Other person: I need a broom.
Me: I didn’t ride mine here today so I can’t help you.
Everyone else: *crickets*
They love me, really.
Other person: I need a broom.
Me: I didn’t ride mine here today so I can’t help you.
Everyone else: *crickets*
They love me, really.
It’s when you’re tired that the boundaries that divide the different “parts” of life from one another tend to get a little blurry.
This was evident yesterday when I was working through the online First Aid refresher course that I have to complete before attending the in-person training and re-qualifying on Tuesday.
When I got to the section dealing with ‘Shock, Wounds and Bleeding’, the introductory notes featured an image of a wound that was bleeding freely. My immediate response was to exclaim, “Must be fresh… must be blood!” And then I started singing, “Feed me, Seymour….feed me all night long.”
This is evidence of:
And in case what I was singing makes no sense to you, here’s a clip of that scene from the film.
As a writer, inspiration can come from anywhere.
Last week, as my friends and I were sitting in a shopping centre food court, I watched a young boy carefully picki his nose, eating the booger, and follow it with a chicken nugget. He did this at least three times,
At a table nearby, another young boy watched too, with disbelief and horror written all across his face.
The scene amused me, and I filed a mental note about it. Did the second boy never pick his nose, I wondered, or was he just appalled by the thought of eating it?
As I was driving home, a story came to me.
It seems fitting that it is a macabre story, given that it is October and Halloween will soon be upon us.
However, when I went looking for a copyright free image of a kid with their finger up their nose, I couldn’t find a single one. You would think that with the world-wide resources of the internet at our fingertips, things like that wouldn’t be so hard to find. There were stock images available, but I generally refuse to use those because, like all Indie authors, I’m on a budget and that seems like a luxury to me.
One Facebook post later, my cousin came to the rescue. Her young son was only too happy to stick his finger up his nose for the camera, and now he’s my little hero. He loves creepy stories, so I’ve promised to write one for him. I just have to wait for a little more strange inspiration to come my way.
I hope you enjoy The Final Blow.
“How many times do I have to tell you not to pick your nose?”
Sam sighed. All he wanted to do was dislodge those crusty bits that stabbed the inside of his nostrils every time she made him blow into a tissue, and remained there stubbornly regardless of his efforts with the tissue. Those things hurt, and they didn’t let go on their own.The best way to remove them was gently, with his favourite finger, and then flick them into the bin.
She should just be thankful he never wanted to eat it. He didn’t understand how other kids could. Just the other day when they had gone out for lunch he had watched another boy in the restaurant eating his booger off his finger before picking up a chicken nugget and eating that. He shuddered at the thought.
“You don’t know…
View original post 482 more words
I love International Talk Like A Pirate Day.
It’s just fun.
It can also be quite cathartic.
Let’s be honest, what day can’t be improved by a good “Arrrrrgh!” or two?
If people annoy you, you can threaten to make them walk the plank, or call them lily livered landlubbers, and nobody takes offence.
I grew up enjoying books like Treasure Island and Kidnapped!, and still enjoy a good, old-fashioned pirate story, so I thought I would share Book Squirrel’s International Talk Like A Pirate Day Book Recommendations.
In honour of International Talk Like A Pirate Day, here are three great pirate tales for your reading pleasure.
Matthew wants nothing more than to escape from his past, but that hardly seems possible with his new apprentice. While William might be Matthew’s chance at redemption, an opportunity to pay for his mistakes, William also has a reckless streak that could ruin the new life that Matthew has built for himself. Either Matthew will pull William from piracy, or William will drag Matthew back into the dangerous world that they both come from.
Read my book review of ‘Fallen Into Bad Company’ here.
In the Outer Islands, gods and magic rule the ocean.Under the command of Captain Rafe Morrow, the crew of the Celestial Jewel ferry souls to the After World…
View original post 244 more words
The pun is often quite an under-appreciated form of humour. Also known as paronomasia, its a device of word play that relies on the multiple meanings of words, or the alternate meanings of homophones, to make a joke or draw attention to an idea.
