PostArctica: Via by Caroline Bergvall

An inventory of translations of the opening lines of Dante’s Inferno. VIA By Caroline Bergvall 48 Dante Variations Nel mezzo del cammin di nostra vita mi ritrovai per una selva oscura che la diritta via era smarrita The Divine Comedy – Pt. 1 Inferno – Canto 1 – (1-3) 1. Along the journey of our ...

Scripturient: Square words

Writing has been described as the most significant human invention. We tend to think of inventions as mechanical things, like the wheel, or fire, or the printing press, the airplane, the internal combustion engine or cell phone. But without writing, few of them would exist. Writing allowed us to share the others, to improve them, ...

Scripturient: Three, six, seven, nine… how many basic plots?

When I was in school, back in the last century, I was taught there were three basic plots in which every story ever written could be classified: Man-vs-man, man-vs-nature and man-vs-himself. That was in the days when it wasn’t politically incorrect to use the word man to mean everyone. Today we’d say it differently, use ...

Scripturient: Thank you and Happy New Year

Twenty seventeen will arrive one second later than expected, thanks to the addition of a leap second added to balance the atomic clocks with the Earth’s actual time. One more second for my readers to browse, I suppose, although 2016 was such an awful year that few folks want it to stay around any longer. ...

My journey with AIDS…and more!: Time Stamp: Blog Writer’s Block

As of late, I’ve ‘got nothing’.  Facebook has ruined my blogging.

Scripturient: Old habits, old junk

The past couple of weeks I have been trying to turn my office (one of our spare bedrooms, once upon a time) back into my office. A working space I’ll need when Susan retires this winter. My man cave, so to speak. Over the past few years, since I sold the store and went back ...

mark a rayner: Alexandra Leaving – a short history

This song is based on a poem by the Greek poet, Constantine P. Cavafy. His source material was a story from Plutarch about Mark Anthony, as he watched his allies and supporters leave Alexandra before his enemy Octavian attacked the city. The original poem is called “The god forsakes Antony,” and is a meditation on the ...

Scripturient: The gems of Salomé

I was perhaps 11 or 12 when I first encountered Oscar Wilde’s play, Salomé. Some of it, at least. At the time, I knew nothing of Wilde, his writing, or even much about theatre in general. After all, I was in grade seven or eight. It would be a few years before I encountered (and developed ...

mark a rayner: New Fiction: Empty Space Times Two

This piece is probably the most straight-up sentimental thing I’ve ever written, but I’m quite chuffed to join the ranks of the writers who have been published by The Saturday Evening Post. (That includes, you guessed it, my literary hero, Kurt Vonnegut.) In case you’re wondering, it’s NOT autobiographical, though I did take a typing ...

Babel-on-the-Bay: It looks good on the NDP.

It is the way an Aussie friend says, “It looks good on them.” It is not said in a mean way but it implies that they deserve their quandary. And the current condition of the New Democrats is not only well deserved but about time. There are no more political virgins for them to sacrifice. ...

The Sir Robert Bond Papers: Simple words work best #nlpoli

esquire.com last October.  Big headline: Donald Trump Woos Republicans By Speaking at a 4th Grade Level Smaller head: His competitors from both parties aren’t much better. Aren’t much better.Speaking at such a low grade level is a bad thing. The speaker must be uneducated, simple, stupid, or something else that a president shouldn’t be. Or ...

Scripturient: Type Crimes and Taxes

Type crime is the term author Ellen Lupton uses in her book, Thinking With Type, to describe egregiously bad typography. That description came to mind as I perused the latest fluff mailer from our MP; the so-called “Tax Guide.” So-called because it isn’t a guide: it’s the usual, dreary Conservative whack-a-mole propaganda about how great ...

Scripturient: The Wolf and the Dogs

Once upon a time, there was a pack of good-hearted dogs who were known for their good deeds, and indeed their good natures. They travelled around the town unmolested, loved by everyone they met, helping with the chores, keeping the town safe from wild animals and intruders. The humans fed and pampered them, the other animals in ...

Scripturient: Just My Type

Those long legs. Gently sloping shoulders. The swelling curves above and below. The sophisticated line of the throat. Everything to attract me, to draw my aging eye, to warm my heart. The sensual Bembo. She’s my kind of type. Bembo is one of the great Renaissance typefaces that has since been revived. It was designed by ...

Scripturient: Myth and Meaning

People say that what we’re all seeking is a meaning for life. I don’t think that’s what we’re really seeking. I think that what we’re seeking is an experience of being alive, so that our life experiences on the physical plane will have resonance within our own innermost being and reality, so that we actually ...

Scripturient: The Secret to Good Writing

Spoiler alert: the secret to writing well is…. (insert drum roll)… writing. Writing a lot. Every day. Every possible minute you can spare. Writing and writing more and then writing even more. But doing so within a pre-specified limit. Oops… Now we all know that, aside from some local bloggers and EB columnists, most of ...

Scripturient: Grammatical Hell in a Handbasket

The Washington Post has started the apocalypse. Yes, they have. And the whole world is about to go to hell in the proverbial handbasket because of it. The maw of Hell has opened… The Post has decided after decades – centuries? – of editors, writers and grammarians arguing about the lack of gender-neutral singular pronouns in ...

Scripturient: A Sense of Pinker’s Style

I share one of Steven Pinker’s passions: I like to read style books, grammar books, language books. To me, they’re like literary chemistry sets. When I was young, getting a chemistry set for Christmas or a birthday opened a whole world to me. I’d explore all sorts of interactions and experiments until I had run out ...

Scripturient: The Gauche in the Machine

Rudibus ex machina: criticizing Collingwood’s latest newsletter feels a bit like punching a puppy. Or commenting on the sloppy grammar of local bloggers. Both are far too easy, like catching fish in a barrel, and I feel guilty when I even think of doing it. But since your tax dollars are at work, it needs ...

The Political Road Map: Wriber: Canadian Intellectual Advancement

While Stephen Harper has done his fair share to direct our economy into the ground, he failed in all of his attempts from keeping Canadians from doing what they do best, which is making new things that benefit everyone as a whole!  Introducing Wriber… https://www.wriber.com/ Improve your writing and idea generation all in one place ...

Dead Wild Roses: The Tone Analyzer – Fascinating Pages on the Internet

Ever wondered about your writing style and the message your ‘word medium’ conveys?   The Tone Analyzer will tell you. 🙂 I put one of my previous endeavours through the mill.  This is what was returned. I’m still looking into if any of the analysis is congruent with reality.  If it isn’t at least it ...

mark a rayner: The tyranny of freedom

  From Kurt Vonnegut’s Bluebeard, 1987.  

centre of the universe: Money for Nothing

Copyright is, at its simplest form, the method by which creators are paid for their work. It is a registration of an intellectual property (IP). It says “the creator has the right to charge, or not to charge, money for you to use this”. It’s not a form of censorship (and no court would rightfully ...

mark a rayner: The nature of novelists

A short addendum, filed under who knows: Time-travelling pirates Über-chimp astrologers Ham-fisted hosers Over-emotional AIs Plus this subset of writers: Whisky-swilling scribblers Wine-soaked hacks Beery autobiographers Alltop is a algorithm posting as a humor site.

mark a rayner: A post in which I quote Marx

See, there was nothing to worry about, comrades. Alltop is not half-hearted about humor.