Category Archives: Spotlight

Client Profile: Terry Williams

“To see the real city,” Terry Williams writes in the introduction to his Cosmopolitan Life series of urban, ethnographic works, “you must descend deep into the shadows, go into the bowels of the city and be guided through history, remembrance and the sensorium, capturing a mosaic of people and places.” In Williams’ latest book, Le Boogie Woogie: Inside and After-Hours Club, Williams takes on this task for his readers, combining ethnography, narrative storytelling, and research to intricately illustrate a world most of us have no access to. As a longtime editor for Willams, our founder and lead editor, Dr. Weiner, was invited to a reading and talk for Le Boogie Woogie hosted at the Harlem Arts Salon

According to his New School profile, Williams focuses are “teenage life and culture, drug abuse, crews and gangs, and violence and urban social policy,” and Le Boogie Woogie dives into those issues. “From the raunchy life of players, madams, hipsters, poets, musicians, voyeurs and others,” Williams writes, Le Boogie Woogie “is about and for people interested in the fast life of the city where cocaine use and sex are commonplace.”

“I am insatiably curious about the life of other people,” Williams said at the reading. “Some would say I’m nosy,” he joked. An article about the reading at the Harlem Arts Salon in Social Research Matters, ‘Terry Williams: The Cosmopolitan Life of an Urban Ethnographer’, explains how his work is largely unprecedented. “‘No study had been done on cocaine users in their natural setting or to describe users as they lived,’ he writes in the book’s introduction. Others told him it wasn’t a good idea, ‘…but my job as a researcher is to see if I can gain the trust and acceptance of people other than my kinfolk’” (Social Research Matters).

Le Boogie Woogie was the latest addition to Williams’ Cosmopolitan Life series. CambridgeEditors had the pleasure of working with Williams on two upcoming books of his, The Soft City: On Voyeurism and Engagement and The Vanishing Indian Upper Class which will be released in July of this year.

 

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Author Spotlight: Susan Choi

Choi

Photo source: susanchoi.com

“It’s so hard to just decode the world. And when we’re teenagers, I think that we’re wildly improvising. We’re just sort of grabbing standards of judgment, we’re grabbing values out of the air, and hoping that they fit.” ­–From Alisa Chang’s interview with Susan Choi on All Things Considered

Susan Choi has emerged as one of the most inventive fiction writers of the last few years. Her latest novel, Trust Exercise, won the 2019 National Book Award for Fiction, but Choi certainly isn’t a new author. Her first novel was published over 20 years ago, and her second novel was a finalist for the 2004 Pulitzer Prize. She has also written a collection of short stories, Wonderful Town: New York Stories, edited with David Remnick.

Trust Exercise is a must-read for anyone interested in a novel that can balance challenging subjects with entertainment value, but especially for any writer interested in social issues portrayed through narrative. Her novel begins in a performing arts high school, but midway through, breaks from a linear story structure by playing with the timeline. It’s been embraced as a #MeToo novel and lauded for its inventive structure that examines how stories are told, what happens when one’s life is written down, and how youth is remembered. Reading Trust Exercise makes the reader question who is narrating, and what voices can be trusted.

In 2019, not only did Choi publish Trust Exercise, she also released a children’s book. Readers can pick up a copy of Choi’s Camp Tiger along with their copy of Trust Exercises.

Trust Exercise has been optioned by Film Nation to be developed into a limited television series.

When Choi isn’t on her book tour, she teaches creative writing at Yale University and resides in Brooklyn, NY.

Written by Isaac Ruben

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Author Spotlight: Wendell Berry

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Wendell Berry, 85, on his farm in Port Royal, Kentucky. Guy Mendes / Vox

The most alarming sign of the state of our society now is that our leaders have the courage to sacrifice the lives of young people in war but have not the courage to tell us that we must be less greedy and wasteful.” -from Wendell Berry’s Sex, Economy, Freedom, and Community: Eight Essays, 1993

Wendell Berry is an American author of both fiction and nonfiction, a poet, essayist, environmental activist, and farmer. He has written extensively about the practices of agriculture, and the impacts it has on consumers, animals, and the planet. As environmental consciousness grows, Berry’s writings reflect an urgent and raw call for action and reform.

