The Sound of Silence

I have a very clear memory of learning about long vowels and the silent letters that often accompany them. I was in first grade, and writing in my class journal. I wanted to spell “made” and thought “Okay, I’ve got an M sound and an A sound and a D sound,” but when I tried to spell that out, it came out “mad,” which I knew wasn’t right. Fortunately, that was the day my teacher introduced long vowels. (Nice timing, Miss O’Neil!)

So I was really intrigued by this video, which demonstrates the part that silent letters play in languages like English, French, and Danish.

Language is so fascinating. As someone who has a hard time learning foreign languages, I was really interested to see their use of silent letters as well.

Click through for more information about the Silenc project.

(via The Dish)

To Thine Own Self Be True

ophelia200x200A personality quiz based on Shakespeare characters? Just what Friday ordered!

I got Ophelia and although they don’t give any reasoning for this result, I’m going to assume this means that I’m really trying to hold it together surrounded by a lot of evil and crazy. And I like flowers.

In case you want even more Shakespeare, tonight PBS airs Shakespeare Uncovered, which explores some of Shakespeare’s most famous plays, including Hamlet, Twelfth Night, and The Tempest. And heads up, Whovians–there’s an episode in which David Tennant talks about Hamlet.

Quote of the Day

I am not interested in the ephemeral…I am interested in those things that repeat and repeat and repeat in the lives of the millions.–Thornton Wilder, The New York Times (6 November 1961)

As you may have gathered, Thornton Wilder is a new favorite writer. I recently saw a gorgeous production of Our Town (and spent the evening crying about how beautiful and fleeting life is). Walt gave me a copy of the play for Christmas and I finished reading it over the weekend–so good.

Like in the quote above, Our Town deals with the very ordinary daily activities that are deeply meaningful and connect humans across time. I feel like this is something I want to keep in mind in my own writing–what is lasting? What is eternal? What touches all of us at our most basic human level?

‘Tis a Gift to be Simple (or a Magic Gazebo)

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This monkey is ready to help.

Need some hints as to what to get (or not get) the writer in your life for the holidays? Chuck Wendig has a few suggestions. Two things I’m adding to my wish list:

6. A HELPER MONKEY
You know how often I could use the help of a charming little helper monkey? Uhh, like, always. “Hey, Admiral Monkeyshines, hand me my coffee. And my iPad. And can you scratch my back? No, not there. Over. Over. Left. Now up. Now down. Perfect…

13. NEIL GAIMAN’S MAGIC GAZEBO
Speaking of one’s own rooms and territorial bubbles, you could just steal Neil Gaiman’s magic penmonkey gazebo. I like to believe that it is Gaiman’s creative womb — the light-side equivalent of that evil black lacquered egg that Darth Vader hibernates in. I suspect that, whenever he takes a journey into story-land, the gazebo literally leaves this earth and penetrates the dimensional fontanelle and takes Gaiman to magical far-off-lands.

What if you had a helper monkey in Neil Gaiman’s gazebo??? Best idea ever, right? And usually I find monkeys distrustful, but I’m pretty sure this monkey would have a glimmer of wisdom (not malice) in his eye.

I also like Wendig’s thoughts on getting your writer friend a notebook: ” Yeah, lots of people seem to think writers need blank notebooks. We probably don’t.” I still like notebooks but a) I use my computer way more than a notebook to write and b) when I need a notebook, I like picking out my own. A lot depends on how it feels, how you write, etc., and it’s hard to guess that for someone else.

If a helper monkey and a gazebo aren’t within your financial realm (I know, right?), these are some pretty cool bookish-inspired gifts, too.

(image: ruminatrix)