The Noble Pen for May 10, 2012

Next Noble Pen Meeting

May 10th, 2012 7 pm

Scott’s Family Restaurant

1906 Blairs Ferry Rd NE, Cedar Rapids


The collection of previous newsletters is available at

The paperback version of a newish autobiography of Mark Twain has just come out.  It says AUTObiography.  You wouldn’t think he would have anything new to say, being dead for over 100 years now, but apparently he had some material put away that long for posthumous publication.  Garrison Keillor was interested but found much of the book unexciting.

One author takes the approach of building a museum reflecting his novel while he was writing it.   Don’t get any ideas, Shannon.


Nick accomplished a notable amount of progress by finishing two chapters and editing fifteen.

Tyree returned after a nice run of five conventions with good sales.  He submitted two stories and started another story.  The merger of Sam’s Dot with White Cat publications will help distribution and leaves Tyree with the title of Editor-In-Chief.

Ciuin finished her 2nd to last paper of the school term and went home after the meeting to tackle the last one.  She had two pieces accepted for a package of anti-racist material that her organization will send to publishers.


At the May 3rd meeting we discussed building tension.  There was agreement with much of this article, but some dissent also.

The Oxford Comma, the one that precedes the “and” in a list, is favored by many but rejected by others.  Now in Centre County, PA, you’d better not leave them out.  Commas can be expensive sometimes, as shown by this court case and this one.

Some people do not favor commas because their ancestors learned to get along without them after they found commas too difficult to transport over the mountains as they moved west.  They chose an extra barrel of flour over a supply of commas when they packed their wagons.   Even today, the cost of shipping a carton of commas restricts their use.

Some people resort to modifying apostrophes, which seem to be in excess supply these days.  However when lowering the apostrophes it is easy to bend them so that the best you can do is cut them down to salvage periods, which are only worth pennies on the dollar.  Few people use semicolons, so if you have an unneeded one you can cut it in two and have both a period and a comma for little effort. [Commentary condensed from a forum discussion.]

I have spent most of the day putting in a comma and the rest of the day taking it out.— Oscar Wilde

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May 10th


May 17th


May 24th

Open slot

May 31st

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