Lightly Child, Lightly

We live on a little island of the articulable, which we tend to mistake for reality itself. We can and do make small and tedious lives as we sail through the cosmos on our uncannily lovely little planet, and this is surely remarkable. But we do so much else besides. For example, we make language. A language is a grand collaboration, a collective art form which we begin to master as babes and sucklings, and which we preserve, modify, cull, enlarge as we pass through our lives. Some students in France drew my attention to the enormous number of English words that describe the behavior of light. Glimmer, glitter, glister, glisten, gleam, glow, glare, shimmer, sparkle, shine, and so on. These old words are not utilitarian. They reflect an aesthetic attention to experience that has made, and allows us to make, pleasing distinctions among, say, a candle flame, the sun at its zenith, and the refraction of light by a drop of rain. How were these words coined and retained, and how have they been preserved through generations, so that English-speaking people use them with the precision necessary to preserving them? None of this can be ascribed to conscious choice on the part of anyone, but somehow the language created, so to speak, a prism through which light passes, by means of which its qualities are arrayed. One of the pleasures of writing is that so often I know that there is in fact a word that is perfect for the use I want to put it to, and when I summon it it comes, though I might not have thought of it for years. And then I think, somewhere someone was the first person to use that word. Then how did it make its way into the language, and how did it retain the specificity that makes it perfect for this present use?

~ Marilynne Robinson, from “Imagination and Community” in When I Was a Child I Read Books: Essays


Notes:

  • Photo: Miriam Mannak with Flame. Quote: via a thing in motion
  • Prior “Lightly child, lightly” Posts? Connect here.
  • Post Title & Inspiration: Aldous Huxley: “It’s dark because you are trying too hard. Lightly child, lightly. Learn to do everything lightly. Yes, feel lightly even though you’re feeling deeply. Just lightly let things happen and lightly cope with them.”

Truth

Crispin Sartwell’s half tongue-in-check defense of texting and Twitter (Sept. 22) as a “golden age of the written word” ignores all evidence of the opposite (“Texting and Twitter Make This a Golden Age for the Written Word,” op-ed, Sept. 23). Those of us who ban laptops in the classroom he labels “schoolmarms,” and he cites the old charge of they-hated-comic-books-too for the millionth time, and to equally empty effect.

He skips the fact that the SAT added a writing component in 2006, and scores have dropped every year save two when they were flat. A recent Hart Research Associates poll of employers found barely one quarter (27%) think that recent college grads are well-prepared in writing. The ACT’s college readiness scores in English have actually dropped six percentage points in the last five years.

All of this has happened while youths have texted away the hours. Mr. Sartwell calls it writing, but he doesn’t realize that tweeting and texting don’t make them better writers. They make them better tweeters and texters. To say, “Perk up, young people, and keep on texting,” as he concludes, isn’t whimsical or cute or provocative. It’s irresponsible.

~ Mark Bauerlein,  Texting Isn’t the Same as Writing, or Even Thinking  (In a Letter to the Editor, wsj.com Sept 27, 2017)


Photo: “Texting” by Noa agravante

 

Pirr, a light breath of wind, a cat’s paw on water

Robert-McFarlane

This is a book about the power of language – strong style, single words – to shape our sense of place. […]

The ten following chapters explore writing so fierce in its focus that it can change the vision of its readers for good in both senses. […] A book that brilliantly shows how such seeing might occur in language, written as it is in prose that has ‘the quivering intensity of an arrow thudding into a tree’. And for over a decade I have been collecting place words as I have found them gleaned singly from conversations, correspondences or books, and jotted down in journals or on slips of paper. […]

Many of these terms have mingled oddness and familiarity in the manner that Freud calls uncanny: peculiar in their particularity, but recognizable in that they name something conceivable, if not instantly locatable. Ammil is a Devon term for the fine film of silver ice that coats leaves, twigs and grass when freeze follows thaw, a beautifully exact word for a fugitive phenomenon I have several times seen but never before been able to name. Shetlandic has a word, af’ rug, for the ‘reflex of a wave after it has struck the shore’; another, pirr, meaning ‘a light breath of wind, such as will make a cat’s paw on the water’; and another, klett, for a ‘a low-lying earth-fast rock on the seashore’. On Exmoor, zwer is the onomatopoeic term for the sound made by a covey of partridges taking flight. […]

There are experiences of landscape that will always resist articulation, and of which words offer only a remote echo – or to which silence is by far the best response. Nature does not name itself. Granite does not self-identify as igneous. Light has no grammar. Language is always late for its subject. Sometimes on the top of a mountain I just say, ‘Wow.’

~ Robert Macfarlane, from Chapter 1: “The Word-Hoard” in Landmarks


Note: Portrait –  Wharfedaleobserver

Uhtceare

uhtceare-word-definition-anxiety-worry


Source: this isn’t happiness

Zephyr (ZƐF ƏR)

breeze-legs

ZEPHYR (ZƐF ƏR), noun.