Though Wendell Berry has gained more traction and attention in the past decade, he is no newcomer to advocating for his environmentalist beliefs through writing. His more recent works have come to reflect a current dissatisfaction with the political character of our nation, most prominently regarding America’s animal agriculture practices and harmful destruction. Despite his dissatisfaction with the current governing and operation of American, Berry’s writing paves a road towards hope for future generations. By advocating for more sustainable, less environmentally taxing practices, he is helping to reform the agricultural landscape of modern society. 

In the world of today’s climate crisis, Berry’s work urge readers to actively take charge and make change in their communities. Global change begins with individuals making a conscious effort to lessen their negative impact on the environment around them. Young activists today can look to Berry’s writings for non-violent, environmentalist prose, which urges readers to end the destruction of the Earth, animals, and human beings. Berry believes that once we have the knowledge to recognize wrong in the world around us, it is our moral duty to try and make change or find solutions to the issue- as demonstrates in his participation in the 2011 Kentuckians for the Commonwealth rally/sit-in to end mountaintop removal coal mining. In “The Peace of Wild Things”, Berry discusses the discomfort of industrialization, and the contrasting solitude and serenity found in nature:

When despair for the world grows in me

and I wake in the night at the least sound

in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,

I go and lie down where the wood drake

rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.

I come into the peace of wild things

who do not tax their lives with forethought

of grief. I come into the presence of still water.

And I feel above me the day-blind stars

waiting with their light. For a time

I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

Post written by Emily Bunn

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Poet Spotlight: Evie Shockley

Evie

Photo credit: Stéphane Robolin and the Poetry Foundation

“It pains me to tell you of it; but I have promised to tell you the truth, and I will do it honestly, let it cost me what it may.” – “Sex Trafficking Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl in the USA (or, The Nation’s Plague in Plain Sight)”

So writes Evie Shockley, a poet from Nashville, Tennessee, and the author of three books titled A Half Red Sea, The New Black, and Semiautomatic and her monograph, Renegade Poetics: Black Aesthetics and Formal Innovation in African American Poetry. Shockley was recognized for her poetic efforts when she received the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award for her book The New Black, as well as the Holmes National Poetry Prize, both in 2012. A few years later, in 2018, she placed as a Pulitzer Prize Finalist for the release of her most recent book, Semiautomatic

Semiautomatic recounts the experience of being black in America, police brutality, and racism, among other topics regarding the search for equality and justice. What makes this collection so unique is the unconventional attention to form and utilization of free verse. While her poems are often serious and saddening, the use of different poetic forms, such as unusual capitalization, repetition, rhyme scheme, and meter, is very playful. The writing exemplified in Semiautomatic is fierce, unabashed, and determined to make not only an impact but a concrete change in the world around her.

Another one of Shockley’s strengths is her keen eye for noticing the discrepancies and hidden nightmares of America’s operation. She often focuses her writing on topics that are considered taboo, or that are too painful to be spoken about aloud. One of the most heartwrenching and impactful pieces Shockley has published is “Sex Trafficking Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl in the USA (or, The Nation’s Plague in Plain Sight).” In this poem, the issue of sex trafficking in America is analyzed. A startling comparison is made between the atrocities of past slaves, and today’s female sex trafficking victims in America. Quotations from political figures, sex trafficking victims, anti-human trafficking organization officials, and sex trafficking statistics are fluidly incorporated within her poem to aid her message. The author grapples with her own realizations about this toxic, violent underground industry simultaneously telling the story of a victim. At the culmination of the piece, Shockley self-referentially asks herself what she can do to help fight this issue, and by writing this poem, she has brought attention to this critical issue of today.