All my life, puns have been a much-loved form of humour in my family. Sometimes deliberate, other times incidental, my mother always took great enjoyment in teaching us to play with words and meanings, and to take great satisfaction in a well-executed pun.
Birds, flowers, food, animals, jobs… you name it, we punned about it.
One of my personal favourites occurred the first time we played Trivial Pursuit as a family. My brother-in-law asked me a Science & Nature question: “Which is bigger, the Moon or Uranus?” “Hold on and I’ll check!” I quipped, then bent right over and stuck my head between my knees. The combination of sight gag and pun had everyone roaring with laughter. Since then, the story has been passed on numerous times to friends, extended family, and the next generation.
Admittedly, some can be fairly lame, but when wielded by a person with great vocabulary and word power, a pun can be a thing of beauty.
Shakespeare himself loved a good pun, incorporating many of them into his plays. Shakespeare often engaged in paronomasia in both humorous and more serious contexts as a way of exploring or developing key ideas..
Mercutio’s joke as he is dying, “Ask for me tomorrow and you shall find me a grave man” is a prime example, and a master stroke of dark comedy genius secreted within a play that actually has very little to laugh about.
The ability of characters such as Iago and Richard III to twist words using puns demonstrates just how easily they are able to manipulate both meaning and situations to their advantage, and provide powerful insights into each one’s evil genius.
It’s nice to think that Shakespeare and I are of the same mind when it comes to puns. They are fun; they are clever; they engage the intellect; they bring ideas into sharp focus. And the fact that there are a plethora of ways to use them means a lot.
Of course, some people just don’t appreciate that particular brand of humour. There’s no point, for example, trying to explain puns to kleptomaniacs because they can’t help taking things literally.
We were watching Antiques Roadshow this evening. The host was enthusing over a large wooden table that he identified as a genuine piece of Tudor furniture.
“Look at those gorgeous Tudor legs and lovely drawers!” he said.
“Henry VIII had gorgeous Tudor legs and lovely drawers!” I quipped.
“That thing’s bloody huge!” my husband observed.
It’s not often I get such a perfect opportunity. There was only one thing left for me to say: “So was Henry by the end of it.”
I know, right? Comic genius.
I love the fact that my students have great senses of humour. They’re quirky and fun, and they know they have the freedom to express that in my classes.
Last week, one of my students told me a funny story about what he did in Biology class. To his delight, I appreciated the humour a lot more than his classmates or the Biology teacher had done.
He was more than willing to give me permission to write his story creatively. I decided a Drabble would be perfect for creating a snapshot of that moment in the classroom.
I hope you enjoy his very classy humour as much as I did.
And thank you, James, for making me laugh on a regular basis. You’re a legend.
The teacher stood at the front of the room, textbook in hand, as the students settled down to business.
“Please open your text book to page four hundred and four, and… yes, James?”
The teacher looked with anticipation at the young man sitting in the second row, hand raised and an awkward smile on his face.
“That page cannot he found.”
His classmates looked confusedly at James, and then at the specified page in their own books.
The teacher frowned. “Are you sure? There must be some kind of mistake.”
James’ smile became a triumphant grin. “It’s an error 404.”
Credit for this story must be given to my student, James, who actually did this in one of his classes, and gave me permission to write it as a drabble.
Most of the time, when people protest about the way the English language is abused, it’s a case of the language continuing to evolve as it has always done.
One such example is the practice of verbing, which takes the noun form of a word and transforms it into a verb form… like ‘verb’ and ‘verbing’.
Just last week, I was talking with a friend about how annoying she finds it when people say “I’m going to action that.” I’m sure she sought me out for the conversation because I’m both a word nerd and an English teacher.
“Action is a noun! A bloody noun! How can so many otherwise intelligent people get that wrong?”
“It grates on us because it’s recent,” I said. “We’ll get used to it.”
“No, I won’t! It’s just wrong!”
“You know Shakespeare did it?”
“Verbing. He did it all the time.”
“You and your Shakespeare. It’s like he’s the answer to everything.”
“You know he invented the word ‘friending’, right?”
She rolled her eyes and walked away. She didn’t even flinch at my use of the term “verbing”, which is exactly the same thing as “actioning” in terms of the language. After all, ‘verb’ is a noun, too.
