“FOR GOD’S SAKE LET US sit upon the ground And tell sad stories of the death of kings.”
– Wm. Shakspere, Richard II
“Are you a dream, Merlin?”
“A dream, to some. A NIGHTMARE TO OTHERS.”
“Well, it’s easy if you know all the notes!”
– Moosie Weinberger, a”h, on playing the piano with her nose
“Never give up. Never surrender.”
— Cmdr. Peter Quincy Taggart
“Are we having fun, yet?”
– Zippy the Pinhead
“Many days you have lingered around my cabin door
Oh! hard times come again no more.”
– Folk song
“In former dreams he had seen quaint lumbering buopoths come shyly out of that wood to drink, but now he could not glimpse any.”
– H. P. Lovecraft, The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath
“We have heard the chimes at midnight, Master Shallow.”
– Wm. Shakespear, King Henry IV pt. II
“I DON’T MIND WATCHING HIM chew the scenery — he leaves such interesting bitemarks.”
A CREEPING TREND OF LITERARY infantilization is loose upon the printed land: we refer specifically to the practice of substituting for a contretemps-laden word a reference to its initial letter: “the T-word,” “the F-word,” etc.
We recognize and laud the noble impulse to avoid giving needless offense. Yet this usage has reached a point where it is difficult to understand what’s being communicated. Read more »
PROLONGING THE GOD EXPERIENCE INTO every waking moment. (All else — songs, prayers, chants, acts, texts, charity, incense, beads, building fund — is just stage direction. Which is not to dismiss the stage direction, since that’s one of the keys to the Experience. But the key isn’t the lock, and what you really want anyway is to open.)
“BUILDING A BETTER MOUSETRAP IS one thing. Testing it is something else.”
Read more »
THE FIRST TIME I DISCOVERED that my words had an effect on other people was when something I wrote made other people cry.
The people were my fellow high-school English students, and the topic was a personal essay we’d been assigned. My take on it was to write about loneliness, and I wish I still had the essay because I can’t even remotely reconstruct it after 31 years and thousands of more words down the line. Read more »
- Definition: “1 chiefly British : a large heavy truck 2 : a massive inexorable force, campaign, movement, or object that crushes whatever is in its path”
- Used in a sentence: “My sister’s new baby is a juggernaut of cuteness.”
- Why: Because Old Hindi words sound so innately cool.
METAL = ROCKS + FIRE / SLAG.
WRITING = WORDS x TIME / TALENT.
LOVE = PEOPLE – EGO x ACTION.
COOKING = INGREDIENTS + TASTE x EXPERIENCE.
TEACHING = THOUGHT1 + THOUGHT2 x EXPERTISE / TOPIC.
FILM = IMAGES + SOUND x IMAGINATION
MUSIC = RHYTHM + MELODY x SOUL
ART = INTENTION + MATERIAL + ACTION
THE MOST IMPORTANT PART OF any story is the point at which it’s attached to the reader.
ONCE UPON A TIME, BEFORE minorities realized they were being patronized by pop-cultural stereotypes, there was a literary MacGuffin known as a “tar-baby.” This item featured highly in the Joel Chandler Harris story “Br’er Rabbit and the Tar-Baby,” where one of the funny animals makes a baby out of tar to trick his enemy into arguing with it, striking it, and finally being englobed by it. A fine family tale enjoyed by generations.
Here’s where history trumps metaphor. And why I need your help.
Read more »
IF YOU HAVE NEVER READ the original James Bond stories by Ian Fleming, you don’t know James Bond.
You also don’t know sweeping prose that zips along like a rocket; lush description with a reporter’s eye for detail; fourth-wall breaking double-entendres; high-concept doomsday plans only one man can stop; and some of the best philosophical bon mots in the business. I like Fleming’s Bond for all these reasons, but mostly I like Fleming because he is a writer who inspires me to write — he makes it look easy, unlike some of my other literary heroes.
Read more »