him I had something that would help his coughing and sniffling. He looked at me with watery eyes and smiled.

I opened the box and took out the bottle. I snipped away the clear plastic seal around the cap. My son sighed. I opened the child protective cap by pushing down and twisting then I got a small knife from the kitchen drawer to remove the thin plastic seal over the bottle opening. When at last I got to the wad of cotton inside the bottle I looked at my son. Poor little guy was miserable, but he had enough wits about him to give me a lopsided grin and quip, “Boy, Mom, by the time you get that open, I’ll be all better!” 

Image:  Stuart Miles

Thursday, January 19, 2012


Today is National Popcorn Day so be sure to check out my bodacious caramel corn recipe in Susan's Extras.

Americans love popcorn. We consume roughly 16 billion quarts a year, it's low calorie, and you can use it as a decorative item in so many ways. Popcorn and cranberry garlands come to mind.

We eat most of that 16 billion quarts in the fall, believe it or not. And what do snowflakes and mushrooms have in common with popcorn? Those are the two basic shapes that popcorn looks like when popped. Movie theater corn is of the snowflake variety because the kernels pop bigger and mushroom is used in candy confections because it holds up better when doused with syrups, glazes and other add ons.

Oh, and that "hull-less" popcorn you hear about? No such critter. All popcorn needs its hull or it wouldn't pop. Some has been engineered so the hull shatters when popped. It looks hull-less but that won't fool you, will it?

I hope you try my recipe. It's a great favorite of my family, friends and our lucky backyard crows who get the leftovers, however little there is of it.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Good Writers Read

I’ve read every book my friend Christine has written. I’ve bought them for friends and for my grandchildren as gifts. I buy her self-published books because this woman has an incredible depth of imagination, and because she often signs them for me. Another, more selfish reason, is that it helps the industry. Now, you may think I’m a little full of myself for thinking my pebble sized purchases are helping the Goliath publishing complex, but let me ask you this; do you buy books? How about your reading friends? If you have ten friends, family members or co-workers who each buy 20 books a year that’s 200 books. If each of those has ten friends and you multiply that out – well – you get the picture. But even if you don’t buy all the books you read, you are still helping.

The Library

Yup, I get many of my books from the library. I can’t afford to buy as many hard covers as I’d like, but I am totally addicted to reading. Most writers are. But don’t think that because you’re reading a lot of books from the library that you’re not helping writers. On the contrary, according to the ALA, (American Library Association), in 2009 publishers sold over 1.3 billion dollars worth of books to public, school, college & university, and special libraries. These books are acquired through your library’s collection development department and welcomes input from their users. Go ahead and make regular inquiries about books your library will be purchasing, putting in requests for your own choices. When the librarian reads her book reviews chances are she’ll look for the book you requested. The larger the library the more copies of single titles purchased. And – bonus— when your own book is published that librarian will remember you and let you do a book signing or help spread the word on your behalf.


I do this, too. My friends and I have a loosely formed book sharing group. One is able to regularly buy new hard covers (we love her), one has access to the high school library, and two of us regularly visit a very well stocked used book store. How does this help writers? Name recognition. Word of mouth is a powerful thing. So often a friend will give me a book by an author I’ve never read and if I like what I read, that author goes on the list and into my book purchasing budget.

What List?

Well, the list of new books I want to buy, of course. Nothing will stop me when I’ve made up my mind to buy a new book. I read reviews in my Sunday paper, confer with friends, and visit Amazon to read the reviews of strangers. And when the budget allows, I buy the book (to enjoy and then pass around). It’s essential for the people who love books to buy them. We, the readers, will keep we, the writers, in business. And never think we’re not important players in that arena.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

The Path Through the Music

There’s a reason why we call it mood music. Our lives are filled with moods and there’s a kind and quality of music that suits each of them. That’s why music accompanies every scene in a modern movie and why, when the music changes, we know how to feel.

Think about it for a moment. When you watch old black and white motion pictures, often the scenes will not have music, and it comes at us out of a warped time machine. One that fails to realize how life is enhanced by the addition of music. Fortunately that’s not the case anymore. If you listen to music on your iPod while be-bopping down the street it’s exactly like being in your own movie, isn’t it?  I contend that the path that leads directly to God is lined on both sides with music; powerful, gentle, exciting and beautiful. Sometimes even judgmental (talk about mood).

