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!

Fine feline quotes

Fine feline quotes

Adding another in our series of themed selections, we have purrduced a page of illustrated quotations celebrating cats.  We will add more as they...

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A private anthology

A private anthology

Although this is a public domain website, it is also a 'private anthology', and wonderful will be the day when I have committed to memory more than...

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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.

Intimations of radiance

Intimations of radiance

Listening time: 3 minutes.An intricate description of the effect an ancient temple can work on the spirit - a falling away of complication and...

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The past as precious

The past as precious

The opening lines of a less well known novel, Mary Webb's engaging Precious Bane.  She opens her foreword with a defence of the mute and invisible...

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And I shall teach the boy

And I shall teach the boy

Listening time: under 4 minutes.The Countess of Gormenghast ponders her personal curriculum for her newborn son Titus, soon after despatching him to...

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Meet the Barone

Meet the Barone

Listening time: under 4 minutes. Casting back across the sweep of history, there is only a handful of creatures, human and otherwise, whom I regret...

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Metaphorically speaking

More marvelous metaphors on Mondays … Monday, metaphor day.

Mineral metaphor

Mineral metaphor

Saint-Exupery takes your breath away with the originality of his metaphors.  That peace is greater than the sum of its parts is one thing, but to...

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As fabulous as …

As fabulous as …

A marvelously original simile for 'fabulous', found in this slim, exquisitely written book by Saint-Exupery.  Something resonant in that phrase, the...

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A dam snake

A dam snake

Infrastructure likened to a curling serpent, whereas most serpentine similes I've seen have been speed-related.  See Tarka the Otter, Christopher...

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As ancient as …

As ancient as …

As a simile for 'ancient' you could use a range of places and races, but here the intoning of the prayer makes 'Jewish' particularly appropriate. ...

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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.

Marrow-meltingly sweet

Marrow-meltingly sweet

Wish you as many doses of such sweetness as you need.  And what a stark contrast to another marrow-related triologism, from Jane Eyre. How sweet it...

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Ink-blue water

Ink-blue water

As the logos on this website testify, I'm an ink-geek, and love inky similes.  Here is another one, about the sky rather than the sea.  A small...

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Hare-bell sea

Hare-bell sea

A lyrical description of the Greek island of Thera, bursting with flowers and trees, and all sloping down to a soft lilac-tinged blue sea. But there...

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Brandy-ball eyes

Brandy-ball eyes

I like the 'brandy-ball' amber of this clever chap's gaze, and his space-butting arrangements.  Enjoy another rather original description of a...

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Bee-buzzing hours

Bee-buzzing hours

Golding discovers ancient graffitti carved in the rocks of a Greek island, by long gone lovers.  Wishing you, as we move into late summer, many...

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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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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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