Frown Circles

Berry Oreos

Berry Oreos
Seem like a tasty notion.
This is not the case.

 

I like different flavored Oreos (mint, chocolate, peanut butter – they’re all great).  Raspberry and chocolate together are kind of fantastic.  So a raspberry oreo seems like a winning combination, right?

Nabisco disagrees.  Instead, they figure a hypersweet powdery paste of Trix and Cap’n Crunch berries between Oreo wafers would be a better idea.

It is not.  Just so you know.

 

Bene edite.

¡FOURTEEN!

New Year

Did last year seem to blast by a little too quickly for anyone else?

I wrote The Amber Ring in 2012, and it is now 2014 – this realization makes me feel…less productive than I should like.  I suppose I did write a screenplay last year, but it still needs another couple rounds of revisions before it could be considered finished.

I’m not really one for resolutions; they’re prone to be a source of either stress or disappointment (or, more likely, both).  But perhaps there’s little harm in simply naming a few things I’d like to accomplish this year.  That way, they’re out there, so I’ll feel properly shamed if I don’t live up to the task, but not so burdened with self-loathing as I would were I to say with definitive ardor that they will be done.

Et sic,

  • I won’t delude myself into thinking I’ll finish the book I started in early 2011, but it’d be nice to make another huge dent in it.
  • I need to complete work on the aforementioned screenplay, and write another – particularly considering they’re already paid for.  I’d also like to see production start in earnest on one of them, but that’s not really under my control.  (>^-‘)>
  • Doing another novella would be fun.  I have a handful of concepts itching at my mind, but I need to focus on one of them and flesh it out.
  • Maybe write a short story in verse, or compile a collection of silly poetry in the vein of Shel Silverstein.  Nothing I can realistically expect interest in, but endeavors that would nonetheless appeal to me for their own sake.
  • Providing more interesting content for Writin’ Fish would be good, so long as I find the time and ideas (and don’t draw the ire of the slog).

 

There you have it, then.  I’d be happy to cross even one or two of these off, really.  So we’ll see what happens.

Here’s hoping for a productive and enjoyable year for everyone!

 

Bene scribete.

Wednesday Writing Word: Epistrophe

Epistrophe

/ɛˈpɪstrəfi/  |  eh-PISS-truh-fee

 

Epistrophe is the repetition of a word or phrase at the end of consecutive sentences or clauses (basically the converse of anaphora).  Like its counterpart, it is mostly used for emphasis through poetic redundancy.

 

Examples:

  • The slog is the worst, its face is the worst, and its mere existence is the worst.
  • Stop writing, and you lose.  Stop editing, and they lose.  Humor the slog, and we all lose.
  • I’d slay the slog with pleasure, then dump its remains with pleasure, so I could finally write – with pleasure!

 

Epistrophe.  Use it.

 

Bene scribete.

Wednesday Writing Word: Metonym

Metonym

/ˈmɛtənɪm/  |  MET-uh-nim

 

Metonymy is the metaphorical referral to something by the name of something closely related to it.  Typically used for poetic symbolism, it’s more often seen in established examples than it is in unique cases.  For my fellow Game of Thrones fans, “The Iron Throne” is an often-used metonym for the rulership of Westeros.

 

Other examples:

  • The slog can drive a writer to the bottle.  [Referring to drinking alcoholic beverages]
  • Lo slog, das slogel slog – in any tongue the slog is still the slog.  [Referring to a language]

 

Metonymy.  Use it.

 

Bene scribete.
 


 

(Want to win a free signed copy of The Amber Ring? Check the link for details. Only a few days left, and no entrants yet, so your odds are sitting at 100%!)

 

Lion-Eating Poet in the Stone Den

A police cop

“Police police police police police police police.”
– Police

 

Oh, homonyms and homophones.  They let us construct statements such as the above (which, while a ridiculous thing to say, is a perfectly valid English sentence that could be rephrased as “Cops that are regulated by other officers regulate cops that are also regulated by other officers.”).  If you want some extra-specific vocabulary, the noun ‘police’ and the verb ‘police’ are polysemes.

Maybe it’s just me, but I find something inherently humorous about legitimately using the same word (and to a lesser extent, letter) too many times in a row.  You can almost feel the language glaring hatefully at you, like a cop (that may or may not be regulated by other cops) watching a criminal get away on a technicality.

