Grace's Mosaic Moments

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Debunking "Male" Quotes

To add a bit of color to today's blog, find the ET in this photo. (His name is Harry)
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All information below (except for one Grace Note) is excerpted from "Anonymous was a Woman" by Fred R. Shapiro, Yale Alumni Magazine, Jan/Feb 2011.

 "I would venture to guess that Anon, who wrote so many poems without signing them, was often a woman."
—Virginia Woolf, A Room of One's Own.

Grace note:  Mr. Shapiro agrees with Ms Woolf and without delving too deeply into the obvious male dominance behind the misattributions he found, simply offers them as evidence of the world women have lived in for so long - and which, though improved, still rears its ugly head.

"He who has achieved success who has lived well, laughed often, and loved much; who has enjoyed the trust of pure women, the respect of intelligent men, and the love of little children; who has filled his niche and accomplished his task; who has left the world better than he found it, whether by an improved poppy, a perfect poem, or a rescued soul; who has never lacked appreciation of earth's beauty or failed to express it; who has always looked for the best in others and given them the best he had; whose life was an inspiration; whose memory is a benediction."

Oft attributed to Ralph Waldo Emerson or Robert Louis Stevenson, the above was written by Bessie A. Stanley of Lincoln, Kansas, in 1905. She earned $250 as the first-prize winner in a contest sponsored by the magazine Modern Women.


"I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it."

Usually attributed to Voltaire. The real author: Evelyn Beatrice Hall (1868-1919), the English author of The Friends of Voltaire (published 1906).
"Iron Curtain"

Used by Winston Churchill in 1946 to describe the divide between the USSR & the West, it was coined by Ethel Snowden (1881-1951), an English suffragette, in her 1920 book Through Bolshevik Russia. "We were behind the 'iron curtain' at last!"


"The only difference between the rich and other people is that the rich have more money."

Ernest Hemingway attributes this quote to Scott Fitzgerald , but it actually comes from a remark made to Hemingway by Mary Colum (1884-1957) at a lunch in 1936.

"Now I know why nobody ever comes here; it's too crowded."

Often attributed to Yogi Berra, the quote comes from a Montana newspaper in 1941, which attributes it to a "flutterbrained cutie named Suzanne Ridgeway."


"We will overcome."

This anthem of the Civil Rights movement, long associated with Pete Seeger, was first used in 1946 in a strike against the American Tobacco Company, where Lucille Simmons created and sang it on the picket line. Seeger's only change, years later, was altering "will" to "shall."

"Just say the lines and don't trip over the furniture."

Usually attributed to Noel Coward in his play, Nude with Violin (1956-58). But it is listed in a "Best Quote" book as originating with actress Lynn Fontanne (1887-1983) in 1954, when she said: "We move about the stage without bumping into the furniture or each other."

"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us."

Frequently attributed to Nelson Mandela, these words first appear in the book A Return to Love (1992) by Marianne Williamson (1952-).

"Does it really matter what these affectionate people do—so long as they don't
do it in the streets and frighten the horses!"

Oft attributed to King Edward VII or an 18th c. general, the words are most likely by the actress Beatrice Stella Tanner Campbell (1865-1940), allegedly her response when told about an actor being enamored of a young leading man.


"If you make it here, you make it everywhere." (later incorporated into "New York, New York") & "That does not compute."

 Julie Newmar, 1959 & Julie Newmar, 1964

"No time like the present."

 English novelist & playwright, Mary de la Rivière Manley (1663-1724)

"No man is a hero to his valet."

Anne-Marie Bigo de Corneul (1614-1694), hostess of a Parisian salon and much-cited wit

"Twinkle, twinkle, little star . . ." 

From Rhymes for the Nursery by Ann Taylor (1782-1866) & Jane Taylor (1783-1824)

"Mary had a little lamb . . ." 

Sarah Josepha Hale (1788-1879), one of the first major U.S. female writers

"Laugh and the world laughs with you;
Weep, and you weep alone."

The American, Alla Wheeler Wilcox (1850-1919), in her 1883 poem, "Solitude."

