I just published my new book, Razzmatazz from the Shazz on Amazon. It’s a collection of stories and articles that I wrote for CourtReportingHelp.com and other sites. A few of them are true. I went to stenography school with the woman in “The Legend of the Lazy Girl,” and I did have quite an experience in a local bar and the next day in school in the story “Bear and the Waitress.”
Some of the stories try to relate different fields to stenography, such as “Comparing Baseball to Stenography,” “Harry Chapin and the Way We Learn” and the truly off the wall “Stenographic Excellence through Applied Kenny Rogers.”
I’m pretty sure that my story “War Pigs” is the one and only article on test nerves that involves a 1500-year-old battle between elephants and pigs.
I’m also pretty sure that no one in stenography ever compared Aristotle to Rene Descartes as far as their usage of briefs. I don’t want to give away the ending, but Aristotle wins. He uses logic when he has to decide what kind of brief to use, but Rene just takes any brief at all. Poor poor Rene. He’ll be in steno school so long that he will change his famous quote to “I think too much; therefore, I am overusing briefs.
Although they have stories attached to them, some down and dirty steno advice can be found in “Time and the Asterisk Key,” “Speedbuilding,” “Accuracy,” and “A Little Analysis.”
There is even a little poetry. “Homework: How Do I Loathe Thee” is a brutal rewriting of Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s famous “How Do I Love Thee.”
Besides my given name, I wrote many of these articles under a variety of pen names. Joe Kinaim, Barb DeWitt, Anna Mae Tedley, and The Dogs of Words appear in this book. You might be surprised as to why I chose those particular names. Here’s one tidbit: Anna Mae Tedley sprang to life because I needed someone to write about finger movements. She taught how to write ANIMATEDLY; so it only made sense that her name was Anna Mae Tedly.
Of all the characters I created, I came to have a great deal of affection for one of them: Anne Szanew. She appeared in just one article, “An Interview with Gashouse Jones,” but it was a great one. She was sent to interview what she thought was a stenographer. He turned out to be a blues guitarist. She was confused about why she was there, and she felt there was a mistake. Gashouse eventually taught her a lot about steno through his expertise at guitar. It generated a lot of email asking for more.
From the “Ah, who cares” File: When you first read the name of the book, I’ll bet you said the same thing as me: Any book with six Zs in its name must be magnificent. Well, a mistake was made. The book does have the correct six Zs. The Amazon listing page shows just five.
I’m blaming Amazon.
And I put my dog, Sam, on the cover. Hey, it’s my book.