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Cast your eyes on the ocean
Cast your soul to the sea
When the dark night seems endless
Please remember me.

Friday, December 16, 2005

The War of the Wren

I’ve been ruminating about this so called “War on Christmas” and how so much of it is a McGuffin to get the proles all riled up and distract them from the real issues. It was while I was thinking about the Older/Traditional/True meaning of Xmas and remembering stories of earlier times when I recalled that in the Middle Ages, at winter’s tide (solstice), it was common for the hunters to go out and kill small birds to crown the local kings with. The wren, in England, was a favorite as the wren was the “king of birds.” So men would tromp through the cold and weather to gather enough wrens and other small birds to create a panoply winged beings to decorate the throne and the king himself. What a great image that is. Cold stone hall, gilded throne and back drop with a crown of birds, and birds hung from string in flight around the throne, the glint of a gilded back drop shining through the smoke haze and candle sputterings.

Oh, and for those of you who object to the “Xmas”, here’s the history lesson. “X”, or “chi” in the Greek, is the letter of the Christ. Xmas is perfectly legitimate shorthand and isn’t disrespectful. In fact, it is truer than the long term Christmas in symbology. While “XR” or “chi rho” is also used, “chi” is the most accepted version.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Story Bone

“The taste of cashews reminds me of Christmas.” When I was growing up we had this candy dish that was ceramic holly leaves formed into a sleigh with runners. Every Christmas it would be filled with cashews by my mother or my grandparents. I remember the look of the dregs of the cashews in the deep green, a fine dust of brown cashew parts and the remnant salt that sloughed off.

Wednesday, December 7, 2005

Assigment Update

Well, as was pointed out to me, I messed up. For my assignment paragraph I reused the words "to" and "fully." Well, time for a rewrite.

"Late night train whistle swirls snowflakes trapped by its blast. Paul wakes partially from deep sleep, nestled in dark downy comfort. “There is no railway past town,” memory tells. He comes fully awake after a second, closer sounding. Time’s hollow echo rings through another nearer blow. Sleety snow begins plinking windows with rhythmical rat-tick-tapping to come inside as the ghost locomotive thunders on, running down phantom tracks."

I brought up the point in class that this is an excellent exercise on the importance of rewriting. Just try the exercise, you'll have to rewrite that paragraph to make it work. My guess is that you'll have to rewrite it many times. That is the writing process. While some authors may have the blessings of angels that they can write pristine copy the first time, most of us have sinned and fall short of that grace. Rewrite is your friend. Visit your friend often.

Tuesday, December 6, 2005

Assignment 12-06-05

Well, tonight is my writer's group meeting. Every other week our leader gives an assignment, something usually short. This week's task is to write a six-sentence paragraph that has no re-used words. Here's mine for tonight, I used the train bone from earlier.

"Late night train whistle swirls snowflakes trapped by its blast. Paul wakes partially from deep sleep, nestled in dark downy comfort. “There is no railway through town,” memory tells. He comes fully awake after a second, closer sounding. Another nearer blow brings him fully conscious to hear time’s hollow echo. Sleety snow begins plinking windows with rhythmical rat-tick-tapping to come inside as the ghost locomotive thunders on, running down phantom tracks."

Everything but the “Oink!”

It’s said (and it is very true) that we process everything from a pig except the “Oink.” Well, there has to be some value in the oink, and someway to capture it. How would you do that (bottle, distill, cardboard box, blister pack) and what would you sell it for (both remuneration and destination)?