A Book from a Machine?

ImageLast week, there was a story in the newspaper about the independent bookstore Politics and Prose in Washington, D.C., which has embraced digital publishing. (Click here to read the story.)

They have a machine called “Opus” that can print out books on demand, right in the store, many of them self-published works by local authors. You also can find rare out-of-print books by Shakespeare and Mark Twain, as well as titles in the public domain. Continue reading

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Why Is There a QR Code on My Banana?

So I wasn’t planning on doing two blogs in a row about fruit, but I noticed a funny sticker on my banana one recent morning when I was making breakfast. You’ve probably seen them around – a small square with a bunch of squiggles, and then four smaller boxes within the image.

It’s called a QR code, which a friend of mine dubbed “a bar code on steroids.” They’re getting to be rather ubiquitous, but what do they really do? Continue reading

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Relax Your Mind and Get Creative

The other day while making dinner, I realized that my favorite kitchen knife is not necessarily the one that is the sharpest. It is instead the one sharp enough to peel an apple, but not so sharp that I will injure myself. It’s also great for scoring the interior fruit of an avocado, and fits in my hand just right.

This got me to thinking that there are times when being less sharp, less focused, can actually be of value. And I realized that I’ve noticed this before in other ways. For instance, when I’m stuck on something – trying to remember a name, for example – then I’m better off taking away the focus, thinking of something else, and then it will come to me later. Continue reading

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Celebrating a Milestone at the Flynn

Last weekend, I traveled up to Burlington, Vermont, to help celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Flynn Center for the Performing Arts. This historic art deco theatre in the middle of downtown Burlington first opened in 1930 as a vaudeville hall, later became a movie theatre, and then in 1982 re-opened as a full-fledged performing arts center.

In addition to presenting a wide range of performances – including Broadway, jazz, theater, dance, acoustic music, world music, and family shows – the Flynn is also a venue for concerts by touring rock and pop musicians, the Vermont Symphony Orchestra, and theater companies Lyric Theatre and Vermont Stage. And they also offer educational workshops for all ages through the FlynnArts program and a series of student matinee performances for schoolchildren. Continue reading

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The End of an Era?

I was saddened to read in Wednesday’s Democrat and Chronicle that the Rochester Institute of Technology is selling the printing press they use for their weekly magazine and moving to a digital-only format.

Click here to read the story.

Online versions and e-readers may be considered the wave of the future, but to my mind, there’s nothing like good old newsprint. Yes, I hate the way my fingertips get blackened by the ink, but it’s a tactile experience. And when I want to save an article to read later, I can just tear it out and put it on my desk where it’s immediately visible. (In fact, that’s exactly what I did with the D&C story.) Continue reading

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Sources of Inspiration Can Surprise You

Back in February, the Rochester City Ballet presented their production of The Blood Countess, and they asked me to write a review for their blog. Since I had been writing blogs for a couple of years in my previous role at the RPO, I thought it would be an interesting thing to try. I used to work for a performing arts center in Vermont that presented dance, so I’ve seen a fair bit of modern dance over the years and really enjoy it.

However, the topic of this ballet was somewhat intimidating – vampires, blood, and murder, not my usual choice of subject matter. (Although I do like a good mystery story).

But I went anyway, pen and paper in hand for note-taking and having read the previews for background. Driving home, I was already writing the story in my head, and was surprised to find how quickly it all came together. Continue reading

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The Magical Power of Reading

It was great to see the story by Jim Memmott in today’s Democrat and Chronicle about an elementary school in Spencerport, N.Y., that has given every family in the school a copy of C.S. Lewis’ The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe (which in the interest of space I’ll call LWW). The school has built a whole series of activities around the book in an effort to engage kids in reading. (Read his story.)

I have a long history with the Chronicles of Narnia series. I think my mother read LWW aloud to me when I was little (that and Ballet Shoes), and then over the years I read the whole series. In college, I took a children’s literature class and did my term paper on  Narnia. For that, I read all seven books in just a couple of days and purchased the Narnia Companion to help keep track of all the characters and themes. Continue reading

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Creativity Rides On

Recently, I came across a link to an article in the Wall Street Journal about how to be creative. It has some interesting examples of how people came to make new discoveries, like the glue that didn’t work becoming the basis for the Post-It note, and the origin of the “I Love New York” campaign.

