My shadow took fright at the moon and huddled between my feet.
This one is delicious.
from col– together + –loquium speaking, from loqui to speak
- A talking together; a conversation, dialogue. Also, a written dialogue.
- A meeting for conference.
- Church blah blah.
All the modern dictionaries mention that it’s specific to elevated speech/conversation. Interesting that “colloquial” is used to mean common speech.
- (of light) flash or sparkle.
‘the light was coruscating through the walls’
Early 18th century from Latin coruscat- ‘glittered’, from the verb coruscare.
NB: Never doubt my commitment to Sparkle Motion.
I liked this bit from Susan Sontag’s journals. Apparently, the LitHub post from whence this came was in violation of something, so it’s gone.
Rules for Being a Writer
from Sontag’s journals, December 3, 1961
The writer must be four people:
- The nut, the obsédé
- The moron
- The stylist
- The critic
1 supplies the material; 2 lets it come out; 3 is taste; 4 is intelligence.
A great writer has all 4—but you can still be a good writer with only 1 and 2; they’re most important.
Obsédé means the obsessed person, or the fanatic. So not nut like “poop smearing,” nut like “can’t stop looking at this thing no matter what else happens.” This is aligned with the concept of creativity in Creativity: Flow and the Psychology of Discovery and Invention:
The first [phase in the creative process] is a period of preparation, becoming immersed…in a set of problematic issues that are interesting and arouse curiosity.
Csikszentmihalyi (what a name!!) makes it clear that, while this sounds benign, truly creative individuals who have made a significant contribution to culture generally are immersed at a level that is unusual. Obsédé.
The second phase of the creative process is a period of incubation, during which ideas churn around below the threshold of consciousness…the third…is insight, sometimes called the “Aha!” moment.
The fourth component is evaluation, when the person must decide whether the insight is valuable and worth pursuing.
The fifth and last component of the process is elaboration. It is probably the one that takes up the most time and involves the hardest work.
The nut + the stylist.
NB: the featured image, which reads “Theater Square of Susan Sontag,” is from this Flickr account. It turns out that Susan Sontag “actively participated in the creation of the history of Sarajevo and Bosnia.” Who knew?!
I know I’m not the first to notice that lots of recently-authored books seem more like a verbose screenplay written in prose than a novel. This seems to especially be the case with genre books.
I recently finished the first book in an acclaimed new fantasy series, the Draconis Memoria trilogy. The Waking Fire is a super fun read in its way — engaging characters, easy language, light on the politics and heavy on the quests. Every time I read passages like this, though, I was left with a nagging feeling that I’d be better off just…seeing the show.
When it seemed it might never end, Tekela reached out a hand to Lizanne. She sat with knees drawn up and her back against the Thumper’s base, eyes closed tight and trembling arm extended. Lizanne took her hand, holding it tight, watching the girl’s lips move in an unheard prayer, or was it a song? The suspicion was confirmed when at last the final shell came slamming down and a thick wall of silence descended on the trenches, the sudden, almost shocking stillness broken only by Tekela’s song. Lizanne’s estimation of her musical talents deepened upon hearing her voice. She recognised the tune, “The Leaves of Autumn,” the Eutherian lyrics sung with a captivating sweetness at odds with the landscape that greeted their gaze.– Chp. 31
Can’t you just see the framing of this shot? Hear the over-compressed, breathy vocals? It reads to me like stage direction. It has the feeling of a scene that might provide some insight into the characters, if only I could see them. Or how about this?
Clay crouched, ready to dodge the flames, then stopped as a crack sounded from above and a large piece of the dome’s ceiling fell, tumbling straight down to deliver a glancing but heavy blow to the White before slamming onto the glass floor. Clay watched an intricate matrix of cracks spread through the glass from the point of impact, staring with an unwarranted detachment as his Green-enhanced eyes tracked the complex array of fractures until it has covered the floor from end to end.
– Chp. 45, emphasis mine
For the love of pete, Anthony Ryan literally describes the camera’s/Clay’s detached viewpoint in the middle of this fast-paced fight scene.
The book even follows the 90s action movie convention of switching between multiple separate stories/main characters that come together at the end. I’d like to say the connections were pleasing and unexpected, but I would need to use scare quotes, and I refuse to do it. I refuse, damnit.
This is not to say I didn’t enjoy the book — I actually kind of did, although I won’t be continuing to the second book in the trilogy at the moment. I mean, the fantasy-steampunk-spy mash-up is kind of worth the price of admission.
At the end of the day, I like dragons and that kind of shit enough that I kept reading, despite feeling weird that I knew that, even with my mild aphantasia (I find it EXTREMELY difficult to see images in my mind), this book managed to express to me exactly what each and every scene looked like. It did this based on movie tropes and conventions that we all love, but are probably a bit tired of at this point. Color me old-fashioned, but I’m just not into that.
The elements of Christie’s fiction are all already in place: a country house, a finite list of suspects, the outsider detective intruding into a place of order and hierarchy that has been disrupted by a crime. The world of Christie’s books is something like the ‘imaginary’ as described by Cornelius Castoriadis, a mental representation in which this orderly household stands for a whole society as a shared universe of meaning, with values and social roles encoded everywhere we look – and then, into this world comes a murder, and a detective trying to solve the murder. Something doesn’t mean what we thought it meant; someone isn’t who they appear to be; something didn’t happen the way it was said to have happened.The Case of Agatha Christie, LRB
Ezra forced himself to go to the temple, but he could not go through with the ritual. Despairing, he rent his garments and his coat, threw himself onto the ground, and cried out in agony. Finally, he uttered a prayer that was also an accusation against the people of the land, as he had come to call them, those who had stayed behind and whose habits were so horrifying to the returning exiles.The Written World: The Power of Stories to Shape People, History, Civilization
Apparently, when Ezra brought the Judeans back to Jerusalem after they’d been exiled in Babylon for a few generations, he was super upset that the Jews that were left behind in Jerusalem married and had children w/ non-Jews, and forgot to practice important religious traditions. Can you believe it?
I think that tearing your clothes (which were probably a lot harder to come by in 450 BCE) and crying out in agony is a dramatic way to react to people behaving exactly as you would expect them to. I bet he really got people’s attention though.
We have been misled by the people of the time themselves who, in looking back across the gulf of the War, see that earlier half of their lives misted over by a lovely sunset haze of peace and security. It did not seem so golden when they were in the midst of it. Their memories and their nostalgia have conditioned our view of the pre-war era but I can offer the reader a rule based on adequate research: all statements of how lovely it was in that era made by persons contemporary with it will be found to have been made after 1914.Barbara Tuchman
The ankle wallet answered a need. It spoke directly to a personal concern. It made me feel there were people out there in the world of product development and merchandising and gift cataloguing who understood the nature of my little nagging needs.Don Delillo