The Most Precious Thing… Journals

In the end, we loaded our technology (computers, hard drives with all the historical pictures on them), my old Smith Corona typewriter (yes-crazy!) and we stood holding what we decided were the most precious things… our cottage journals.

We began our first journal on our first day as we moved in to this place. Our kids’ friends wrote enthusiastic missives about how beautiful everything was. Our kids wrote about their feelings, capturing with words what their hearts were beating. “Powered down. Closed up. Fits perfect.”

The words of our son as he did his first final closing at age 18.

The journals number four now and have chronicled friendships, community losses, high points, low points, activities, picnics, first fingerprints of grandchildren, celebrations, achievements, jobs, retirements, comings and goings, weddings, funerals. Our life is there.

We carried the four journals to the boat. The most precious.

We were lucky, and so many of us felt lucky as the water bombing planes extinguished the fire and summer students were planted in the forest to seek out hot spots for a week afterwards.

We felt so lucky.

And so grateful. The journals are back on the bookshelf,  fuller still after the summer of 2016.

Source: The most precious thing…: COMMUNITY SECRETS | Barrie Examiner

I’ve thought about what I’d save in case of fire too. Likely everyone has at some point. I also think about my old diaries/ journals. I haven’t looked at most of them since the day I wrote the entry. At one point, moving from one place to another (again and again), I was at the point of throwing them all out. Journals are a link to our past selves. Sometimes a burden but irreplaceable too. I deleted an online journal I kept while I was going through a divorce. I don’t remember why I deleted it then. I’ve tried to get it back a couple of times but never found anything that worked. Gone forever, irreplaceable.

A Happy Ending Isn’t Necessarily the Best Ending

I’ve always thought that for a book to be a word-of-mouth success, the reader has to turn the last page and be motivated in that moment to tell someone, “You have to read this!” But to me, that could be just as much because it inspired cathartic, body-shaking sobs as if it left me with a feeling of joyful elation. No matter what, it has to move me in some big, exciting, unusual way—and that, in itself, makes me happy.

Source: A Happy Ending Isn’t Necessarily the Best Ending

A happy ending can also be very moving, making you cry at the end of a book. I especially like endings which leave me feeling stunned, in a good way. Endings which make me think on about the story, where it might go from there. Or, what alternative endings it could have had if this or that little thing had just gone differently.

Overall, I like an ending that haunts me. There are very few. I can’t even put it into words, though I’ve tried to do so just for myself even. A haunting ending is sort of a hopelessness, things which can’t be changed. Tragic and yet not an entirely bad ending, or sad. An ending where something is lost. That seems the best way I can describe it.

Have you ever written the ending to a story, before even planning the beginning? How would that work? Try it.

National Dictionary Day

National Dictionary Day is observed annually on October 16.

National Dictionary Day was created in honor of Noah Webster’s birthday (October 16, 1758) and was set aside as a day to emphasize the importance of learning and using dictionary skills and increasing one’s vocabulary.  Webster is considered the “Father of the American Dictionary”. 

Source: National Day Calendar

Poetic Descriptions Save Space

I’ve noticed a lack of descriptions in print published fiction lately. Maybe they are already trying to write the screen/ script version of their story and expect descriptions of places and people will be covered by the set designers, costume designers and so on. The lack of descriptions is disappointing. Yet, it fits with the disposable, temporary and fast fry sort of culture we have these days.

I can remember reading descriptions I sank into, as a fiction reader. Descriptions which bloomed into an entire story, not just the background or setting for the events taking place. Characters who really had character rather than fast paced, smart-mouthed dialogue.

So, when I read this post about flash fiction I did not expect to see poetic descriptions encouraged. But, I was very glad to read it and pass along the advice.

A good, poetic description is not wordy. It’s wordful – think mindfulness for words.

Poetic Descriptions Save Space

Poetic skill is a great tool to have in your arsenal. With it, you can capture memorable moments in a few words, while simultaneously conveying deeper levels of meaning. The English language is filled with nuances and subtleties that even the best poet can’t get a handle on. Take a chance and write some poetry in your pieces.

Source: Flash Novels: The Future of Fantasy Fiction?

Write a great description. Pick something ordinary or fantastical and see if you can find the words, while avoiding long sentence length.

Words You Didn’t Know Had Opposites

A chance to learn some new words. I like the opposite of deja vu, jamais vu. When would you ever use it in conversation? But, it is interesting to know.

What’s the opposite of disgruntled? Chances are you’re thinking the answer should rightly be gruntled—but is that really a word you recognize? The problem here is that disgruntled, alongside the likes of uncouth, disheveled, distraught, inert, and intrepid, is an example of an unpaired word, namely one that looks like it should have an apparently straightforward opposite, but in practice really doesn’t.
Words like these tend to come about either when a prefixed or suffixed form of a word is adopted into the language while its root is not, or when the inflected or affixed form of a word survives, while its uninflected root form falls out of use. This was the case with disgruntled, which derives from an ancient Middle English word, gruntel, meaning “to grumble” or “complain,” which has long since fallen from use—although the gap left by disgruntled has led some dictionaries to list gruntled as a modern-day back-formation.