"E.T. phone home." 

Written by screenwriter Melisssa Mathieson (b. 1950) for the film, E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial.
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Special Note: I have just updated my Best Foot Forward brochure ( (editing & copy editing services). If anyone would like a copy, click here

Thanks for stopping by.


Also updated this week, my website: Blair Bancroft

Sunday, August 18, 2013


We enjoyed Cape Cod so much in 2012, all eight of us went back again this year. 

The big moment - crossing the Cape Cod canal via bridge built in 1933

My son David mounting a kite while the rest of the family takes it easy

The tide goes out nearly a mile at Skaket Beach - this taken from only part-way out
"The Look" - one of the less blissful moments at our Father's Day dinner
After 5 or 6 tries - Hailey still has that lingering "look"

Susie's smartphone literally hit the pavement in Boston, and we didn't get a replacement until just before Father's Day dinner in Hyannis. The following morning I got my camera back and set out to record the Cape I recalled from all my many visits in the past - and living in Wellfleet when I was four.

Orleans Town Cove

Wild rose at the edge of Orleans Town Cove

Rock Harbor, Orleans

Nauset Light - a functioning lighthouse in Eastham

Roses were coming into bloom all over the Cape

A small portion of the decor in the restaurant beloved by Orleans locals

On the way to the dock, Provincetown

Shop Therapy, Provincetown

Flowers everywhere in Provincetown
Continuing a 3-generation family tradition (now illegal)

When we lived in Wellfleet many years ago, my father would stand on the "backshore" (Atlantic), point straight out, and say: "There's nothing but ocean between here and Spain." 

Lieutenant's Island is separated from the mainland by a salt marsh at least as long as a football field. Until fairly recently there was a wonderful old rickety bridge that spanned the entire marsh. I tried it once, a heart-stopping experience. But when we went back this year, the old bridge had clearly bit the dust, to be replaced by nothing more than the sturdy structure seen above, which crosses the marsh's main tidal channel. If you take a good look at the road, you will see that it shows signs of being covered by water at each high tide - we see not only puddles but a beat-up road that looks as if it floods twice a day! Clearly, residents of the island had to give up convenience in order to build a replacement bridge they could afford.

Uncle Tim's Bridge, Wellfleet - right out of my childhood (for walkers only)

Fiddler crabs in salt marsh near Uncle Tim's Bridge
Typical Cape Cod fence in June

On the night before we left the Cape, David & Becka got engaged

And a fond farewell to one of my most favorite places on earth.
Hope we make it back next year.

Thanks for stopping by.


Sunday, August 11, 2013

EDITING - Treacherous Words

In recent years some words have become so abused, their misuse threatens a change in the rules of grammar. Sorry, but I'm a strong advocate of keeping the beauty of the English language as it is. Yes, accept new words as they join the mainstream but don't forget the tried and true. I mean, would you really like to hear Tevye belting out: "If I was a rich man . . ."

The list of oft misused and confusing words goes on and on. I'm going to list a few of them below. Hopefully, writers will find the list helpful.

Most abused:  

1.  who & that. This one has gone totally out of control, sending me into clenched teeth mode in book after book. Or cringing while listening to the nightly news. (No, not all news anchors mess up, thank goodness.) It's really so incredibly simple -

Who is for people. That is for animals and places.

The girl who ran the marathon . . .  The man who was skinny dipping . . .

The dog that ate the cat . . .   She sat on a bench that was broken. 

Do you really want to be dehumanized into a "that"? Or do you and your characters want to be a hearty "who"? (As in Dr. Seuss's beloved Horton Hears a Who

2.  who & whom - in this case "who" is threatening to push "whom" out of general use. No matter how improper, the vernacular "Who're you talking to?" is replacing the classically correct "To whom are you speaking?" Nonetheless, unless you're writing dialogue for someone who would not speak grammatically - use who when it's the subject of the clause, whom when it's the object of a preposition. (to whom, by whom, for whom, from whom, etc.)

But—sigh—if you don't want your characters to sound like grammar nerds, you may have to waffle a bit between the "correct" and what people actually say.