One popular example used to demonstrate the importance of punctuation goes something like “John while I had had had had had had had had had had had proper grammatical structure.”  When we add some orthographic organization, this string of madness actually makes sense – “John, while I had had ‘had’, had had ‘had had’; ‘had had’ had had proper grammatical structure.”

Perhaps the craziest exercise in homophony, however, is the Chinese ‘poem’/riddle by linguist Yuen Ren Chao entitled 施氏食獅史 (usually called “Lion-Eating Poet in the Stone Den” in English).

In its written form, it’s understandable enough (if you know Chinese, anyway):

石室詩士施氏,嗜獅,誓食十獅。
氏時時適市視獅。
十時,適十獅適市。
是時,適施氏適市。
氏視是十獅,恃矢勢,使是十獅逝世。
氏拾是十獅屍,適石室。
石室濕,氏使侍拭石室。
石室拭,氏始試食是十獅。
食時,始識是十獅屍,實十石獅屍。
試釋是事。

 

It translates to something like:

In a stone den was a poet called Shi, who was a lion addict, and had resolved to eat ten lions.
He often went to the market to look for lions.
At ten o’clock, ten lions had just arrived at the market.
At that time, Shi had just arrived at the market.
He saw those ten lions, and using his trusty arrows, caused the ten lions to die.
He brought the corpses of the ten lions to the stone den.
The stone den was damp. He asked his servants to wipe it.
After the stone den was wiped, he tried to eat those ten lions.
When he ate, he realized that these ten lions were in fact ten stone lion corpses.
Try to explain this matter.

 

But, when read aloud in (or transliterated from) Mandarin, it becomes practically incomprehensible:

Shíshì shīshì Shī Shì, shì shī, shì shí shí shī.
Shì shíshí shì shì shì shī.
Shí shí, shì shí shī shì shì.
Shì shí, shì Shī Shì shì shì.
Shì shì shì shí shī, shì shǐ shì, shǐ shì shí shī shìshì.
Shì shí shì shí shī shī, shì shíshì.
Shíshì shī, Shì shǐ shì shì shíshì.
Shíshì shì, Shì shǐ shì shí shì shí shī.
Shí shí, shǐ shí shì shí shī shī, shí shí shí shī shī.
Shì shì shì shì.

 

It’s not perfectly homophonic because of tonal distinctions, but still.  (>^-‘)>  There’s a bit more variation when spoken in the other dialects that use the Chinese ideography (like Cantonese or Taiwanese), but either way, it’s really only followable in writing.

 

Languages are generally engineered to be as clear as possible, and where they fall short of that goal is something a writer should keep in mind – plus, abusing those problem areas can produce some entertaining results!

 

Bene scribete.

Elephants?

Lacking the state of mind required to do a thoughtful post, I shall now write a stupid poem about elephants.

 

It's an elephant

 

Elephants are big, they say.
They’re bigger than your face.
They’re smaller than a planet, though,
And can’t survive in space.

Elephants are grey, they say.
They’re whiter than the night.
Yet blacker than the falling snow,
And nowhere near as bright.

Elephants are tough, they say.
They’re tougher than a fly.
Unless that fly is huge, you know,
And equally as sly.

Elephants are shrewd, they say.
They never do forget.
If that is true, then I should go
Before these words upset.

 

Have a happy new year, everyone!

 

Bene scribete.

Mythological Limerick Round-Up

Thanks to all who participated in this last week’s poetry…thing!  Hopefully it was mildly entertaining.

There were some fun contributions.  If I have to pick a winner (which, according to myself, I do), it is this one, by Linda Colman:

 

Unicorn

A unicorn born to a mare
Sought solace in a punnett square:
“My horn though impressive
Is clearly recessive –
Not wrought for Celebrity’s glare.”

 

Nice use of catalectic amphibrachic paired with the acatalexis of the short lines!  And an extra point for using an open en dash.  (>^-‘)>  I see you’re on Google+, so I’ll hit you up there for the prize.

 

In other news, I’ve finally finished a presentable draft of The Book’s ninth chapter.  Before moving on to the next one, I think I’ll take a brief (…optimistically) intermission to work on a short story idea that’s been bouncing around in my head for a while, pestering me to get written.

 

Bene scribete.