Another long letter

Those were the days when conversations at a distance had to be committed to paper, and I like Bronte's preparation for writing a long letter on the grounds that the addressee's own letter caught her interest. Along with one of my brothers, I am on a...

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A thousand days young

Of course, it's just a number, but a nice round one that adds another digit to the days since WritingRedux was launched. A chance to thank readers and subscribers who continue to visit in steadily growing numbers. Please feel free to send any comments or...

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The pleasure of paper post

One of the greatest pleasures of Christmas, for me anyhow, is the sending and receiving of cards, one of the few genres of paper post that still seem to hold their own.  This year I was late writing them as we returned from a long trip just before the holiday season -...

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The last and the first

Hand written cards and letters are part of an ancient but rapidly dying art, hardly helped by the high ratio of people who like or love receiving them to people who find the place, paper, pen and postage to write them.  I mourn this demise while...

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A wilderness of books

This vast languishing resource was first brought home to me in Erik Reinert's How Rich Countries Got Rich ... and Why Poor Countries Stay Poor, which highlighted a lemming-level of group-think compounded by ignorance of an entire 'other canon' of economic...

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Wild pen

One of the foundation stones of building a new website is the choice of fonts.  As with colour selection, I look for a double whammy: a font (or colour) that has the visual impact echoing the character of the site, and a name to match.  Choosing for...

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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.

Do what a hero must

Naturally, any would-be hero or heroine needs to set sail, or how are they to prove their worth? Clive James, from whose splendid translation this and other nearby quotations come, remarks on Dante's economy of phrasing, and this is one example.  Lapidary...

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A fair request

In an age where you are expected to shout, tweet, bluster and generally blather about everything you do, it is heartening to read Virgil's pithy injunction that reasonable requests should be responded to by silent action.  "The answer to a fairRequest...

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Joys unsung and untold

At winter's advent, a reminder of its beauty and magic.  May you be safe and warm within the stronghold. For another fine description of its harshness and splendour, see James Rebanks. ‘This is winter,’ he declaimed. ‘Winter’s stronghold.  But winter...

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Where gannets swoop and rise

In the countdown to a major gift-giving season, I liked this ancient reference to a human presents. May you give and receive gifts in a spirit of open-hearted affection, bringing real pleasure all round. And if you celebrate it, have a wonderful Christmas,...

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Metaphorically speaking

More marvelous metaphors on Mondays … Monday, metaphor day.

This is the world

Keats was one of the most life-loving people you could hope to meet, grasping with all his force every chance of happiness, even evanescent, and despite being repeatedly assaulted by unforgiving 'Circumstances'.  He looks life's fragility in the eye...

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As cold as …

A letter from Keats to his beloved Fanny, with a kindly injunction to wrap up warmly.  I loved the solicitude and the bracingly original simile for a chill wind.'You will be as cold as a topsail in a north latitude – I advise you to furl yourself.'...

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A sky of rags

A marvelous view of a heavily clouded sky; you can imagine vast firmament rags being saturated with water by a giant hand, before being crumple-stuffed into the welkin.'... and above the blurred outline of the Twisted Woods the sky was choked with crumpled...

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Fuchsia and ruby

A gift from the eccentric but kind-hearted and protective physician to the young daughter of the Earl and Countess of Gormenghast, slightly neglected by her parents for being but a girl, and having a certain shyness and feistiness.A striking description...

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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.

Wasps quick-bending

One of the many stretch metaphors used by Homer. When you see a comma followed by 'as ...' it can be a signal to take a good intake of breath to carry you through to the end of the image. Here it is feisty bees and quick-bending wasps who convey the...

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Sweet-running river

Flowing like the sweet-running river it evokes, a meandering metaphor for Hector's strength and movement, likened to a thoroughbred horse breaking free and seeking out its remembered watering spots and pastures.  Other riverine triologisms include:...

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Dark-named destiny

Another term for death, the fate of Asios who, horse-proud, insisted on driving his chariot into the fray where he met a Trojan spear.  'Before this the dark-named destiny had shrouded about himthrough the spear of Idomeneus, proud son of...

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High-hearted Trojans

A curious triologism, suggesting courage, felicity, or nobility?  Given the Greeks beating at the gates, it's unlikely to be about felicity, so I plump for bravery or similar. 'Nor did Hektor either permit the high-hearted Trojansto sleep, but had called...

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Blank-eyed face

A shield features a terrifying Gorgon's head to project fear and dread onto any assailant.  Elsewhere, that same blank-eyed stare is attributed to the Trojan hero Hector in murderous mode. 'And circled in the midst of all was the blank-eyed face of the...

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The walls and towers of Troy

Three triologisms demonstrating the strength of the protective masonry encasing Troy; the first being in the mouth of Agamemnon, chief among the Greek kings at Troy.  As we know, in the end, the walls came tumbling down not by being breached or broken but...

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Words

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

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Endzweck

I came across this German word in a documentary about Bach narrated by the conductor John Eliot Gardiner, author of the door-stopper Bach: Music in the Castle of Heaven.  He translated it as 'ultimate' or 'artistic goal', something of an over-arching...

Glidder

'It was low tide, and the water ran below glidders, or steep muddy slopes.' Williamson has a helpful habit of using unusual words and then immediately providing his definition of them.  Here he defines 'glidder' as a steep muddy slope, which differs a...

Yarr

'Deadlock yarred through his bare teeth.' 'Between his teeth the hound yarred...' A word now apparently limited to dialect, but feel free to revive it more generally.  If anyone snarls or growls at you, you can tell them to 'Stop yarring'. Deadlock is a...

Glidden

'... to where the banks were glidden into mud smothered by the sea.' An English dialect word meaning to 'glaze over' or cover with ice. Source: Henry Williamson, Tarka the Otter: His joyful water-life and death in the two rivers, illus. C.F. Tunnicliffe...

Mazzard

'... under the mazzard orchards growing on the northern slope of the valley.' According to the OED, mazzard is a 'small, dark, sweet cherry of Devon origin', the fruit or tree of a wild cherry, Prunus avium. It sounds perfect for making the Hungarian sour...

Croodle

'Where pigeons sat and croodled.' A cooing cosy word for a bird, but also meaning to snuggle up, nestle in, cuddle or crouch, for love or warmth. Source: Henry Williamson, Tarka the Otter: His joyful water-life and death in the two rivers, illus. C.F....

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