Category: Writing

Thoughts after finishing 'Moby-Dick'

Thoughts after finishing 'Moby-Dick'
Whew. I’ve finished reading Herman Melville’s novel, “Moby-Dick,” and survived. It’s been only a few minutes as I start writing this. I’m exhilarated, and not just from being able to add it to my “Books Finished” list for this year. (It’s no. 14, by the way.) The whole book seemed to build up to the last... Read more »

Another meeting in my imagination's Writers' Room: Senses and fiction

Another meeting in my imagination's Writers' Room: Senses and fiction
In the Writers’ Room  of my imagination, it’s time for another meeting of the committee  of great writers who have been “advising” me about my novel-in-progress. (If you’re not up to date with “transcripts” of previous meetings, catch up at the highlighted links.) This time, I set the agenda myself: I wanted to know about whether... Read more »

'Moby-Dick' - It's a coffee pot, Mr. Starbuck

'Moby-Dick' - It's a coffee pot, Mr. Starbuck
As I continue to read “Moby-Dick,” I’ve found references to the sailors’ drinking habits at last. I found the following in Chapter 81, “The Pequod Meets the Virgin” (a German ship): “‘What has he in his hand there?’ cried Starbuck, pointing to something wavingly held by the German. ‘Impossible! — a lamp-feeder!’     “‘Not... Read more »
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'There's a Word for it' -- logomania

'There's a Word for it' -- logomania
I’ve found some wonderful books in the Little Library boxes that decorate my neighborhood — the red one behind the nearest school, the one that looks like a gingerbread house outside the bakery, and the psychedelically painted one on the way to my alternate bus stop. The idea of these little “book immobiles” (as opposed... Read more »

'Moby-Dick' -- How'd the book get so big?

'Moby-Dick' -- How'd the book get so big?
When he was writing Chapter 63 of “Moby-Dick,” out of 135 chapters, Herman Melville must have had a bad time. Either that, or he didn’t want readers to grow faint. Chapter 63 begins: “Out of the trunk, the branches grow; out of them, the twigs. So, in productive subjects, grow the chapters.” So they do,... Read more »

It's happened: I'm typing 20 first in years

It's happened: I'm typing 20 first in years
I’ve had a lot of typing to do in recent days, all concerning things that happened well over 19 years ago. I’ve caught myself making a change I thought I’d never make. When I try to type a year, I reach automatically for the “20” first, not the “19.” I’ve observed this only in the... Read more »
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'Moby-Dick': Ahoy there, Mr. Starbuck!

'Moby-Dick': Ahoy there, Mr. Starbuck!
“There, there, give it to him!” whispered Mr. Starbuck in chapter 58 of “Moby-Dick,” which I read on Monday night. But it wasn’t a cup of coffee that was given to a person — it was a harpoon given to a whale. (Not the whale, but the first up-close whale encountered in the book.) Fifty-eight... Read more »

Walking in sunshine: Love, winter and Alexander McCall Smith

Walking in sunshine: Love, winter and Alexander McCall Smith
One of the joys of the books of Alexander McCall Smith is their quirky titles: In just one series, named after its first book “The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency,” Smith has additional titles ranging from “Tears of the Giraffe” to “The Full Cupboard of Life” and a place I wish I could visit, “The... Read more »

Beware the Imp of Autocorrect

Beware the Imp of Autocorrect
Sorry I’ve been away for a while. Apart from having to be busy with other things, I’ve written a couple of things that ran aground. It’s not that you wouldn’t have liked them — I didn’t, so I didn’t let them out. Maybe later. I discovered part of the reason I was having trouble with... Read more »
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The New Year's resolutions that worked

The New Year's resolutions that worked
I haven’t made new resolutions for 2018. This is the story of why, or at least how, two resolutions — count ’em, two — have worked for me and lasted for decades. (Don’t count how many decades.) For Christmas when I was in sixth grade, I got a “day-by-day” book from my parents. It was... Read more »