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Category Archives: writing

Lost Word

I forgot a word meaning “collection of quotations,” and I thought it started with F, maybe. Via OneLook’s reverse dictionary, I found the following, and defined them with the OED: sottisier, n. — A collection of sottises; esp. a list of written stupidities. Also transf. and fig. cento, n. — 1. A piece of patchwork; […]

I Bet The Horses, Then I Come Back

I never type in the morning. I don’t get up in the morning. I drink at night. I try to stay in bed until twelve o’clock, that’s noon. Usually, if I have to get up earlier, I don’t feel good all day. I look, if it says twelve, then I get up and my day […]

On the Subject of Routines

When I’m in writing mode for a novel, I get up at four a.m. and work for five to six hours. In the afternoon, I run for ten kilometers or swim for fifteen hundred meters (or do both), then I read a bit and listen to some music. I go to bed at nine p.m. […]

And Handsome, This Reader Too

INTERVIEWER: Do you imagine an ideal reader for your books? BURGESS: The ideal reader of my novels is a lapsed Catholic and failed musician, short-sighted, color-blind, auditorily biased, who has read the books that I have read. He should also be about my age. INTERVIEWER: A very special reader indeed. Are you writing, then, for […]

Variations on the Horse-leech

Google Ngram comparison of “horseleech” and “horseleach”: here. And horse-leech, n., defined by the Oxford English Dictionary: Pronunciation: /ˈhɔːsliːtʃ/ Etymology: < horse n. + leech n.1 < Old English lǽce, léce, physician. 1. A horse-doctor, farrier, veterinary surgeon. 1493 in J. T. Fowler Memorials Church SS. Peter & Wilfrid, Ripon (1888) III. 165 Item Johanni […]

Hope They Get Into Your Work, Eventually

You can read Mailer or Hemingway and see—or at least I do—that what separated them from greater writers (like Chekhov, say) was a certain failing of kindness or compassion or gentleness—an interest in the little guy, i.e., the nonglamorous little guy, a willingness and ability to look at all of their characters with love. [Tobias […]

Let the Pupil Write the Description of a Tree

It is said that Flaubert taught De Maupassant to write. When De Maupassant returned from a walk Flaubert would ask him to describe someone, say a concierge whom they would both pass in their next walk, and to describe the person so that Flaubert would recognize, say, the concierge and not mistake her for some […]

Worlds of Lost Possibilities

Life is a winking light in the darkness. — I try to dig deep into the well of my subconscious. At a certain moment in that process, the lid is opened and very different ideas and visions are liberated. With those I can start making a film. But maybe it’s better that you don’t open […]

Twenty-three Monosyllabic Words for Boat

barge bark brig cog fluyt hoy hulk junk karve ketch knarr koff pink pram rig scow skiff sloop smack snaw yacht yawl yoal (and all are different)

Beauty in the Reflex Itself

Poetry and table tennis are games of reflex. They are played optimally—and play is the operative word—in the synaptic space where consciousness has no time to abstract into self-recrimination. There is no beauty in the reflex itself, there is beauty in its timing. That is, there is beauty in the relation between stimulus and reflex. […]