Music is the sixth sense. I can open my mouth and with only one nano second of thought bring forth something quite unlike my other senses. I know the mechanics of it – air passing over vocal cords, vibrations – all that. But it’s what I have in my head that’s informing those vibrations. I have to think that composers of old like Handel and Bach as well as more recent geniuses like Rutter and Sleeth, have been tapped from on high to bring a touch of Heaven to earth. What was given to them is on a far greater scale than what this humble singer produces, but isn’t it wonderful that music is the universal language that falls like righteous rain on all of us?

These are some of the pieces that line my path.

Hallelujah Chorus – Handel
Joy in the Morning – Sleeth
St. John’s Passion – Bach
What Sweeter Music – Rutter

When another sort of mood is on me I like this:

Oh Mary Don’t You Weep – Bruce Springsteen's version – what a firebrand! Please go find it on You Tube.

Or when the tender little ones come to mind this:

Consider the Lillies of the Field – Mormon Tabernacle Choir version – third verse, you’ll weep.

What lines your path?

Image: Danilo Rizzuti

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The Weasel and Me

A few years back my husband received an Amazon gift card as a reward for doing  a business survey. Big hearted guy that he is, he handed it to me and said, “Get what you want.” I was delighted and thought of many uses for it, but  finally chose the National Audubon Society Field Guide to Mammals. We live in a rural area with critters constantly wandering through our property, and now I would have a guide to help me identify some of them.
One afternoon in the late winter I’d gathered a bunch of garbage to put outside. I opened the back door, hands full, and froze. Was that a nose sticking out from the woodpile? About ten feet away where we kept wood stacked for our wood burning furnace there was indeed a nose sticking out. At first I thought it was a squirrel, but the nose, then the body, then the long tail appeared and were all white. Except for the tip of the critter's tail which was black. I held my breath, not wanting to release the moment, but of course the little guy scooted out and dashed away in a blink. I dumped my trash and ran for my guide. I learned that I’d just seen a long-tailed weasel in his winter coat. How cool was that?
I wish there had been someone home besides me and the dog. Or that I’d had a camera in my hand. I’ve looked for weasels ever since, but haven’t seen another. It is, however, one of my favorite critter tales and I’ll probably blather on about it for years to come! And I highly recommend field guides now, too.

Image  Dan

Sunday, January 8, 2012

For Writers

This is an excerpt from one of my published articles.

Killer First Lines

Consider this; there’s not a single person on this planet who cares whether or not you ever write another word.

I’ll bet you pulled away from the screen and instantly formulated an answer back didn’t you? That’s because my first line is loaded, and it gets your attention by touching a nerve. First lines can do that. A well-written first line is like the front door on an intriguing old house. It invites us to pass through to the unique experience that’s on the other side.  So what goes into the creation of killer first lines? There is no magic wand to produce them but here are some basic things to consider.

Dynamic versus static – The root word for dynamic and dynamite are the same; dynamis, meaning power or strength. It pertains to energy or power in motion and is in direct opposition to static, which means to stand or rest. A dynamic first line will set the tone for your entire piece. It doesn’t always have to be an explosive line, but it should arrest your readers’ attention and entice them to read on.

Mood setting – Like that looming front door, the first line brings your reader through a portal into the world you’ve created for them. That line greets them with a smile, a leer, a shout or perhaps an awful truth. It allows you to shut the door behind them and hand over the gift of escape.

The power of recall – Readers love a memorable first line. Like a perfect song lyric, it enables instant transport to some other place and time where borders are fuzzily defined and possibilities are endless.

Killer Instinct

You have to write a good story. You must have a passion for your tale that will enable you to pen a killer first line. There’s some nugget buried in your words that could be pulled to the beginning of the story and become your dynamic threshold. What is it? Take two of the stories you’re working on now and examine the first lines. Would a single word from your main character’s mouth make a difference? Would a question? Grab four or five of the many books sitting on that shelf behind you and analyze the first lines. Compare them to yours. Then go in for the kill.
There’s not a single person on the planet that cares whether or not you ever write another word. That is, of course, unless you’ve got a killer first line and the story to go with it. So go out and prove me wrong.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Recipe Day!