The author of the article quotes Steve Jobs, who famously declared that “creativity is just connecting things.” That goes along, I guess, with my previous blog about synchronicity. Seeing the pieces of a puzzle in your head, and then visualizing how they might go together. Sometimes you can come up with unexpected solutions to a problem, or end up looking at things in a new way. Continue reading

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Synchronicity: Musings on Words, Music, and the Arts

syn∙chro∙nic∙i∙ty (n)  1: the quality or fact of being synchronous   2: the coincidental occurrence of events and especially psychic events (as similar thoughts in widely separated persons or a mental image of an unexpected event before it happens) that seem related but are not explained by conventional mechanisms of causality  3: a song by The Police

If you’re of a certain age, then the third definition of synchronicity is probably the first one that comes to mind. But I like to think that life is all a matter of timing and some of the best things happen unexpectedly, when circumstances come together in just the right way, even – and maybe especially – if it’s not what you expected.

That’s how I ended up with an 18-year career in marketing the performing arts. I was working in an office and volunteering as an usher at the local theatre when I was unexpectedly laid off. As I searched for what I really wanted to do, I decided that communications was the ticket. As a French major in college and an avid reader and bibliophile, I was always interested in words and language and had found I was good at explaining and promoting things.

Shortly after, I went in to get my usher schedule from the volunteer coordinator, and surprisingly, there was an opening in the theatre’s marketing department and the marketing director had majored in the same subject as me, at the exact same college.

Ten years later, due to another layoff, I moved to Rochester, New York, and was lucky to continue working in arts marketing, this time for a symphony orchestra. In both jobs, I was known as the person to go to when you needed to have something proofread or edited (earning the nickname of “Eagle Eye”), and my primary responsibilities included working on program books and brochures.

And now, after another career change which had its own serendipitous beginning, I have started my own freelance business, offering proofreading, copy editing, and marketing services to my clients.

So this blog is my place to share with you my thoughts on a variety of subjects: words and language; music in all styles (although folk music makes up the majority of my CD collection and I spend a lot of my free time singing and playing dulcimer and ukulele); and theatre, dance, fine art, and anything else that strikes my fancy. Along the way, there may also be those moments where the various art forms merge – which sometimes makes for the greatest synchronicity.

Oh, and if you want to read more about synchronicity, check out this link. This web site includes a number of stories of people who experience that moment of things coming together in their lives. Some of them seem too out-there to really be true, but I’ve had enough odd moments of intuition and synchronicity in my own life to think that they are possible.

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Welcome to JK Hanson Wordcraft

Consistency | Accuracy | Reliability | Integrity | Professionalism

Do your promotional materials and publications – whether print or online – need fine tuning? Do you want to improve readability and clarity for your customers, be sure that your web site functions as intended, or maybe just avoid a costly or embarrassing typo?

Drawing on more than 15 years of marketing experience, JK Hanson Wordcraft offers freelance copyediting, proofreading, and marketing services for brochures, publications, web sites, and more. Janice K. Hanson has extensive experience in marketing for the performing arts, which has included:

  • Promoting concerts and events through targeted strategies while maintaining brand identity
  • Editing and proofreading program books, brochures, publications, and press releases
  • Web site content management and site navigation (including two “Best of the Web” awards from the Rochester Business Journal)
  • Writing and HTML design for email newsletters, blogs, and social media
  • Graphic design for flyers, programs, brochures, and advertising; as well as print production

Janice’s “eagle eye” attention to detail and consistent application of style sheets can help you to develop top-notch promotional materials, publications, and websites. In addition to reviewing spelling and grammar and double-checking facts and web links, she proofs for content, always on the lookout for the piece of information that is missing from your materials, or phrasing that is unclear.

Plus, her experience in graphic design, desktop publishing, and print production gives her an edge in reviewing layout and design. She is used to juggling multiple projects at once, and meets all her deadlines. She also is fluent in French with a Bachelor’s Degree in French and Linguistics from Middlebury College in Vermont.

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