Deemed one of the most beautiful words in the English language due to its euphony, rare sighting and letter composition, Zephyr is described as a gentle, mild breeze. It does not disrupt, nor cause chaos, it merely brings a pleasant sensation on a warm summer day.

 


Notes: Definition source: Words N Quotes. Photo: Here’s to the crazy ones (Breeze by Igor Egorov)

Calling all English Majors: […]?

excerpt

1) There’s: “
2) There’s: ” /
3) There’s: “[…]

or [Read more…]

Love them. What do I do with them?

words,write,writing,vocabulary,writer,blog,blogging

The Lori’s, the Mimi’s, the Beth’s, the… (I can go on and on)…they weave words. Fine, beautiful, silky words.  Effortlessly sliding around rock. Floating on air currents on a magic carpet. Drifting upward with red Helium balloons.  And then. There’s me.  Chopping. Hacking. Slashing. Racking my mind to find just the right word.  Blow after blow of self-flagellation.  It can’t be due to a lack of depth in (of?) vocabulary. (Well, maybe it is.) I do have a short list of magic words. I love them. Yet, I find it impossible to work them into a sentence. (Note to Self: In time DK. In time. You will work this list. It might be 3 yards and a cloud of dust, but you will cross the damn goal line. Yes you will.  And yes readers, you will soon find these deep blog passages of mine “imbued with sparkle and élan.”* Oh, God. Help me.)

Bucolic In a lovely rural setting.
Conflate To blend together.
Demure Shy and reserved.
Ebullience Bubbling enthusiasm.
Ephemeral Short-lived.
Ethereal Gaseous, invisible but detectable.
Evanescent Vanishing quickly, lasting a very short time.
Gossamer The finest piece of thread, a spider’s silk.
Halcyon Happy, sunny, care-free.
Imbue To infuse, instill.
Incipient Beginning, in an early stage.
Ineffable Unutterable, inexpressible.
Inure To become jaded.
Lissome Slender and graceful.
Mellifluous Sweet sounding.
Panoply A complete set.
Petrichor The smell of earth after rain.
Propinquity An inclination.
Redolent Fragrant.
Scintilla A spark or very small thing.
Sempiternal Eternal.
Sumptuous Lush, luxurious.
Surreptitious Secretive, sneaky.
Woebegone Sorrowful, downcast.


Sources/References/Credits:


wabi-sabi

home,warmth,comfort

sunlight,sun, sun rays [Read more…]

l’esprit de l’escalier

l'espirt de l'escalier word definition

murr-ma word definition

tsundoku word definition

[Read more…]

Synecdoche

I’m worried.  I liked this.  Don’t ask me how many times I hit go on this 8 second clip.  Here’s how to pronounce “Synecdoche“.  And, if the suspense is overwhelming and you want to know what “Synecdoche” means, the definition can be found here.


And if you are looking for a real word treat, check out this old post titled Words….  Loved this too.


Source: videohall

Related Posts: Synecdoche (jettiepoetry.wordpress.com)

Happy Birthday Noel…

Noel Coward (5)

My importance to the world is relatively small. On the other hand, my importance to myself is tremendous. I am all I have to work with, to play with, to suffer and to enjoy. It is not the eyes of others that I am wary of, but of my own. I do not intend to let myself down more than I can possibly help, and I find that the fewer illusions I have about myself or the world around me, the better company I am for myself.

Noël Coward

Happy Birthday, Noël Coward, who was born on this day in 1899.  In his bio, he is defined as having “virtually invented the concept of Englishness for the 20th century. An astounding polymath – dramatist, actor, writer, composer, lyricist, painter, and wit — he was defined by his Englishness as much as he defined it. He was indeed the first Brit pop star, the first ambassador of ‘cool Britannia.’…Coward was on stage by the age of six, and writing his first drama ten years later…His between-the-wars celebrity reached a peak in 1930 with “Private Lives,” by which time he had become the highest earning author in the western world…Since his death in 1973, his reputation has grown. There is never a point at which his plays are not being performed, or his songs being sung. A playwright, director, actor, songwriter, filmmaker, novelist, wit . . . was there nothing this man couldn’t do?”

Noel Coward: Top 10 quotes

  1. It’s discouraging to think how many people are shocked by honesty and how few by deceit. [Read more…]

Avoid the “F-Word”

Yes, shameful.  Made you look.  It’s not THE “f-word.”  But, the word “FACT.”