To read Evie Shockley’s “Sex Trafficking Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl in the USA (or, The Nation’s Plague in Plain Sight)”, please the Poetry Foundation

Post written by Emily Bunn

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CambridgeEditors’ Client Runs the London Marathon on Behalf of the Blind

Congratulations to Renata Beman, long-time CambridgeEditors client and advocate for the blind and other disabled people!

Renata successfully completed the London Marathon this past Sunday. Here is her account:

I made it !!! the marathon was last Sunday  the 28th of April, it was so so hard 47 KM,  26.5 miles took 6 plus hours…I never run in my life and there were only 10 people running for the blind.

I knew that when I reached the turn of mile 17 the veterans would be there waiting, as soon as the people from the office spotted me I could see in their faces, a mixture of happiness and disbelieve, they started shouting “Renata is coming” some blind veterans, especially the old ones were very emotional, crying, I had hugs, guide dogs jumping, kisses and a massive power up for the next very long 9.5 long miles.

When I crossed the final line at that point my legs were almost petrified as I have bad knees due to years of ballet, but what an epic feeling YES I did for the blind, it was unbelievable and epic!

I am super tired.

Renata

Get some rest, Renata. You’ve earned it.
 

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Spotlight: The Hoochie Media Project

The Hoochie Media Project is an intersectional feminist media platform of which I am the Head and Editor-in-Chief. Hoochie is run entirely by Boston University students and seeks to empower student feminists across the globe through our blog, ‘zine, and Reader. Before I go on, let me give you a little background on who we are.

Merriam-Webster defines “hoochie” as slang that means, “a sexually promiscuous woman.” You might be wondering, how does this word have anything to do with feminism? Well, let me tell you: by reclaiming a word that was once derogatory, we change the meaning behind it. We take back the hate that was once used against us to fuel our power. This is what Hoochie is. It’s about being unapologetically bold and taking action to fuel positive changes.

Since 2007, Hoochie has grown into a collegiate collective for intersectional feminist students. Today, we curate a blog, with posts ranging from photography interviews, to R&B slam poetry, to inquiries into modern day love. Hoochie is an open book when it comes to writing and expression. As long as your topic relates to intersectional feminism, we’re happy to post it! We work with Boston University students primarily, but we also feature alumni writers and artists from other institutions.

We also publish the Hoochie Reader every spring. The Hoochie Reader is an anthology for student feminists around the world to submit critical essays, creative writing, and artwork for publication. The Hoochie Reader is recognized by the Library of Congress as a legitimate publication, which means that all of the students who contribute to the Reader become published writers and artists. The Reader is edited, designed, and assembled entirely by students. The Reader has published pieces from students across the nation and even the globe.

2018 hoochie reader cover

We are fast approaching the launch of the third issue of the Hoochie Reader in May. If you are a writer, editor, or someone in between, keep an eye out for our next issue, and follow us on social media. For more information, visit the Hoochie website.

Facebook: @hoochiefeminist
Twitter: @hoochiefeminist
Instagram: @hoochiefeminist

-Anne Jonas

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Spotlight: “Drag” by Domenic D. Augustus and S.M. Dudley

Drag by Domenic D. Augustus and S.M., one of the many works edited by CambridgeEditors is August and Dudley’s first novel. The book follows the life of Vincent, a sociopathic man caught in the whirlwind of his own mental health and the vicissitudes of everyday life. We are transported to Everett, MA and glimpse the punch of Boston’s vernacular, imagery, and energy. Using third-person omniscient view, Augustus and Dudley capture the complexity of Vincent’s mind and give perspective to the multifaceted decisions surrounding thoughts of suicide, addiction, and the descent into madness.

