Two years and counting!

WritingRedux was launched in 2016 on the anniversary of Shakespeare's birth which happens to be Saint Jordi's Day in Spain, something like Valentine's day, celebrated with gifts of books and roses. That makes us two years old today, so a chance to thank...

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Beach books

We recently enjoyed a month's holiday - the longest we've ever had - to celebrate Luiz's retirement.  One of the happiest elements in packing for a trip is messing about choosing which books to take.  Here's the pile I took and read on a lovely beach in...

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Letters opening up like doors

What a wonderful description of words and letters opening up to let meaning emerge in brightness and fire. How much prose has such compelling clarity of meaning? Let's add this to our writing KPIs (key performance ink-dicators). This is from a splendid...

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Writing time and speeding clocks

Any absorbing activity has this magical effect of taking you almost outside of time, until you look at the clock and feel as if it's speeded ahead. It seemed appropriate to share this after we have put the clocks forward for summer. 'Time never passes so...

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Of time and tenses I

A fascinating insight into how we fold our perceptions of time into language, or language influences such perceptions.  It made me realise that my assumptions about time, how I engage with and experience it, may have been strongly shaped by the languages I...

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Of time and tenses II

Another angle on language and how it shapes or at least influences our perception of time.  Here Adam Nicolson discusses the anchoring of tense in many languages, while others allow things to happen in a more imprecise location in time. 'The sky is the...

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A quote to note

Drawing on thousands of sparkling, moving and inspiring quotations amassed during decades of attentive reading. These will be added in the days and months ahead, to delight the mind and spirit, take care of your gift-giving needs, and improve the world’s Powerpoint presentations beyond belief. And coming soon, in searchable form.

When God mixes with man

An uplifting depiction of a potentially winning combination? I also liked the intimacy and proximity implied here, not a distant thunderer in the heavens or up some inaccessible mountain lobbing brickbats and lightening bolts, but to his left and to his...

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Where hope begins

At first glance this posits the last place you would think to look for the beginnings of hope: where there is none. Yet, once in a while, when despair is caused by temporary sorrows, there can be a point when you know, raw and wrung out as you are, that...

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Oddly hinged

A beautiful way to remind us that all may not be as it seems. Oddly hinged is more interested than 'unhinged' as it allows some latency for the unexpected, some room for the numinous to astound us, or for us to astound ourselves, some space to be more...

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A visitation from a minor god

The past is a place which enriches me in almost all I do, and I love travelling there as much as I love travelling abroad.  As Henry Miller said, it 'fructifies the present', and I see history as a vertical version of geography - a place you can visit and...

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Metaphorically speaking

More marvelous metaphors on Mondays … Monday, metaphor day.

All the doors of Israel

It's now a month since I read this book and I still have a burning impression of dazzling light and heat. Here the sun is stalking the Israelites like a lion. The sun came out of the desert like a lion and beat at all the doors of Israel.  See also his...

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See me, pity me

Simeon is one of the strongest, most dynamic characters in this vibrantly retold story of Christ's life.  He is Jesus' uncle and the rabbi of Nazareth, and is hanging on to life by sheer force of will because God has told him he will see the Messiah before...

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Stars as pearls

Strings of star-pearls draped around a beauteously bejewelled night! 'The stars were strings of pearls around the neck and arms of the night.' For another pearly metaphor, see this from Virginia Woolf's Orlando.   Source: Nikos Kazantzakis, The Last Temptation, trans....

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Yeast needed

Liked this way of portraying a skinny, hollowed out man - made without leaven, flat as a pancake. 'A hairless, cross-eyed man with a sharp skinny snout jumped up. He looked as though someone had forgotten to add the yeast when he was kneaded.'   Source:...

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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.

Freshly-bathed earth

The freshness after rain which Rumi uses as a metaphor for spiritual enlightenment, is here presented as a source of earth's gratitude towards rain-giving heaven.  Particularly in this parched Biblical land. 'Day was breaking. The clouds had scattered; the satiated...

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Desert-roughened voice

This refers to Salome (not that Salome), the upright, powerful wife of Zebedee, whose anger terrifies her son because it embodies the entire and obstinate race of Israel. Salome, elderly woman as she is, is the one with the most courage and integrity. 'Every time she...

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Black-soiled Samaria

Kazantzakis' vibrant re-creation of Biblical lands and times includes earth-colour mapping of different regions. I liked the contrast of red-soiled Galilee and black-soiled Samaria. 'Leaving the red soil of Galilee behind them, they entered black-soiled Samaria.'  ...

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Low-gliding and pale-beaming

We are early enough in the year for the sun to still be 'low-gliding' in the sky and 'pale-beaming' in the evenings, but its arc is rising in  trajectory and time. The daily occurrence and subtle shifts observed over weeks and months are both sources of charm. 'The...

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Close-set bars

The undertow of Jane Eyre is the prising apart of, and escape from, close-set bars: intellectual, spiritual, emotional, social, the lot.  Freedom to think, feel, speak and love. See also 'spike-guarded walls' and a compelling quotation from the same book on ensnaring...

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Marrow-freezing

Jane Eyre, first as a child and later as a woman, is subjected to a number of 'marrow-freezing incidents' some of which can cause a chill of remembrance which never leaves her. Yet none manages to oppress her spirit and liveliness. 'A dream had scarcely approached my...

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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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Nuannaarpoq

Can a word change a life? This Eskimo word changed mine and made me curious about a people who could create such a word. I've spent the last quarter of a century turning it over in my mind like a gleaming pebble in the palm of the hand, pondering what I could build...

Quviannikumut

A glorious Eskimo word for feeling deeply happy - I wish you many moments of quviannikumut. 'Sitting high on a sea cliff in sunny, blustery weather in late June – the familiar sense of expansiveness, of deep exhilaration such weather brings over one, combined with the...

Isumataq

Barry Lopez' masterful Arctic Dreams gave me an inkling of a richly philosophical seam in the Eskimo language. If you sit down and watch, read or listen to the news, you may despair at the apparent absence of anything resembling an isumataq in the upper echelons of...

Quinuituq

Good things come to those who wait? This Eskimo word evokes a quality that purveyors of instant gratification wouldn't like, a kind of deep patience in allowing long-awaited events to materialize. 'The long wait at a seal hole for prey to surface. Waiting for a lead...

Oomingmannuna

How could I resist this word, magical in its rounded sounds, even if its meaning may not give most of us much pretext to make regular use of it: ‘where the muskoxen have their country’. Say it three times in quick succession, whether or not there are muskoxen nearby....

Perlerorneq

May you be ever spared this suffocating, madness-inducing winter depression.  Lopez describes the misery or insanity it can bring on, and the compassion often shown to those who succumb to it.  It seems a product of endless cold and darkness, but it has an...

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