3.  it's & its -  The difference is obvious, but for some reason many people just don't stop to think. Or they have some vague notion that putting in an apostrophe makes them sound more erudite.

"It's" is a contraction. Use it only when you mean, "It is."

It's a beautiful day today.

"Its" is a possessive.   

Referring to a book:  its contents

Referring to a salmon swimming upstream: In its long journey to return to its spawning grounds . . .

4.  imminent & eminent I heard a newscaster mangle this one only a month or so ago.

Imminent - something that is about to happen.

The bomb explosion is imminent.

Eminent - distinguished

As Professor Emeritus, he is the most eminent member of the Architecture Department.

5.  I can't hardly wait should be I can hardly wait.

6.  He/she could care less should be He/she couldn't care less

7.  alright & all right - Like "irregardless" alright does not exist except in error. Admittedly, it has existed in error so many times it's doing its best to push the correct version right off the page.  But, really, folks, the correct version is all right. Never, ever alright. [Please note correct use of it's & its.]
8.  Pronoun Mash-up - Subjects & Objects.

Jimmy and me went to the movies. You and Jimmy are going to the movies. Both of you are the subjects of the sentence. Therefore it should be: Jimmy and I went to the movies.

John bought tickets for him and I. Him and I are objects of the prepostion "for." (They are both passive - they didn't do anything). Therefore it should be: John bought tickets for him and me.  

Bob is older than me. The implication is: Bob is older than I am. Therefore, the correct phrase is:  Bob is older than I

Here's the one children love to use at the beginning of sentences, because they are the center of their world and must come first:  Me and Mary or Me and George. The correct, and less egotistical, version is:  Mary and I, George and I. Unless, of course, they are the Objects of the sentence (the ones the action was done to).  Veronica beat George and me at tennis.  (Note: well-mannered people put themselves last.)

9.  lay & lie - a lot of people are challenged by these two, primarily in their use as verbs not nouns.

lay & lie as verbs:
I lay the book on the table (present tense - I'm doing it right now.)
I laid the book on the table (past tense - I did it yesterday.)

But if a person is doing it to his/herself . . .

I lie down on the bed (present tense - I'm doing it now.)
Betty lay down on the bed (past tense - she did it last night.)

lay & lie as nouns:
The scout was sent out to get the lay of the land.
That man could really tell some tall lies.

10. may & might - Most books are written in past tense. While editing for Best Foot Forward, I've recently found authors dropping into the present tense when using "may." 

Wrong:  If the men saw her, they may think . . .

Right:    If the men saw her, they might think  . . .

11.  their, there & they're - these three trip us up all the time, but usually just because we aren't thinking.

their - possessive (like its): their books, their computer, their house

there - refers to a location. There they are! Down by the river. 
                                                          There were twenty people in the room.

they're - a contraction of they are & absolutely, positively not to substituted for either one of the above. Nor vice versa.

A toughie:

I would never have thought to list the two words below until they were the subject of a recent rather tart discussion on RWA's BeauMonde loop. (I suspect those shocked by people ignorant of the difference between these two words may have been Brits or nurses, where these words are evidently featured in the curriculum. Frankly, I don't recall ever having anyone point out this difference in my New England high school English classes or in my Ivy League college. So it's time we all learned . . .

Prone - lying down, face down

Supine - lying down, face up

Other troublesome words:

Note:  There are a surprising number of sound-alike words that pop up when we edit; usually, they're merely a case of our brains going one way, our fingers another. The following list of words, however, could use some reinforcement in our minds. They're so easy to miss, even while editing.

In alphabetical order: (with definitions deliberately aimed at casual)

affect & effect - the simplest way around these two: affect is a verb, effect is most commonly used as a noun

Affect (influence) - verb:
How is my going to Boston in June going to affect (influence) your vacation?
Effect (result) - noun:
The effect of the baby learning to swim is that I won't worry so much.

