A Productive Day

Goodness, this was a productive day. I:
  • bought my airline ticket for the Missouri Writers Guild conference in Kansas City at the end of April
  • discussed the conference with the lovely Christine Taylor-Butler and worked out what I'll be talking about when
  • went over the mechanicals for a spring 2007 picture book
  • finalized the flap copy for the same book
  • reran the financial and production figures on a foreign book we're hoping to acquire
  • read 150 pages of a manuscript in the office (a miracle!)
  • sent e-mail responses to a bunch of foreign publishers regarding some books we'd been considering
  • finished my annual pre-Bologna Children's Book Fair report to Arthur about all the foreign books we've seen since the previous year's Bologna
  • completed and filed both my state and federal taxes, courtesy of TaxSlayer.com. (I am not ashamed to admit I chose this company because it had the word "Slayer" in its name. If it's good enough for Buffy, it's good enough for me.)
  • worked on the revisions to my Asilomar plot talk, in hopes of having it up on the website before I go to my next SCBWI conference at the end of the month
  • drafted the informational postcard for the New York Carleton Club community-service project at the end of April (we'll be participating in Hands On New York Day on the 22nd if you'd like to join us)
  • And now, wrote a blog post celebrating all this good and virtuous work.
Incidentally, while I was reviewing the picture-book mechs, I spent three minutes struggling with one copyediting query: Was the phrase more effective as "half a world away" (as the copyeditor suggested) or "half the world away" (as the manuscript said)? Half "a" world is less definite, more poetic, implying multiple worlds and endless possibilities, while half "the" world is earthbound, mundane, with only one world, whose circumference you know. . . . The author lives in Australia, so she wasn't available for immediate consultation, and the mechs needed to go back to the designer by the end of the day, so I had to make a decision.

In the end I left it "half the world," because the phrase is spoken by the main character's father, and he's meant to be pragmatic and unimaginative. But it was very much an Oscar-Wilde-comma moment: "I was working on the proof of one of my poems all the morning and took out a comma. In the afternoon I put it back again."