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!

Speed meets beauty

Speed meets beauty

One of the most vivid and original similes I have come across is Ted Hughes' description of the two dazzling qualities of the athletic Atalanta: her...

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Lapping the summits

Lapping the summits

What an image!  The original deluge raising water levels so high that they lap over the summits like liquid blankets.  And look at that ignominious...

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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.

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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What is peace?

What is peace?

This is Saint-Exupéry's definition of peace, in which everything is in its place and friends can be reached, particularly striking when contrasted...

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What was I created for?

What was I created for?

A widely asked question, surely.  Here it is one of the key protagonists of Bronte's Shirley, the heroine Caroline.  Curiously, although the novel...

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Of hate and misery

Of hate and misery

Bronte has a sometimes arresting pithiness, and here she provides an explanation for the hatred underlying riots and machine wrecking in the early...

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Metaphorically speaking

More marvelous metaphors on Mondays … Monday, metaphor day.

Like a mouse

Like a mouse

You can see the man sawing between his teeth, the high-speed tooth-pick darting in and out like a mouse in a house with a hole. ... the seed-pearl...

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As permanent as …

As permanent as …

The meringue as a simile for impermanence, which prompts me to invent a new sweet bake, the melt in your mouth ephemeringue (you heard it...

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All for me

All for me

The writer's friend and travelling companion, Edward, is a motor man.  All things car and bus related thrill him and here he is described in...

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Like a horse’s eye

Like a horse’s eye

A lively boy's eye view of travelling in a boat and looking through a porthole.  Maxim Gorky (1868-1936) was a small child when his father died and...

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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.

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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Purple-budded seedlings

Purple-budded seedlings

A description of alders which caught my eye.  It is winter here, and I am waiting for the first sign of seedlings. Every year, they throw out...

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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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