A bath. As
a new mum I was going to give my firstborn a bath before church one
Sunday. I had his bathtub set up and was
filling it with water when I felt the water coming out the bottom of the tub. Uh huh--I forgot to put in the plug. I gave up on the bath plan.
- New parents are often sleep
deprived. This decreases their
mental acuity and (for some)mental stability. Writers should not intentionally deprive
themselves of sleep, or their performance may suffer. Plus they may drool on their keyboards.
- Writers must remember to put
the parenthetical reference at the end of all borrowed material. If they don't, there's no clear stop
(plug) to the citation. The cited
material will spill into theirs, and readers will not know for sure whose
ideas are whose.
And Bolo. Long ago I took care of my landlord's
horses, one of whom was named Bolo. The barn had a gated opening at both
ends. If I wanted to make sure Bolo
stayed put in the hall of the barn, I needed to be sure both gates were closed.
- If writers set the opening
and closing boundaries of borrowed material, there's no question where the
borrowed material is, just like there would be no question where Bolo was
if he was between the two gates.
- If writers start borrowed
material with a signal phrase such as "According to Andreas
Ekeland," and end with a parenthetical reference, the gates are
closed. Left off, the borrowed
material can run into the essay writer's material.
Now, let's note
something. Sometimes that blending of
borrowed material with the writer's material is detected because, sadly, the
writer's sentences are not that super
and suddenly the writing becomes much better because it's borrowed--without
proper boundaries (or quotation marks).
On a happier but
true note, writers should set the boundaries clearly so their good ideas are
not mistakenly attributed to the author of borrowed material that comes right
after those ideas without a proper opening boundary. (This happened in a lit class a few years ago
when a gifted student of mine shared his own good idea, and I thought it was
from the next source he cited.)