  • The fact of the matter is
  • As a matter of fact
  • The fact is…
  • Actual fact
  • In fact
  • In point of fact
  • That’s a fact
  • Just the facts
  • Factually…
  • Due to the fact that…
  • Factoid…
  • True facts
  • Fact-checking…
  • Spurious facts
  • Fun fact

[Read more…]

You’ve hit “PUBLISH” and THEN you spot a typo…


Source: i-o-u-a-fall via creatingaquietmind

Related Posts:

You are reading my post, and…

 

silently correctly my grammar

 


Adapted from teachingliteracy

Related Posts:

All-Blogger Alert!

blog shoo inHere are links to notable blogging/writing posts in the past week:

Kurt Harden @ Cultural Offering with I Love a Tradition and Ray Visokski @ A Simple Village Undertaker with Officially A Tradition where they invite bloggers to a face-to-face meeting in Newark. (I was reading too fast.  I thought they meant Newark, NJ which would have been a no-brainer.  The idea has me thinkin’.  Maybe something smaller and more local? Yes, Brenna, me too – way (way) out of comfort zone. On the other hand, YOLO?)

Madame Scherzo: The 10 Most Commonly Misunderstood Words In English.  (Got me on “Enormity” and several others.)

Michael Hyatt15 Resources For Pro Bloggers (Or those who want to be).  (I’m not a Mac user but there are solid tips in his post.)

Caitlin Kelly @ BroadsideBlogHer 2012 — was it worth it? “Three days of full-on intensity, 5,000 bloggers in one midtown Manhattan hotel, about 80 percent of whom — maybe 90 percent — were female, and under the age of 40…”

[Read more…]

How to Write.

James JoyceFrom NY Times Sunday Book Review by Colson Whitehead: A few excerpts:

Rule No. 1: Show and Tell.

Rule No. 2: Don’t go searching for a subject, let your subject find you. You can’t rush inspiration…you can’t force it. Once your subject finds you, it’s like falling in love. It will be your constant companion…Your ideal subject should be like a stalker with limitless resources…

Rule No. 3: Write what you know…listen to your heart. Ask your heart, Is it true? And if it is, let it be. Once the lawyers sign off, you’re good to go…

Rule No. 4: Never use three words when one will do. Be concise. Don’t fall in love with the gentle trilling of your mellifluous sentences…

[Read more…]

Language Lesson 1 and 2…*

lessonThere was (is?) a number of enthusiastic fans of Saturday’s post titled Sloppy is as sloppy does…(Yes!!!!!!!!!!!!!!).  If you haven’t seen the post, it’s (its?) worth a peak.  The punch line?  Bad grammar and punctuation are (is?) bad.

So, wouldn’t you know it, LaDona (Piano Teacher extraordinaire) proceeds to proof read my old post titled: Who would have thought…

I made the mistake of checking my emails before bed time to find an email flashing from LaDona.  She took the courtesy of sending me a private email rather than censuring (aka humiliating) me in public in the comment section of my post.  (So Canadian of her!)

“Dave, you seem to be heading a campaign to clean up some bad writing habits (and rightly so!), so you might want to take care of the rogue apostrophes in the Zeke post. They are still not supposed to be used to denote plurals unless they show plural possession.  Kanigan’s is incorrect in this usage, as are most appearances of Viszla’s.”

[Read more…]

Sloppy is as sloppy does…(Yes!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

HBR Blog Network – I Won’t Hire People Who Use Poor Grammar. Here’s Why.

…Some might call my approach to grammar extreme…I am a grammar "stickler…I have a "zero tolerance approach" to grammar mistakes that make people look stupid.…Everyone who applies for a position at either of my companies…takes a mandatory grammar test…if job hopefuls can’t distinguish between "to" and "too," their applications go into the bin.

…Good grammar is credibility, especially on the internet. In blog posts, on Facebook statuses, in e-mails, and on company websites, your words are all you have. They are a projection of you in your physical absence. And, for better or worse, people judge you if you can’t tell the difference between their, there, and they’re.

[Read more…]

Let’s play word association…

Pick which “bold, beautiful” image ties to the word (and definition below):

Leptosome: A person with a slender, thin, or frail body.
Tarantism: A disorder characterized by an uncontrollable urge to dance.
Scripturient: Possessing a violent desire to write.
Gorgonize: To have a paralyzing or mesmerizing effect on: Stupefy or petrify
Welter: A confused mass; a jumble; turmoil or confusion.
Acersecomic: A person whose hair has never been cut.
Fanfaronade: Swaggering; empty boasting; blustering manner or behavior; ostentatious display.

  


Source: See more at Unusual words rendered in bold, beautiful graphics @ explore-blog

Lay down? Or lie down?

Jon Gingerich @ Litreactor.com: 
20 Common Grammar Mistakes That (Almost) Everyone Makes:

“…I’ve edited a monthly magazine for more than six years, and it’s a job that’s come with more frustration than reward. If there’s one thing I am grateful for — and it sure isn’t the pay — it’s that my work has allowed endless time to hone my craft to Louis Skolnick levels of grammar geekery.

Below are 20 common grammar mistakes I see routinely, not only in editorial queries and submissions, but in print: in HR manuals, blogs, magazines, newspapers, trade journals, and even best selling novels. If it makes you feel any better, I’ve made each of these mistakes a hundred times, and I know some of the best authors in history have lived to see these very toadstools appear in print. Let’s hope you can learn from some of their more famous mistakes…”

[Read more…]

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