Just the Facts, Ma’am

There’s so much to say, to share, that I won’t finish writing for weeks. Instead, I’ll just highlight a few thoughts and spare you a long rambling.


☮ →Joplin’s working out well for me as a note-keeping app. I got my centuries of notes whittled down to a couple of thousand in the process of moving to Joplin. A lot of my notes have attachments, and some of my notes are over 10MB in size. Some network sharing services have limits on note sizes, or rather, on individual document sizes. I ended up syncing my notes with DropBox and that trusty old service has worked out great.

☮ →Grammarly may end up as part of my editing process. It’s smart. I use Scrivener exclusively for writing. Scrivener’s spelling and grammar checking aren’t very good, IMHO. Grammarly found mistakes Scrivener never has been able to find. Plus I can easily dismiss Grammarly suggestions that are offensive. *ahem*

How I use Grammarly:  Only at the stage of the final polish of a story.

  1. I use Scrivener’s SYNC TO EXTERNAL DRIVE option for the given project, having Scrivener save the project as RTF files to the external drive. 
  2. From Grammarly (desktop OSX app), import the RTF file from the “external drive” (the drive is really a folder). Grammarly checks the file, and I make edits. 
  3. Export the RTF file from Grammarly back to the synced external drive Scrivener’s using.
  4. Back in Scrivener, re-sync with the external drive. The edited file appears in Scrivener.

In Scrivener, I have the syncing occurring automatically.

Some Scrivener users prefer to use Grammarly and Scrivener side by side. They read what Grammarly suggests, and then make the changes directly into Scrivener. For moi, that method’s too fraught with peril and confusion.

Other Scrivener users prefer ProWritingAid. That software app will open Scrivener files directly, without having to sync RTF files to an external drive. While ProWritingAid has lots and lots and lots of reports, I found the interface too ugly, and the suggestions not as smart as Grammarly’s. Grammarly seems to know I mean what I write and doesn’t offer as many stupid suggestions.

Of course, a grammar app doesn’t replace good solid reading for mistakes. It’s also not a panacea. One of the gravest problems that a grammar app can create is dulling your writing—taking away your special voice. So watch out and make sure your words are still you! But with a massive novel, well, it’s gonna help.

BTW:  I’m using the free version of Grammarly.

Some media I’ve indulged in, that I highly recommend to you, follows, dear readers. Some mentions are repeats because they are well worth repeating.


☮ →A good documentary series on Showtime:  The Reagans. IMHO, Reagan’s political ascent marked the first step towards where we are today. He indulged in dog whistles and embraced the evangelical right. Reagan’s move from Democrat to Republican is showcased very well in the documentary. Ron Reagan Jr. offers insightful commentary.

☮ →Also on Showtime: The Good Lord Bird. Based on the novel of the same name by James McBride. A brave performance by Ethan Hawke as John Brown, and an outstanding performance by Joshua Caleb Johnson as Henry Shackleford aka “Onion.” The series is both funny and chilling. You’ll be left thinking about John Brown in a new way. You know who he is, right? The man who tried to start a civil war to end slavery. He was hung as a traitor.


☮ →Krista Tippett interviewed Richard Blanco, one of my favorite poets. I’ve mentioned his book before, How to Love A Country. He’s a funny and profound guy. If you haven’t read his book, give it a go. Poetry won’t hurt you but may open your heart up some more.

How I still want to sing despite all the truth
of our wars and our gunshots ringing louder
than our school bells, our politicians smiling
lies at the mic, the deadlock of our divided
voices shouting over each other instead of
singing together. How I want to sing again—
beautiful or not, just to be in harmony—from
sea to shining sea
—with the only country
I know enough to know how to sing for.

—excerpt from Richard Blanco’s poem, America the Beautiful Again, How to Love A Country.

Reading Material

☮ →Rebecca Solnit’s “On Not Meeting Nazis Half Way.” Solnit’s one of our great present-day thinkers. This article appeared in LitHub on Nov 19, 2020. She writes,

…we get this hopelessly naïve version of centrism, of the idea that if we’re nicer to the other side there will be no other side, just one big happy family.

Solnit has strong things to say about a country divided between those who want Autocracy and those who want Democracy. Much food for thought.

☮ →Caste: The Origins of Our Discontent by Isabel Wilkerson. Whoa. This book blew up my mind. I resisted reading it because, well, aren’t we a caste-less American society? Nope. It’s riveting reading, too. Here’s a wonderful interview Isabel Wilkerson did with John Dickerson.


There have been additions to the tiny fountain pen hoard. One of these is a temporary visitor, and the other is for keeps. We’ll see. More to be revealed as I write along.

TWSBI Eco and Aurora 88 Minerali. Both filled with Platinum Mix Free inks.

☮ →eBay gave me a coupon for having been a member since OMG 2000. That coupon paid for the TWSBI Eco.

☮ →The Aurora 88 Minerali came to me because of my birthday earlier this month. Note that the double broad nib is quite stubby.

I’ll write more about these pens in the future. 

Later ‘Gators!

In gratitude that we ousted the Orange Man, and that we may save more American lives because we did. Gratitude too for the health of my family, friends, and yours, and for your reading.

Hang tough and tender, and stay kind and curious, and masked, dear friends!

See you anon.

☮ →Just the Facts, Ma’am, Snopes, 2002 Mar 29

☮ →Little Blue Riding Hood, Stan Freberg, 1953:

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