High School English with a Twist

The musings of Susan E dot Cohen

Month: June, 2012

The Writer and The Editor

My first piece was about how this WordPress is a self-publishing space. I understand many (all of you) are still going to say this is a blog in spite of my protests. However, I am going to stick to self-publishing space.

As the self in self-publishing space, I have to be not only the writer, but also the editor. I have never been an editor. The closest I came to being one was as an assistant editor of a section of my high school newspaper. I quickly relinquished that role. I prefer to be the writer and leave the editing to someone else. Leaving editing to someone else is not an option when you self-publish. A lesson I learned this morning.

This morning I tried to write my second piece. After writing it,  I realized it was subpar.  I had to make an executive decision to hold it until it was more developed. I had to self-edit not just as a writer, but the way an editor does when deciding what stays and what goes in tomorrow’s paper. The moment was very much the student becoming the master. At least I tell myself that.

Instead of publishing something new, I have decided to “reprint” my bio from the About tab on this site. Might as well meet the editor.

Susan E dot Cohen was far from the best student in her competitive high school English classes. She missed those deep themes high school teachers dream about, waited to the night before to write essays, and one year, took post lunch naps during class. In spite of this, she excelled at quote quizzes.

A history buff, Susan went on to major in History with a concentration in American History and minor in Art History at Barnard College. Her choice of Art History was a combination of liking art and knowledge of its value at future dinner parties. She has yet to really be invited to any such parties, but hopes that someday her knowledge will be useful with the person seated to her left or possibly to her right.

Despite Susan’s relationship with high school English, she has always wanted to be a writer. She has honed her craft everywhere from her high school newspaper, Guide Post, to The Columbia Spectator, and most recently, through her role as a contributor at Gluten-Free Living. Susan shares her opinions with anyone  who will listen, and in 2011, that just happened to be The New York Times, in the form of a published letter to the editor.

Self-Publishing Space

This is not a blog and I am not a blogger. I know that is going to be a hard sell as I am writing this on WordPress, and WordPress is for bloggers with blogs. However, my WordPress site is not my blog and I am not a blogger.

I am using WordPress as a “self-publishing space” which I know many (all) of you will argue is the definition of a blog. I have a different definition (alliteration) when it comes to a “self-publishing space.”

A self-publishing space is basically what I would write if I were given a regular column in a newspaper or a magazine. A column over which I had the freedom and flexibility to choose the topics and at times, get a bit creative with my writing style or perhaps with genre (linguistics shout-out). This is a full service “self-publishing space” that will feature exploratory pieces, Op-Eds, personal essays, and interviews.

I selected the name, High School English with a Twist, because I had a complex relationship with high school English. I am still trying to decide if I did not know how to play the English game or I did not fit into the prescribed system. Maybe the game is the system? Therefore if you cannot play the game then you cannot be in the system?

Regardless of the basis for my complex relationship with English, I am a woman who likes books. Real books with pages that turn and corners that fold. There is nothing like the smell of a paperback book. I may not have been the best in my English classes, but I believe in tangible books and buying those books in bookstores. Maybe that is the most important thing one can take out of an English class – respect for the published word on paper. Yes I know, this is published words on a screen. If I could print it and hand deliver it, I would.