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.

The apostle of freedom

The apostle of freedom

Vasily Grossman sings freedom despite having lived in a time and place where it was desperately rare.  Even one of his masterpieces was arrested and...

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Chain of consequences

Chain of consequences

Grossman's novel deals with a man who returns to 'normal' life after 30 years in the gulag.  Here he shows the extent to which words have...

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Wise advice from a fool

Wise advice from a fool

Today, as well as being the 5th anniversary of WritingRedux, is also Shakespeare's birthday, one of the three reasons we launched on 23 April.  So...

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Of time and trees

Of time and trees

Saint-Exupéry shows starkly how war changes the calculus on a sixpence. Trees which have been nurtured and enjoyed for hundreds of years, slowly...

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Metaphorically speaking

More marvelous metaphors on Mondays … Monday, metaphor day.

Amber-eyed glow

Amber-eyed glow

What a beautiful pair of eyes this young man must have had, like amber with the sun treacle-gold behind.  See another example of amber glow. The...

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Phone like fungi

Phone like fungi

Somehow this simile only works with the kind of phone Golding is describing, from the 1950s.  It doesn't quite ring true with today flat-packed...

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Like a grove of nettles

Like a grove of nettles

An original way to describe a covey of great-coated soldiers packed on a boat. The passageways was crowded with the soldiers we had taken on,...

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A piercing sound

A piercing sound

A high, piercing pipe sound likened to midges harassing the air, this simile makes me think of the horrifying tsssssssss sound of a mosquito around...

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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.

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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Sky-reflecting lake

Sky-reflecting lake

From a marvelous history of a garden, the idea of lakes made by man simply to reflect the sky. Would Capability Brown have been brought in to dam...

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Spider-thick world

Spider-thick world

Despite an occasional pathetic squeamishness, I protect insects and comfortably co-habit with spiders, and like the idea of this great old tree...

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Sweet-smelling stocks

Sweet-smelling stocks

The alliterative prelude to a verbal bouquet of flowers, perfume-fanning the colour bursts of alliums, foxgloves, poppies and columbines. Sarah had...

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Buttercup-sprinkled grass

Buttercup-sprinkled grass

Buttercups have recently seeded themselves in our garden and I have learned what tenacious plants they are - their delicate sun-yellow petals belie...

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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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