Words I Love

English is filled with words that sound gloriously like the thing they describe. Loathe Say it out loud. Listen to it. You have to bring your lips from that wide "L" shape to an "oh" sound, all towards that hissing, sinister end. When you loathe something, you not only dislike it but you find it … Continue reading Words I Love

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Words I Loathe

Blog Blog. Blog. Blaaaaahg. When I see the original, pre-shortened word "weblog"--that's where "blog" comes from--all I see is "we blog". It's an ugly word, and I find any excuse to avoid using it. Although I quite like "blogosphere". It makes the world of online blogs seem ugly and close-knit. In my head, the blogosphere … Continue reading Words I Loathe

Facing Our Fears

Some people love to feel afraid. But I've never understood people like that. Last week, my husband and I went with a couple of friends to The Forest of Fear in Tuxedo Park, New York (the scariest theme park in Hudson Valley, operating out of the town with the silliest name). We arrived just after dusk, then got in line to take a walking … Continue reading Facing Our Fears

Asimov’s Robots and Empire (and how to read it)

Inspired by historian Edward Gibbon's The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Isaac Asimov's "Foundation" trilogy tells the story of a future humanity, and a small group of scientists struggling to maintain their galactic civilization over hundreds of years. Even though Asimov never quite completed the series, the story--set millennia in … Continue reading Asimov’s Robots and Empire (and how to read it)

Review: Peter Gabriel’s “New Blood”

In the same way that Scratch My Back reinterpreted rock and pop with only an orchestra and Peter Gabriel's plaintive vocals, Gabriel--along with arranger John Metcalfe--have applied the same stylings to the artist's own material. The results are sometimes startling, often ordinary, but always beautiful--particularly with good headphones or speakers, where the engineering artistry of … Continue reading Review: Peter Gabriel’s “New Blood”

Remember, They Can’t ALL Be Gems…

As a writer, I am often gripped by the fear of imperfection. Some days (like today, for instance) the ideas come in bits and pieces. Nothing is really connected, nothing sounds new or particularly enlightening. Honestly, it took me about fifteen minutes just to come up with the last two sentences. "What am I doing … Continue reading Remember, They Can’t ALL Be Gems…

Polymaths

Writing dozens of characters into a story can add depth to the tale, but at cost of making it hard for the reader to follow along. A cast of thousands can also make the plot itself seem like an afterthought. Most stories that are getting a little overcomplicated can benefit from cutting out some characters. … Continue reading Polymaths

Please

Please, don't do these things: Please don't type anything other than a single space after a period. End a sentence with a period, then type a space. Not two spaces--you're working on a computer, not a Smith-Corona. And not three or four spaces. Yeah, we can clean this up with find and replace, but why … Continue reading Please

Want to Be a Writer? Don’t Just Sit There!

Monday was not a good writing day. Any would-be writer knows the feeling. You want to write, need to write even, but you can only watch in dismay as each painfully-extracted word lands with a dull thud. With another Magnificent Nose deadline bearing down upon me, I started to wonder if I'd ever produce anything of value again. I … Continue reading Want to Be a Writer? Don’t Just Sit There!

Tedious Circles of Hell, Described

When you walk down the street, you notice many things. Stay with me, here: You hear the muted slaps of footfalls striking slightly wet pavement, slippery with leaves you can't see. You see the yellow, uneven quality of light--evoking the offscreen sun coming out from behind the clouds you assume are there, sunrise a recent … Continue reading Tedious Circles of Hell, Described