Be sure to check out Susan's Extras for my Romaine Apple Salad. This one is a winner.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Children's Books I Love

  1. The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame – Oh, how I’d love to go and live in the Wildwood with Rat, Mole, Badger and Toad. The lovely English countryside and the antics of these loveable characters call to me always.

  1. The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkein – What a sturdy fellow is Bilbo Baggins. I'd love to visit the Shire and have some tea and seed cake with him.

  1. The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkein – Where Good is the superior force.

  1. Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White – Let’s hear it for all runts of the litter.

  1. Rascal by Sterling North – For anyone who ever loved an animal.

  1. Bandit Moon by Sid Fleishman – What a fun, fun book!

  1. Brambly Hedge by Jill Barklem – I hate the mice in my kitchen, but love the ones in this delightful book series. Her illustrations are utterly charming.

  1. Junie B. Jones by Barbara Park – Tell it like it is kid.

  1. 7 Sister Mysteries by Ellen Miles – I only have five sisters but we had adventures like these!

  1. Chicka, Chicka, Boom Boom by Bill Martin, Jr. – There’s enough room at the top of my coconut tree for this little gem.
 Image:  Ponsuwan

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

When Angels Speak

Last week I had the delightful duty of watching two of my granddaughters for a couple of hours. The older one is six and the younger three. Nick Jr. happened to be on with an episode of Franklin where the theme was getting lost. I looked at the oldest granddaughter, busy doing cartwheels,  and began telling the story of how I got lost once when I was about her age.

It was the first day of school after we had moved and Mom walked me to school in the morning. She had two younger children to tend and she thought I could make my own way home for lunch. We lived in a very small town so there was no reason for her to think otherwise. She gave precise intructions as we walked telling me to turn right when I got to the corner and walk straight down the street to our apartment above the gas station. I felt all grown up and was sure I could do it. When lunchtime came I got to the corner, became confused and turned the wrong way - left.  I soon noticed that nothing looked like it had that morning and as I went up the incline panic slowly set in. I began crying and calling for my mother and soon became terrified thinking surely I was lost for good.

As I poured out my story tellling the girls how scared I’d been the three year old walked over quietly and looked up at me with soulful blue eyes. “I will be with you,” she said. I looked at her and smiled. Then she patted my shoulder and hugged my arm. “Don’t be scared, Grandma. I will be with you.” 

If anyone  thinks God doesn’t speak through children . . . I feel very sorry for them.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Little Language Lesson

There’s not a writer out there who doesn’t have a problem with the various ways language is abused. So I’m going to share, from time to time, some of the things that irk me. It shows my crabby side, but that’s part of the real me, too. So here goes.

Unique – means stands alone. If something is unique there’s nothing else like it. Therefore the word needs no qualifiers. To say, “The Statue of Liberty is very unique,” is so, so wrong. Please don’t use words like quite, very, so, or extremely with the word unique. Or at least don’t do it in my presence. I will call you on it.

I vs. Me – In eighth grade our English teacher, Miss McFarland, drilled into our heads a way to understand when to use I and when to use Me in a sentence. I will share her wisdom with you. This sentence is correct. “Will you give Tom and me a ride to the concert?” It’s correct because if you take out Tom and the sentence still makes sense. “Will you give me a ride to the concert?” You would never say, “Will you give I a ride to the concert?” When in doubt take it out. Pretty simple, huh?

Could and Couldn’t – Most people know the difference between should and shouldn’t and would and wouldn’t. But they get all confused with could and couldn’t most specifically when they want to be snarky by saying, “I could care less.” It’s such a common expression that I’ve almost stopped grinding my teeth when I hear it. The thing they really want to say is, “I couldn’t care less.” If you couldn’t care less the situation has reached the lowest point of your disdain. If you could care less, it means you still care to some degree. Think about what you really want to say.

Rant over.

But I’ll be back