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Reading the book for the first time, I became completely invested in the characters’ lives and the life of Vincent. Because the book gives the reader an inside perspective into the thoughts, choices, and reasons behind forthcoming decisions, I sympathized deeply for Vincent, who was hastily characterized as a sociopath by those around him. I saw Vincent as someone who had been mischaracterized and dragged–– so to speak–– in the mud of the taboo surrounding mental health.

A line that Vincent repeats to himself throughout the book is “I am–– Numb.” I thought a lot about this remark and realized that maybe it wasn’t Vincent who was numb, but the people around him; if we do not reach out to those who are struggling with mental health issues, we prove ourselves numb to those we love. The book drives this point home by including the number to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline in its epigraph at the beginning, coupled with a quote by Augustus himself: “I have made wrong decisions in my life, but when my world got me down what I finally did was write.”

I encourage all of you to read Drag, reach out to the people you love, and write if you are feeling down. Feel free to reach out to CambridgeEditors with your writing!

-Anne Jonas

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A Village Under The Streetlight

As many of you know CambridgeEditors is an independent firm that was established in 2003, it is dedicated to providing superior editorial services for a wide range of clients. The manuscripts brought forward are a wide selection, such as: scholarly monographs, chapters, and journal articles; dissertations and master’s theses; novels and other forms of fiction.

One of the works of fiction that we have edited is  “A Village Under The Streetlight” By Thomas Palayoor. Not only a novelist, Thomas Palayoor is also a cancer researcher and molecular geneticist. When feeling creative he not only has a passion for stories in the Indian language but paints as well. “A Village Under The Streetlight” is Thomas Palayoor’s first novel, which follows the lives of people in the village of Manoor, India. We see the cast of characters love, fight, gossip, marry, divorce, have children, or die. As you read, you become increasingly invested in each of the people of Manoor and how the lines of fate slowly bring the characters apart and together again and again. We also see, slowly, how modernization can even effect the smallest of villages across the globe. As if we too were streetlights passively viewing the village’s move away from colonial rule, the changes of political parties, religions, and views of ethnicity.

Reading the novel for the first time I found that my favorite thread of this woven tapestry, was the movement of modernization into the village. The first villager we follow is a man named Kunjayi, a rickshaw driver, forced out of his job by the local government. We see his desperation, grief, and hopelessness from being without a job. But, as the weeks go by he suddenly picks himself up and works to get a job as an oarsman for the local ferry. This small story exemplifies modernization and movement away from the past means of transportation, to a more current one, in a humanistic and masterful way.

While enjoying the seasonal shift from winter to spring, this novel will allow you to enjoy the shift from historic to modern, or generation to generation. I highly recommend this novel and its transformations that explore the human experience.

Disagree or agree? Comment below!

Or if you are in need of our services check out this link: https://cambridgeeditors.com/rates/.

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Feature: Doug Holder on Charles Coe’s “Memento Mori”

Charles Coe, who is one of our editors at CambridgeEditors, recently released his newest collection of poetry, Memento Mori. This collection captures the essence and pride of Boston and Cambridge, explains Doug Holder, a Somerville-native himself. Holder’s brief review of Memento Mori explores the nostalgia of life through the keen eyes of a Bostonian.

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Image Source: http://dougholderresume.blogspot.com

Holder first reviews Coe’s “Poem for an Absent Friend,” which takes place in the Boston Commons. Holder remarks that for him, and many other Bostonians, the Commons “has often been a stage for any number of dramas.” This could not ring truer for me as well. Although I am a newcomer to this city, I vividly remember the Commons being stormed by fans after the Red Sox won the World Series. People climbed lamp posts and lit firecrackers. It was dramatic, to say the least, and has become a cherished Boston memory for me.

