Editing, Pupating, Migrating

editing

Our little caterpillar will eventually become a moth and the outline or first draft will find its own ideal shape through editing. A good proofreader or copyeditor can be crucial at this stage, helping the emerging text find its wings, fly, fly…toward the light.

Editing

Last week, the tent caterpillars left the natal tree, crawled hither and thither, and now are trying to hang themselves  pupating in a protected area.  [P.S.: the strike through is intentional–obviously, this was the wrong choice of words! To find the right word “pupating” I needed to do some research. It’s also a technical term, so I’ve italicized it. This example of self-editing is similar to the way I use TRACK CHANGES to edit a document. The MARK UP is always done with red ink.]

In this cocoony other world, things take a supernatural turn.

editing
The cocoon’s total atomic weight must be somewhat less than a seedless grape.

Much of the strange awesomeness of this turns on the fact that I find metamorphosis fascinating. For haven’t we all had to tunnel down into our own dark parts? Don’t we all emerge slightly changed? I know I have. Ripped and torn, heart still beating, still trying desperately to fly, fly…up and away.

 

Fact Checking

Tent Caterpillars have been in Canada since the early 1600s. According to http://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/timelines/100-great-events-in-canadian-history/  as Champlain was establishing a fortified trading post at Quebec in 1608, and Maisonneauve founding Ville-Marie, the future city of Montreal, in 1642, and the Huron Nation was being weakened by disease and cultural interference by the French, caterpillars were thriving.

Map of Canada

During part of my wild youth spent in Ontario’s Haliburtons, it was more common to see Eastern Tent Caterpillars worming their way across the dirt (and through my waking nightmares). They are the ones that build nests in forks, close to the main stem of the tree. I recall the candy cotton webs. I also recall the throbbing hairy larvae inside those webs. Something from the Alien movie all wrapped up in a gossamer package.

editing
Sigourney, I can relate.

Of course we all know by now the tree in my backyard has been invaded by Western Tent Caterpillars. They build smaller nests at the ends of twigs and leaves. But I ask you, why the Western in this slightly Eastern part of the world? Is this a new immigration? How odd. These caterpillars are not “foreign” exactly, but they’re also not indigenous to here. Maritimers would call them CMAs (“Come From Aways”). Such are the unsolvable mysteries of Canadian nationhood. We might think regionally in terms of culture, climate, history — but bugs? They hold no such “Mind-Forg’d Manacles” (to quote William Blake).

Patterns of Migration

On top of that, in Canada, we usually see influences (or in some cases, infestations) moving from East to West (then North). Not vice versa.

Whatever the case, outbreaks of Tent Caterpillars — whether from the forest, the west, or the east — are yucky. Apparently they happen every 10 years, and sometimes last up to 2 years. They stress out the trees, and gross out the neighbourhood.

Without getting too bogged down in specifics, they must make a good protein supply (if you can stomach them). I’ve heard some birds find them toxic, but if you are human editing editing editing

you might be happy to learn they do not transmit diseases to us, they do not bite us, and they are not poisonous to us. [P.P.S.: more intentional strike throughs because I’m self-editing again. Isn’t the reference to “us” somewhat redundant?]

Indexing Code: Outlining, Formatting, PowerPointing

indexing

On the internet, web “bots” and web “spiders” constantly browse my site for the purpose of indexing or “scripting” it. Translation? The bots and spiders see and understand text placed within specialized headings and subheadings. indexingUsed to denote the importance of information, these so-called HTML headers — or “tags” — receive prime treatment by search engines looking for “hookwords” to associate with each webpage.

HTML — Indexing Code

HTML is geek speak for HyperText Markup Language. Because this code “marks up”  certain words, it functions like Track Changes and draws your attention to particular places on the page.

Obviously, bots and spiders like to read, and so do humans. That’s why outlining, formatting, PowerPointing and indexing are the primary methods used to write code, copy, articles or screenplays.

How is Outlining a Document like HTML Coding?

HTML code makes the “crawl-able” links for search engines; they in turn entice the spiders and bots to your website. Writing code is like scripting an essay’s outline. Level I, indexingthe main point, contains the thesis or the “hook” that lets everyone know what’s at stake. The next Levels are the smaller subpoints/subheads. Each performs like a paragraph in the document, separating itself from other block elements with a line of blank space.

How is Formatting a Document like HTML Coding?

To format the text on a webpage, you use a headline followed by subheadings. This breaks up the writing, improves the layout of the page, and lets the search engines know what’s relevant. Similarly, titles and subtitles make written documents easier to read, and understand. indexingUsually they are formatted with different font sizes or font aspects (i.e. uppercase, lowercase, bolded, underlined, etc.). Similarly, with HTML code, the h1 element makes the headline BIG and bold. To create smaller subtitles or levels of text, you can use the h2 or h3 etc. elements.

How are PowerPoint Bullet-Points like HTML Code?

When HTML tags define a line of text as a headline or a subheading, they also create hierarchies of importance. Writing good code helps to ensure the levels are correctly indexed and searchable. indexingBullet-point headings and subheadings on PowerPoint slides also tell the viewer what to look for. Additionally, they aid in organizing the screen by getting all the main and sub points across quickly and directly.

How is Manuscript Indexing like Writing Code?

To index keywords in a book or on a website, the coder/indexer finds the hookwords, slugs or taglines on each page. Both the HTML coder and the manuscript indexer list these terms properly, then format them in a certain order. However, the indexer has to add page numbers so readers can flip back for more information.indexing