Pronunciation, Stamps, and Litanies

Another from Problems of a Book Nerd:

Word. Or rather, so many words. Like 'thoroughly' and 'characteristics' from my childhood years (I had, as Mike Myers' character said in View from the Top, the emphasis on the wrong syllable.). I had to look up 'timbre' (tam-bur, apparently) just the other day, which is odd, considering that I took voice lessons for years. And 'hubris' has baffled me for years, so I just looked it up now. Hyoo-briss. Weird.

Also, Jane Austen stamps from the Royal Mail. American mail, you should be so awesome.

This week's writers' link comes from Terpsichore over at Egotist's Club: a litany for writers. Here are a few lines which spoke to me most powerfully, and which I ought to pray regularly:

From tepidity of convictions and weakness of thought, reason, and diction,
Good Lord, deliver us.
From vacuity of substance and fatuous compositions,
Good Lord, deliver us.
From misuse of our time and distractions in our research; from antipathy for labor and the soul-weight of sloth,
Good Lord, deliver us.
From needless verbiage which obscures truth and sense,
Good Lord, deliver us.
From incorrect data, false testimony, skewed perspectives, incomplete citations, and misleading rhetoric,
Good Lord, deliver us.
From disorganized ideas; from overused tropes and clichéd plots; from plot holes and inconsistencies,
Good Lord, deliver us.

I think I need to print this out and stick it in the back of my breviary. Or hang it on the wall here in my writing corner.


  1. *sobs with happiness* I don't know why, but I thought I was the only one with this pronunciation problem! You should hear how I pronounce "comely"!

    The "How to Rescue a Princess" link is a great resource, so thanks for sharing.

    And so I can provide you with more distractions to say no to, I'm curious: why no Casual Vacancy?

    1. ..I think Casual Vacancy is mainly about sex and despair..but I could be wrong - and not 'about sex and despair' in the good way either..

      If you pronounce word confidently and badly, no one knows!! And you can sometimes get them to change their pronunciation to match your own, mis-pronounciation..I've never been about to do it, but Seth does it all the time..;)

      LOVE the litany for writers!

    2. Oh . . . that's . . . odd. But I suppose every writer, and person for that matter, has the right to move through different stages at different times of their lives.

      I'm only going from what I've been told about him, but I think Seth could convince anyone of anything, he has that much calm charisma!

      And yes, thanks for the litany, Jenna! Am going to post this somewhere nearby. c:

    3. Christie, don't feel alone!! I've had that problem my whole life. And now I want to know how you say 'comely'. ;)

      Masha says: "If you pronounce word confidently and badly, no one knows!!" Well, they do if you say 'char-ACK-ter-is-ticks.' :P Or 'tho-ROW-ly'. I might've been able to BS my way through 'timbre' if I'd been able to decide between 'timber' and the Frenchish 'thambr', but I couldn't, so I looked it up.

      As for The Casual Vacancy, I don't know that it's about sex and despair. It sounds like it's about poverty and drugs and small-town arrogance and self-righteousness. But there's lots of sex and despair in it by all accounts, and honestly--honestly--I don't trust Rowling to be quite fair to the middle class. Whether I'm getting that little niggle from her own political commentary (including certain suggestions in Harry Potter) or from probably-Skeeterized media interpretations of TCV, I couldn't say. My hesitation might be unjust. But I've read enough plot summary for TCV to be unmotivated to find out. Sex and despair, indeed.

    4. That too, I guess..I get the same impression from her, and I do TRY to assume the best..but, she seems to lean toward pushing her own politics, which judging from interviews, don't seem interesting At All..and add that to sex and despair, which I can take in Marquez or Hemingway, because there is always more to it maybe than Vacancy seems to have, or maybe just 'cause I like them better ;). But I'll probably end up reading it..I usually do. ;p

      Jenna, How much of CV seems to you to be a "I'm just done with being seen as a kid's author, so take that!" to you? I've heard varying opinions.

      Timbre is TAM-bur!!! REALLY?? And, yeah, I don't think even Seth could pull off tho-ROW-ly! ;)..I failed at Colonel forever (ko-LO-nal)..and do you know, people in Maine say AUnt..not 'Ant' for an Aunt..it's confusing!

    5. Haha, it took me YEARS to learn to say 'Colonel' correctly. And it still doesn't always read right in my head. The other one that gets me is 'brazier'--apparently a parish local once read a Mass reading that included the words "flaming braziers" and accidentally made it sound like "flaming brassieres". Which is really funny, but it could totally have happened to me. I have to work hard to say BRAY-zhur.

      I'm not sure how much credence to give the "I'm done with being seen as a kids' author" thing. On the one hand, I doubt Rowling worked that way intentionally; on the other, I think it would be hard to keep out if it were me and if I felt pigeonholed. I'm not so sure she felt pigeonholed, though. Popular speculation after the fact does not author intent make. And I think she's talked about writing other books for children, including younger children than the Harry books were designed for.

      Rowling is a much-beloved author with adults as well as children, and she was that long before she ever thought of TCV. It's true that she doesn't get much respect from the mainstream literary establishment, and maybe she was trying to please them this time around. But that's a little different from being all OH LOOK I'm a grownup.

      Ooh, as for aunt--I say it both ways. I love consistency but cannot manage it on this word... I ought to just go Spanish and say tía. ;P

    6. I'm sure you're right, it is hard to get an idea of where she's heading - writing-wise, when the interviews with her seem to either focus on the devastation of Not having Harry Potter - The Next Generation follow up her series. And the rest seem just frustrated that she writes anything at all..

      She definitely does have a lot of adult fans - for Harry Potter, I've not met anyone who was 'eh' about HP and impressed with TCV..and I know a whole bunch of people are thrilled to read it to any kid that comes around ;)..no matter the age. I wonder..If I were pigeonholed as 'pop-kid-fiction' (not my term! Don't judge me :) ) Would I be tempted to sell out a bit?? Fitzgerald did, not so much because he was 'pop-kid-fiction' (obviously, who'd read Gatsby to a 7 year-old :p ) but he'd apparently write a good story and muck it up to sell to the magazines and get quick cash..maybe artistic integrity is overrated? I switch back and forth too..AUnt, Ant..I wanted to encourage Ciotka, which is Polish, but 1/2 of Yarrow's Aunts aren't Polish..I might still try. Maine is way too French, it needs some diversity.


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