Effect (bring about) - verb:
The government says it's going to effect a change in the economy.

biannual - twice a year
biennial  - every two years 

The conference meets biennially in Orlando.

canon - This can be defined as a rule. As a musician I think of it as an ancient word for "round" (like "Row, Row, Row Your Boat")
cannon - This is the one you shoot. It's big, it booms loudly, the shot traveling long distances.

capital - The city that is the seat of government in a state or country
capitol - The building where the government meets 

chord - more than one note of music played at the same time - the sound can be harmonious or dissonant
cord - This is the one you use to tie up a package, or maybe the bad guy 

cite - If you quote a reference, you are citing it.
site - a certain place, location    John is at the building site today.
sight - As in "Oh, what a glorious sight!"
cue - If you can't remember your lines in a play, the prompter gives you a cue.
queue -  If you're standing in line for a bus, you're in a queue.

dam - a structure that blocks the flow of water in a river 
          Past tense: dammed
damn - a common expletive
          Past tense: damned   

emigrate - to leave the country of your birth & move to another
immigrate - to enter a new country

When my ancestors emigrated from Scotland, they became immigrants to the United States. 

farther -  a distance which can be measured in inches, feet, metres, etc.
further -  theoretical distances

 She moved farther way from me on the cold stone bench.
 The boss declared we would not discuss this matter any further. 
ingenious - An ingenious person is smart, clever, and inventive.
ingenuous - An ingenuous person is naive, trusting.

If a person is both ingenious and unscrupulous, he/she might take advantage of a person who is ingenuous.

peak - If you climb to the top of a mountain, you are at the peak.
peek - Peeping Tom is the name we call someone who likes to peek in windows.
pique - If you get mad at someone, you in a pique. If you like to ask questions, some say your curiosity has been piqued.

principal - the person who runs the local high school
principle - the rules we live by (or should!)

stationary - you can't move!
stationery - paper you write on (usually of a better-than-average quality)

who's - a contraction of who is and not to be confused with the possessive below.
whose - Whose candy spilled all over the floor?

your - possessive    Is that your computer?
you're - a contraction of you are. I need to know when you're going into town.

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 Thanks for stopping by.


Next week: Photo essay - Cape Cod 2013

For Grace's books as Blair Bancroft, click here. 

Sunday, August 4, 2013


Below is a photo essay culled from two days in Boston, followed by a stop at Plimouth Plantation on our way to Cape Cod. Lots of history, both past and present.

Cassidy, composing a note to leave at the Marathon Bombing Memorial in Copley Square

The Memorial from another angle - Copley Square, Boston, June 2013
Replica of ship involved in the Boston Tea Party - December 16, 1773
Hailey tossing a tea bale

The U.S.S. Constitution, framed in our tour boat's window - Bunker Hill Monument in the distance

Mama & babies on Boston Common

No caption needed!

Boston Common, June 2013

The Last Hurrah of a very full day in Boston (something for everyone)

The next day, on our way to Cape Cod, We stopped at Plimouth Plantation, where I got a big surprise. At the Native American village, members of various tribes take turns as greeters and crafters, so there are always actual Native Americans on site. When the man in the wheel chair told me he was an Abenaki, I actually shrieked. History: my five-greats grandfather was a 12-year-old drummer for Montcalm in the battle where England won Canada from France. When the French lost and the man we assume was his father was killed, he ran away. If the Abenaki hadn't taken him in, he would have died. He lived with the Abenaki for many years, eventually becoming a courier de bois, trapper, etc. He lived to age 112 - I've seen his grave in upper New York state - and, incredibly, one of his descendents (my mother's great-aunt) lived to be 100 and could actually remember seeing him when she was a child. Definitely weird, as he must have been born c. 1747. Anyway, the gentlemen below enjoyed the story as much as I did telling it. We shook hands with a right good will.

Grace & member of Abenaki tribe

Checking the "burn" on a log canoe

Where the Mayflower settlers lived (reproduction), as seen from 2nd floor of the fort

All "settlers" stay in character at all times

And a fond farewell to Plimouth Plantation, Plymouth, MA

Thanks for stopping by.


Next week:  EDITING - Treacherous Words