Karen Milligan, June 21, 2015


Karen Milligan is a reader, teacher and writer. Teaching high school English, literature and a myriad of writing styles for the past 51 years has had its redundancies and periods. Grading papers = editing. (She began teaching when she was 14 years old at a rural summer school and later taught her younger brother and her son all four years of their high school.)

She’s published 30 children’s stories, a book The Great Church Mouse Caper and 5 teacher resource books on writing. Currently she tutors students in expository and creative writing, writes for a Wisconsin Genealogy newsletter and edits thesis papers. She’s also writing her childhood memoirs along with a historical genealogical family tree involving Dutch and Scottish ancestors.

She lives in Menasha, Wisconsin with her husband of 35 years, a former instrumental music teacher; they have one son and two grandchildren, 16 and 18 years old. Her hobbies include: sewing, flower gardening, long distance hiking, reading, travel, photography, bird watching, writing memoir stories, singing, and charcoal drawing. She is open to editing and proofreading and can be contacted at kmbooks50@gmail.com or befriend her at Karen Porter Milligan on facebook.


Credits to the Edits

Have you ever thought about how many actual words you hear in a day? The number, if you could count them, would be astonishing. The sheer number of words you read in a day could be counted, but who would take time to do that? We writers and editors, who love words, handle them every day with our eyes and our minds. As a teacher of English, expository and fiction writing, I cannot fathom the billions of words that have crossed my brainwaves.

You, as a writer, accept the fact that you must also edit. Re-reading, searching for mistakes, looking for anomalies, tweaking unclear phrases or spying flat-out typos can be tedious or joyful. This all depends on your viewpoint and time needed to seek the mistakes.

In essay papers corrected by teachers are the following real-life examples of… well, youʼll see… History of the World, a studentʼs answer: Ancient Egypt was inhabited by mummies, and they all wrote in hydraulics. They lived in the Sarah Dessert and traveled by Camelot. The climate of the Sarah is such that the inhabitants have to live elsewhere, so certain areas of the dessert are cultivated by irritation. The pyramids are a range of mountains between France and Spain. The Egyptians built the pyramids in the shape of a huge triangular cube.

Another student wrote: The Greeks were a highly sculptured people, and without them, we wouldnʼt have history. The Greeks invented three kinds of columns–Corinthian, Doric and Ironic. They also had myths. A myth is a female moth. One myth says that the mother of Achilles dipped him in the River Stynx until he became intolerable. Achilles appears in “The Iliad,” by Homer. Homer also wrote the “Oddity,” in which Penelope was the last hardship that Ulysses endured on his journey. Actually, Homer was not written by Homer but by another man of that name.

A third student opined: Socrates was a famous Greek teacher who went around giving people advice. They killed him. Socrates died from an overdose of wedlock. After his death, his career suffered a dramatic decline. A fourth student expressed: In mid-evil times most of the people were alliterate. The greatest writer of the futile times was Chaucer, who wrote many poems and verse and also wrote literature. Another story was about William Tell, who shot an arrow through an apple while standing on his son’s head.

Now these were honest-to-goodness students’ use of the English language which is filled with funny, odd, humorous, out-of-place ideas and phrases. The rules, if you will, about editing take twists and turns. Two words that have been added to American language are: texting and impacting. The word “text” is a noun, not to be used as a verb. Mimi just texted me and I need to answer her!

The word “impact” is a noun, not to be used as a verb. But, we hear both used incorrectly almost daily. The students were impacted by the new campus ruling. One last word that has morphed since I was young is the word harassment. (And, yes, I used the word “morphed” correctly.)

Harassment used to be pronounced with the accent on the middle syllable, but is now pronounced with the accent on the first syllable. Who and where the change was sanctioned on all three words is a mystery to me. Editing will always be a mud-fuddled job. Wait! Where did that word come from? Yikes! I ended a sentence with a preposition. See what I mean?

Alright, all of you writers and editors out there, keep up the good work. (Please, edit out the use of “alright!”) I give you credits to the edits!

Karen A. Milligan Menasha, Wisconsin