jane webster

At the American Copy Editors Society’s conference, the topic of singular “they” came up again and again—for example, at a session I took part in called “Ask a Lexicographer,” with representatives from Merriam-Webster, American Heritage and Oxford dictionaries.

When pressed on whether “they” could serve as a singular pronoun, my fellow lexicographers and I pointed out that it already has done so for about seven centuries, appearing in the work of writers from Chaucer to Shakespeare to Jane Austen.

Merriam-Webster associate editor Emily Brewster turned the question back to the audience. The only thing standing in the way of singular “they” becoming more acceptable? Copy editors who take it upon themselves to edit out the usage, she said.


‘They,’ the Singular Pronoun, Gets Popular | Ben Zimmer for the Wall Street Journal

Blame it on the copy editors. 

Ar daith/On the road

Magazine illustrator Jane Webster sketched the opera company I work for out on the road a little while ago, sending me the original drawing of a shoe bag destined for a singer’s dressing room in Birmingham. I found the drawing the other evening and plan to get it framed once I’m back from tour. In the meantime, I’m packing a pair of silver wedge shoes into a bag, ready to head off for the first leg of a new tour. Destination: Liverpool.

Thinking about my characters and their different journeys - will it be two points of view which criss-cross in a landscape that features Wolf Village and other landmarks? Milan Kundera writes about the purpose of travel in an interesting way in his book The Book of Laugher and Forgetting:

We will never remember anything by sitting in one place waiting for the memories to come back to us of their own accord! Memories are scattered all over the world. We must travel if we want to find them and flush them from their hiding places.”

So, a chance to reflect and maybe make some notes as I travel?


Irish rock band The Strypes played their first ever NYC show earlier this week and I was there camera in hand.

Be sure to check out my full photo recap of the show over HERE.