Today's cool article - on translating Milton into English :-)

Click here for a nice article on a recent "translation" into English prose of Paradise Lost.

The comments are good, too.  One in particular quotes a poem by Nabokov, on having translated Pushkin's "Eugene Onegin" into English:

"I travelled down your secret stem,
  And reached the root, and fed upon it;
  Then, in a language newly learned,
  I grew another stalk and turned
  Your stanza patterned on a sonnet,
  Into my honest roadside prose–
  All thorn, but cousin to your rose."


Pest Control (new short-short)

Pest Control

  The problem with using a match-and-hairspray flamethrower at 3am in the house you just moved into, is that zombies are stupid.  Well, of course they're stupid, they've really only got a hindbrain and a visual cortex, but the thing is that they panic.  Then you have a crazy burning moaning zombie running up and down the hall banging into the walls, scorching your new paint (which doesn't matter that much because it was latex over oil and isn't sticking, so at least it'll be easier to peel now that it's all bubbled up), and the kids are screaming "Put it out, daddy, put it out!" and the wife is going "I told you this wasn't a good idea" and trying to get through to 911 and you finally just throw a quilt over it and it collapses into hot goo right through the hardwood floor.  Three thousand dollars of just-got-it-refinished hardwood floor.  How do you even fix a hardwood floor?
     So now there's a piece of plywood nailed down in the hall with a throw rug over it that the kids keep tripping on, and I'm trying to find someone that can tent and handle subterraneans.  You'd think in a city this size there'd be exterminators all over the place, but everyone's booked out until spring and we don't get cold enough down here for the nasties to hibernate.  And no, the previous owner didn't tell us about the zombie closet.  Obviously something was up, since they wanted to sell as-is, but in this economy, you gotta take what you can get.

"This is Not a Drill"


This is not a drill.

This is an electric screwdriver.

If this were a real drill

Your eye socket would be deeper.




(Okay, okay, it's icky -- but I'm in a cheerful mood!  Really!)


Today's funny quote

From a review of a book called "1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die" in the NYT:

"In his novel “Changing Places,” David Lodge — not on the list — introduces a game called Humiliation. Players earn points by admitting to a famous work that they have not read. The greater the work, the higher the point score. An obnoxious American academic, competing with a group of colleagues, finally gets the hang of the game and plays his trump card: “Hamlet.” He wins the game but is then denied tenure."


two new poems

Well, after a long (baby) break, my writing brain seems to have turned back on. I've written two little poems in the past couple days, plus a story fragment (which I may post later) a week or so ago. Not much output, but something! Yay!

Yes, they are both rather snide, but at least there's one for each side!



a good safe word
for what we used to call sin
suitable for print in a family newspaper

if there were newspapers
these days

or families



Barack Hussein, 2008

"I don't like that Hoo-sane"
Said the woman on CNN
Summing up her West Virginia
"We've had enough Hoo-sane"
Primary demographic
Warm and round-faced
White grandmotherly
Working class under fifty-thousand
No college
But what's in a name?
Can't be Christian
With a name like that
Exotic enemy overseas
A little too black
Like coffee or chocolate
Without enough
Good white
For us folks

  • Current Mood
    cheerful cheerful

What it's really like...

The following is by Roger Ebert, from a review of a movie that's probably very worthy but that I'm not at all interested in watching called "Starting Out in the Evening."  The first two paragraphs I've included are to set the background.  The third is the one I love, because the last sentence really hits what writing is like.   (In my case poetry rather than novels, but it still rings true.)

Ebert writes:

"The story involves a 70-year-old novelist named Leonard Schiller (Frank Langella) and a 25-ish graduate student named Heather Wolfe (Lauren Ambrose).  He wrote four books that were acclaimed as important and still are, although he's not much read anymore. He's been working on a fifth novel for a decade.  She plays a graduate student who wants to write her thesis about him and has hopes that she may inspire a revival of interest in his work, and maybe blast that fifth novel out of his grip.

"They are not alike. He puts on a coat and tie to sit down at his desk and write.  He speaks with care and reserve.  She is filled with all of the brashness and confidence of youth and believes she's just what the doctor ordered.  He almost recoils under her first onslaught, but she is bright and verbal and, let it be said, attractive, and he doesn't send her away.

"Soon she is discovering what every interviewer learns from every novelist:  He doesn't know what anything in his books "stands for," he doesn't know where he gets his ideas, he doesn't think anything is autobiographical, and he has no idea what his "message" is.  I am no novelist, but I am a professional writer, and I know two things that interviewers never believe:  (1) the Muse visits during, not before, the act of composition, and (2) the writer takes dictation from that place in his mind that knows what he should write next."
  • Current Mood
    artistic artistic

Still NaNoWriMo

Got nothing written on Monday (no excuse, just flaked off :-) but did my best yet yesterday, with 359 more words.  At this rate it may take decades to finish a book, but it still feels good to be writing again!  (And semi-regularly, for the first time ever.)  It helped that my spouse watched the kids last night so I could sneak out to a coffee shop with some fellow NaNoWriMo-ers and do nothing but poke at my story for a couple of hours!  Next I shall cheat and work on tidying up the last bit I wrote, before I forget the changes I want to make.
  • Current Music
    Mickey Mouse Clubhouse cartoon theme


Well, I'm not hitting anywhere near the 1667 words a day needed to actually produce a 50,000 word novel in a month, but I've actually written for 2 days in a row, which is better than I've done any time in the last year!  I only managed one paragraph (about 80 words) of my story yesterday, but whacked out another 200 words or so today.  Yay!
  • Current Music
    "I am a C"