It is the recent examples of verbing, such as “actioning” an idea, that we notice because we’re not used to hearing them yet. When Facebook was new, people complained the same way about “friending”, but these days nobody thinks twice about that. At some point in time, someone decided that it was okay to talk about bottling fruit, or shelving books, and now those terms are just everyday language.
It is also true, however, that some things people commonly say are, quite simply, wrong.
My pet peeve is when my students are talking about sport or some other kind of competition, and they say “We versed Team X”.
This is a common bastardisation of the Latin versus, which means ‘against’. It is commonly used for sporting matches and legal cases, and is generally abbreviated as v. or vs., as in Black v. White or Blue vs. Red.
My first response is always to ask whey they wrote poetry about another team. “You played them. You opposed them. You clashed with them. You competed with them. You did not write poetry about them.” Then I explain how the different words work, and what they actually mean.
The reason “versed” is wrong is because the words ‘versus’ and ‘verse’ have absolutely nothing to do with each other. Because ‘against’ is a preposition, it simply doesn’t make sense to say “We againsted them”. It is not verbing, by any stretch of the imagination.
The first time we have that conversation, they look at me with confusion. Some have a glazed look of fear, like the proverbial deer caught in the headlights. This never fails to entertain me. The second and third times, they roll their eyes.
Over time, the tedium of having the same grammar-nerdy conversation persuades them to start using the language correctly. They learn, I win, and so does the English language.
I’m always a bit lost for words when people remark that history is boring. Not because I have nothing to say— far from it— but because I know they are never going to be anywhere near ready for the conversations I want to have with them.
I accept that in the past, some teachers have been guilty of making history very, very dull, but it was not the history that was boring: it was the teacher.
I’ve had some of my own students question, “Why do we need to learn about this? How am I ever going to use this in real life?”
My responses vary depending on the topic at hand, but they are consistently positive and enthusiastic about how interesting and inspiring history can be.
I have recently discovered two new examples to offer to students or friends who complain about history.
Apparently, she wasn’t the only one who wanted to escape either. Having studied medieval history and knowing the lifestyle adhered to by monks and nuns of the time, I can’t say I blame any of them.
Faking your own death is definitely taking it to the next level, though, so I feel that Joan deserves a bit of recognition and applause for her commitment to the performing arts.
Then, today, one of my favourite History blogs on WordPress posted about “the mythical animal with a deadly rear end”. I followed the link to the full story about the Bonaccon, and did a little more research after that.
I now know more about this amazing creature than my friends will ever think beneficial. You can bet I’m going to tell them all about it, and I know my Year 9 boys are going to love it, too. I almost can’t wait until they complain again, so that I have a good reason to get the story out and share it.
Seriously, take a look at this beast. This picture from a medieval bestiary, or book of animals, portrays this particular bonnacon as being rather pleased with himself and his toxic poop. He’s never going to be sorry.
Go on. Tell me now that history is boring. I dare you.
I Never realised how lacking my relationship with Scout Kitty and Abbey the Labby has been.
I’ve been selfish. I’ve been keeping the Shakespeare all to myself.
After reading this fabulous post that I discovered today, I have just apologised to them both, and told them that it’s all about to change.
The cat yawned and went back to sleep, but the dog shall have her day.
My cats are big Shakespeare fans; in the case of Rocco, who’s been letting himself go a bit, a huge devotee of the Bard–fifteen pounds at his last checkup. We have assembled on the patio for a reading from Julius Caesar. Titus Andronicus was checked out of our local library, and my wife, the family Shakespeare-hater, is out of town.
“This foul deed shall smell above the earth/with carrion chipmunks, groaning for burial.”
I’ve told them the best way to read Shakespeare is that taught to me by Merlin Bowen, my freshman humanities teacher; once through quickly without checking the footnotes, then the second time more slowly, and thoughtfully, looking up the buskins and petards as you go. Easy for him to say since he didn’t have chemistry and social studies and phys ed and French and drugs to take at the same time.
“I didn’t finish the reading assignment–okay?”
View original post 949 more words