Fales Library & its director Marvin Taylor are special

betty ming liu Inspiration, Writing how-to's 11 Comments

For inspiration, I like visiting Marvin Taylor. Without fail,  just hearing about his life gives me new ideas for reinventing myself… Marvin is a self-described “queer” boy from the Quaker midwest. He fled to NYC and found work as a nerd librarian. Today, at age 50, he has a hot job running a very cool, private library that archives the …

How punctuation works

betty ming liu Writing how-to's 27 Comments

A lot of my students are annoyed by punctuation. They think it’s a bother to deal with commas, periods, dashes, hyphens, semi-colons and colons. But then, I take them through two drills. And suddenly, they get it: Punctuation is a fantastic tool for self-expression! It’s the ultimate accessory for the style-savvy writer. My drills come from fabulous moments in “Eats, …

I’m tired of people’s stupid reactions to the Japan earthquake

betty ming liu Inspiration, Writing how-to's 23 Comments

I wish that following news from Japan did NOT involve following American public reaction to the disaster. Of course, the racists are beyond evil; I’ll get to them in a second. But I’m also troubled by the regular folk who are yammering about “taking stock” and “counting their blessings.” Now that they’ve seen the horrific decimation of Japanese lives and …