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Image Source: http://dougholderresume.blogspot.com

Not only does Coe conjure up nostalgia in his poem, but the relatability of human loneliness, too. He writes:

“A young couple near the fountain holds a baby. / An older woman with a camera clicks the shutter / as we pass and we are captured in a frame. / Perhaps 100 years from now / someone flipping through a dusty scrapbook / will pause a moment to contemplate our faded images, / tow ancient and mysterious ghosts…”

The feeling of wanting to be remembered is something most people feel, and Coe captures the bittersweet nature of remembrance and memory perfectly. Through this imagery does Coe capture in a frame the love he, and Holder, have for Boston. Perhaps, then, Holder’s review of Coe acts to preserve this feeling–– these memories–– for future Bostonians.

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To all of our Boston, Cambridge, and Somerville-based poets, readers, and writers: enjoy this beautiful, sunny day in Boston, and check out CambridgeEditors, here.

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Featured Writer: Patrick Dunn

Greetings!

My name is Patrick Dunn, and I’m an author that Dr. Weiner has brought on to write fantasy fiction blogs posts. I am currently a senior earning my Bachelor’s degree in English literature and creative writing from the online division of Southern New Hampshire University. I’m very grateful for this opportunity to share my thoughts.

For this first post, I wanted to talk a bit about myself and my path to becoming a reader and writer. In the future, I’d love to write about book suggestions and the different ways that I’ve seen fantasy authors build the worlds in their stories. I hope that you enjoy my posts!

I have so many memories from my childhood of poring over books. These experiences hold emotions that are so strong, they stand out like flashes of lightning. I remember experiences when a book was so fantastic, I couldn’t stop reading it, even though it was one o’clock in the morning, and I needed to head to school later that morning. I remember experiences of sitting with a cat by my feet, gripped by suspense—I turned the pages, losing my sense of time in enjoyment of the book. I can also recall times of shaking bouts of laughter as a character did or said something foolish or bizarre. Books continue to amaze me with how they can cause readers to act the same way that people can. Perhaps books are people made of paper.

When I was eight years-old, my second grade class was given a creative writing assignment—write an original short story. It was then that I discovered my passion for writing. Inspired by The Velveteen Rabbit, I wrote my first short tale about a talking rabbit who meets a dragon. The two set off on a most marvelous and weird journey, and, from what I remember, I wasn’t very happy with it. I thought that it was just “ok.” People read the story and encouraged me to keep writing. So, I did.

I fell into a habit that I wouldn’t recommend to even those that I dislike the most. First, I would write a short story. Then, I would read that story over. At that point, I would sometimes edit a few paragraphs here and there, but editing wasn’t important to me. Finally, I would become disappointed over how terrible I felt the story was, and throw the writing out or delete it from my computer. This lasted for two very long years, until I met the author Shawn Cormier.

A fantasy author best known for the book Nomadin, Shawn Cormier has been my mentor for several years now. We met when I was eleven years-old, during a writing event at a library. After talking with him and telling him how much I enjoyed writing, he encouraged me to email him my work. At the time, I had nothing to send anyone. I went home and started typing what came to my mind. Having no idea that I would actually finish the project, I began typing what would become my first novel, The Magus: Book One in the Magus Trilogy.

Over the course of about two years, I slowly wrote the book. Finding weekends and afternoons after school most convenient, I would write a chapter, and then email it to Shawn, who’d look it over and email back his comments and guidance. I absolutely loved this whole process, and I’ve grown as a writer more from Shawn’s influence than any other writer. Along the way, I took inspiration from J.R.R. Tolkien, Margery Williams, and Christopher Paolini, who I consider masters of the art.

Once the book was completed, I knew that I needed a good editor. A very, very good editor is actually what I was seeking. I came across Dr. Weiner’s editing website and was nothing but impressed with her credentials and that of her staff. After a brief phone call with her, I knew that she was the person for the job. I’m happy to say that she is indeed a very, very good editor.

In August, 2013, I self-published The Magus through CreateSpace.com, which is owned by Amazon.com. I was very pleased that something that I’d worked on had actually been published.

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Soon after The Magus was published, my town newspaper actually interviewed me about my book and my inspirations.

Thank you very much for reading!

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