The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog. More
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“Stay Crunchy” by Ronald Jenkees is not a sort of music I often listen to. But it fascinates me, every time. Perhaps that is partly because it represents a creative process with which I am familiar: repetition. More
From time to time, Ricochet members capture the incredible breadth of posts on a given day. This is far more than a center-right political discussion and rant site. I wonder if we might roll up a sort of topical author list. Here is my very imperfect and incomplete start. If you would, please share your own go-to post series or exceptional stand-alone entries.
From Gary McVey’s serial history of television in America, to the very long-running, always informative Hank Rhody series that started with “How to Build a Computer, Part 1 of N: Silicon,” to SeaWriter’s weekly book reviews, to SkipSul’s ongoing series on Orthodox iconography, this is an amazing-value web publication.More
I’m trying hard to get to know a guy. The problem lies in that he doesn’t fully exist yet. I mean, he has a name, I’m pretty sure he has a family, and I know he’s a total stud, but other than that he’s a mystery. I’ll figure him out in time.More
My dad recently sent me an heirloom: A handwritten note from one of my elementary school teachers, written in the early ’80s. The content of her note can be summarized in the phrase “We need to talk.” My dad also included his handwritten notes from the phone conversation.
Here are the highlights, in case they’re hard to read:More
There are moments in life that alter history, some of them present themselves as flashy and incontrovertible, while others are shattering and beyond comprehension. The historian’s job is to catalog these moments for the benefit of society. Some historians find the task set before them to be a license to skew the analysis to fit […]
Whan that aprill with his shoures soote
The droghte of march hath perced to the roote,
And bathed every veyne in swich licour
Of which vertu engendred is the flour;
Whan zephirus eek with his sweete breeth
Inspired hath in every holt and heeth
Tendre croppes, and the yonge sonne
Hath in the ram his halve cours yronne,
And smale foweles maken melodye,
That slepen al the nyght with open ye
(so priketh hem nature in hir corages);
Thanne longen folk to goon on pilgrimages,
And palmeres for to seken straunge strondes,
To ferne halwes, kowthe in sondry londes;
And specially from every shires ende
Of engelond to caunterbury they wende,
The hooly blisful martir for to seke,
That hem hath holpen whan that they were seeke.
It was not to Canterbury I wended, but to rural Pennsylvania and the hills outside of Pittsburgh (distinguishable from the hills inside Pittsburgh primarily by the lack of buildings, roads, and navigable rivers). Nor was it in “Aprill” (though from the rain and the ambient temperature it was hard to distinguish the months) but in mid-June. Not all pilgrimages need be long and arduous, not in today’s world where everything can be reached by car — some need only the effort of a few hours, or a few days. Yet the trips are no less profound for being short in time, for what they lack in arduous work they provide amply in timelessness. In English, we have but one word for Time, and that is Time. We call it by other names, of course, mostly pejorative nicknames (The great thief, the destroyer, one damned thing after another, etc.) but we all know what we mean — The Clock. Yet other languages have multiple concepts of Time. Greek has Chronos-Time, which is The Clock, but they also have Kairos, which is time apart: eternal time, time perpendicular to our own. Chronos has little power here.More
Every writer goes through seasons of great productivity, moderate productivity and no productivity; sometimes all in one day. In 2011 I started my first blog, The Determined Christian, and in 2012 I started writing my second blog, Voice of a Patriot. Both were great outlets for subjects that I was passionate about; Jesus and politics. […]
I don’t think I’m especially good at partnerships, except in my marriage (I think). I’m too stubborn, am not always prepared to compromise, and have a short attention span. So I rarely partner with a person, because I generally fear the worst—damaging or losing a friendship.
This opportunity was no exception.More
I was about to write a PM to a member I hadn’t seen on the site for a long time, when the “post” count on my wall caught my eye–600 posts! I double-checked to make sure that was the meaning of that icon. I thought it might be fun (for me) to reflect on what life experiences […]
I am obsessed with writing. Seriously—I am. I wasn’t always that way, but it’s impossible to deny it at this stage of my life.
I’ve always written pretty well, but I didn’t give it a lot of thought. I had good teachers, a simple writing style, and even though I was accused by some teachers on a number of occasions of veering slightly (or greatly) off topic, they forgave me because what I wrote was usually articulate and interesting. (Of course, I couldn’t get away with that more than once with any particular teacher.)More
Words have always fascinated me. I was the kid that was always in motion – until I learned to read. From then on you could find me sitting, reading a book. Lots of books, I go through books like Patton went through France. I did even when I was in grade school.
I loved writing, too, from first grade on. Sure, I was not great at it, but I got better fast. By fourth grade I wrote a Christmas story (as a class assignment) an uncle tried to get published in New York. (No. It did not get published. It had “serious flaws,” according to a reviewer from the publishing house. What can I say? I was nine, trying to run with adults.)More
As a child between about the ages of 6 and 12, I had clear career plans. I wanted to be an author.
It’s easy to see why: my parents were careful to instill a lifelong love of literature in all of their children. Books were better than any toy. Also, I had a lot of imagination. When I was supposed to be sleeping, I acted out nearly full casts of characters with my own storylines as a game I played with my sister.More
Every writer has a specific purpose for doing what they do. Some write to share their observations and experiences; some write to instruct or inform, and others write to entertain; there are writers who work to appease an audience, and there are those who write to serve their own ego. We all have a reason, […]
George Orwell’s rules of writing:
- Never use a metaphor, simile or other figure of speech which you are used to seeing in print.
- Never use a long word where a short one will do.
- If it is possible to cut a word out, always cut it out.
- Never use the passive where you can use the active.
- Never use a foreign phrase, a scientific word or a jargon word if you can think of an everyday English equivalent.
- Break any of these rules sooner than say anything barbarous.
Eric Blair (George Orwell) was one of the most accomplished wordsmiths of the 20th century. These were his guides to writing effectively.I like them, and try to follow them.More
I just noticed this about myself: while reading a post or comment here or anywhere else, no matter how interesting or insightful I find the substance of the idea, once an author resorts to “clever”* name-calling, my interest almost completely dissipates. Drumpf, Killary, DemocRATS, Rethuglicans, whatever. It’s like the radio dial in my head gets […]
Okay, Fellow Writers, here’s the deal: For the better part of the last 30 years, I have been a caretaker. I took care of my Dad in the last years of his life, and for the past 13 years I’ve taken care of my Mom, 24/7/365. Mom went Home to be with Jesus on January […]
William Zinsser writes about the Latin, Norman, and Anglo-Saxon version of some words. When you need some information you can simply ask. If you want to be fancy you can pose a question. But only the truly sophisticated will interrogate.
Boris below observes the genius behind Churchill’s style is in moving between these different variations at the right moment. When Churchill really wants to grab the audience and make a memorable point he goes to the pre-Norman, Anglo-Saxon vocabulary that they know. Zinsser would approve as he advises us to cut out the clutter and get simple with word usage to produce great writing.More
January is the first submission period for the Mysterion webzine. We’ll be looking for nine stories to fill out our first year (from when we start publishing in April), which means that this will probably be the most stories we’ll be looking for in a single submission period (unless our Patreon reaches some of our higher goals). We’re […]
Ricochet is productivity and procrastination, accomplishment and distraction, enrichment and inertia.
I know this well because this week marks my seventh year in this community. I came here after @jameslileks linked to his Ricochet article and described how paying for the privilege of commenting kept discourse civil and productive. I joined soon after, and don’t spend much time on other political/ cultural discussion sites.More