2. ANONYMOUS
Anonymous literally means “without a name.” Its opposite is onymous, which is typically used to refer to books, legal papers, artworks, musical compositions, and similar documents the authorship of which is known without doubt.
3. AUTOMATON
If an automaton is a machine capable of moving itself, then the opposite is called a heteromaton—a device that relies solely on external forces for movement.
4. CATASTROPHE
If a catastrophe is a sudden, unpredictable, and devastating event, then an equally sudden or unexpected event of sheer joy or good fortune is a eucatastrophe. This term was coined by Lord of the Rings author JRR Tolkien in 1944, who originally used it to describe a sudden or fortuitous event in the plot of a story that turns around the protagonist’s chances or prospects, and brings about the resolution of the narrative.
5. DÉJÀ VU
Over the years, psychologists have identified a number of different phenomena similar to déjà vu (literally “already seen” in French). Among them is presque vu (“almost seen”), the tip-of-the-tongue feeling that you’re about to remember something you’ve forgotten; déjà vécu (“already experienced”), a particularly intense form of déjà vu that makes it almost impossible to discern the present from the past; and déjà visité (“already visited”), which describes a person’s surprising foreknowledge of a place they’ve never actually been to before—like unthinkingly knowing your way around a foreign town or city while on holiday. The opposite of déjà vu, however, is usually said to be jamais vu (“never seen”): so if déjà vu describes the eerie sensation that something new has actually taken place before, in the case of jamais vu a person believes that a situation that is actually very familiar and has happened before is entirely new.
7. EUPHEMISM
If a euphemism involves the use of a politer word or phrase in place of a more distasteful or objectionable one, a dysphemism is the deliberate use of an impolite or unpleasant term in place of a perfectly inoffensive one. Dysphemism is often used for rhetorical effect, in order to shock or shake up an audience, or simply for comic effect.
10. POSTPONE
To bring a date forward in time rather than postponing it is to prepone it.

See the full list at the source: 11 Words and Phrases You Didn’t Know Had Opposites | Mental Floss

How do you Name a Woman?

Does it bother you to hear an adult man call his wife “Mother”, “MaMa” or other words similar? How about people who call themselves their pet’s “Mother”, “Daddy”, etc.?

Names are our identity/ identification. Names are how other people view us. I do think it is a bit odd when people refer to another person by their role – especially when it isn’t the role they have for the person who spoke. (Or that whole being your dog’s Mother thing, that just annoys me, personally).

My Dad used to refer to our Mom as “your Mother”. I haven’t thought of it for years. But, someone else I happened to mention it to found it very odd, they didn’t like it.

Other people don’t like hearing a husband refer to his wife as “Mother”. Does it help to think it is the short form for the Mother of his children? I’m sure that’s how it is intended but it does always sound as if he is calling his wife his Mother. What does he call his real Mother? Maybe “Grandma”?

Today in the Arab world, there is a custom still in place to not speak a woman’s name in public after she becomes a mother. In her 2011 book Gender, Sexuality, and Meaning: Linguistic Practice and Politics, linguistics professor Sally McConnell-Ginet wrote about how in some historical periods in China, women were only referred to by “relational forms,” names like “oldest sister” or “Lee’s wife,” while men were more often referred to by their individual names. These might sound odd to our modern ear, but chances are most of us have witnessed something similar in our lifetime.

Source: The Rise of ‘Mama’ : Longreads Blog

I found this, part of a long post about the use of the word “Mama”. However, the idea that a Mother loses her name was more interesting to me. When a woman marries she (still usually) changes her last name. She loses her family identity – or exchanges it for a new family identity. Then she has children and loses even her own personal identity as an individual. From then on she becomes a role, not an individual. Isn’t that like a nun too? They are referred to as “Mother Someone”, “Sister Someone”.

Without getting feminist about it, I wonder why or how our culture evolved to take away a woman’s name? It’s really interesting to think about. Not so much about laws, rights, fairness, equality, etc. But, just the fact of it.

Have you Experienced Pareidolia Today?

Pareidolia is the ability to find pictures in inanimate objects like rocks, potatoes, linens, the moon, inkblots, and anything else. Most often people will see faces but it can also be whole bodies, animals and cultural icons. You could look at dots of this and that on the wall and find an image represented in them. No one else may see it the same way you do. Overall, it’s one way to pass the time while waiting for the bus, doctor, etc.

Another form of pareidolia are sounds heard and attributed to mysterious sources, like ghosts. Some ghostly noises could be explained as our own perception of the noise/ sound.

What have you seen a face in lately? Think about the idea today and see what you notice in a different way.

The word is derived from the Greek words para, meaning something faulty, wrong, instead of, and the noun eidōlon, meaning image, form or shape. Pareidolia is a type of apophenia, which is a more generalized term for seeing patterns in random data.

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