Dive in, splash around, skim and dip and spout about the latest quotations, metaphors, words and, of course, triologisms. You’ll feel better for it!

A letter in the dark

A letter in the dark

A desperate and yet hopeful act, this.  People throwing letters out of trains taking them to the gulag, trusting that those letters may be found,...

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A quote to note

Drawing on thousands of sparkling, moving and inspiring quotations amassed during decades of attentive reading. To delight your mind and spirit and improve your presentations beyond belief.

Silence or story?

Silence or story?

Ivan is the protagonist of Grossman's novel Everything Flows, apparently modelled on his brother in law.  This is an account of a man who spent...

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A country or a farm

A country or a farm

A profound distinction, in my view, between a sum of parts and a sum of gifts.  And does this just apply to a country or a farm?   Perhaps you could...

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Of freedom

Of freedom

Ever to the point, Saint-Exupery saw sharply to the heart of things.  This comment resonates with me after having observed (and been subjected to)...

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What is war?

What is war?

Saint-Exupery wrote a slim, subtle stream-of-consciousness account of a futile aerial reconnaissance flight over enemy occupied territory which he...

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Metaphorically speaking

More marvelous metaphors on Mondays … Monday, metaphor day.

Sitting pigeons

Sitting pigeons

You can see these pigeons plumply decorating the trees - we have wood pigeons who bill and coo in the branches, and indeed, they bring a soothing...

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Over-qualified

Over-qualified

A simile for someone being over-qualified for a given task.  From Nicolson's enchanting book about Sissinghurst.      It was like having the...

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As an apple fits a dumpling

As an apple fits a dumpling

A beautiful simile for something fitting perfectly into a circular space.  In this case, the something is a someone, the marvelous Mij, an otter...

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Late for school

Late for school

A delightful simile for a late-landing spring, that of a boy running to school.   It also reminds me of another description of a delayed spring...

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Triologisms

Bringing you pithy, evocative imagery in the form of three-legged microcosms of meaning. Updated on Tuesdays … Tuesday, triologism day!  You’ll never see this day of the week in the same way again.

Heart-drenching beauty

Heart-drenching beauty

From Nicolson's superb book on Sissinghurst and his family's relationship with it, including its transition to more public ownership.  He raises a...

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Time-shrinking phrase

Time-shrinking phrase

A striking triologism for a phrase which arrests and compresses time, as indeed, Heaney's does.  '... monsters that stalk the night, in Seamus...

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Ink-stained sky

Ink-stained sky

Yesterday a storm-front passed towards the lake (Léman) and France, and from our window, we saw its 'ink-stained sky'. The new town spreads and...

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Mist-mired horizontality

Mist-mired horizontality

A surprising dimension to flat lands in winter - that they appear all the more horizontal when swathed in mist. Also like that alliterative...

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Sky-cracking chiaroscuro

Sky-cracking chiaroscuro

We've had a few rain-dousing days of storminess, and yesterday evening I enjoyed a sky-show of shifting banks of chiaroscuro cloud and light, as...

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Sun-darkening arrows

Sun-darkening arrows

Describing the shower of arrows at Thermopylae falling so thick and fast that they blot out the sun's light.  Leonidas, the Spartan king, fell with...

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Words

Sharing words that sparkle, appeal, intrigue or otherwise grab me, including in other languages. And adoring alliteration, words are added on Wednesdays… Wednesday, word day. See you back here then.

Lauzengier

Lauzengier

Lauzengier (also 'lauzenger') appears in the songs of French troubadours.  An old Occitan word but surely one which it may be timely to pluck from...

Gulch it down

Gulch it down

Mervyn Peake uses Rabelaisian vocabulary to describe the gargantuan appetites and appearance of Swelter, the castle cook in his Gormenghast trilogy....

Mummarella

Mummarella

You would know the 'true' octopus if you saw it, wouldn't you? Reading a book about Mediterranean seafood, Luiz learned that according to an...

Ullage of sunflower

Ullage of sunflower

Something about this word that you can roll around the mouth like a good swig of wine or cognac, the removal of which would result in its ullage in...

Cragfast

Cragfast

Stuck?  In a tight corner?  No going forward ... or back?  Call yourself Cragfast. A sheep cornered on a crag, to starve in the absence of rescue....

Gummocks

Gummocks

This glorious word being no longer current, I invite you to revive it the next time someone does something daft or useless. Perhaps combine it...

I find it moving that no literary text is utterly original, no literary text is completely unique, that it stems from previous texts, built on quotations and misquotations, on the vocabularies fashioned by others and transformed through imagination and use.  Writers must find consolation in the fact that there is no very first story and no last one.  Our literature reaches further back than the beginnings of our memory permits us, and further into the future than our imagination allows us to conceive, but that must be the only barrier.  

Source: Alberto Manguel, The City of Words, CBC Massey Lecture Series (Toronto: Anansi Press, 2007), p. 139

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