An important message for minor characters, anyway, and probably protagonists as well. It can also be useful to stay close to the dog, although you have to be careful, since dogs have a way of coming through disasters unscathed that can kill people.
Alison Bechdel has won a MacArthur “genius” grant. T o celebrate, I wrote a short story fictionalizing the events leading up to the award, but I realized there were no female characters in it, which didn’t seem appropriate. So I wrote a second draft, which had a couple women in it, but they spent all their time talking about John D. MacArthur.
This is tougher than you’d think, man.
As we all know, International Talk Like a Pirate Day is upon us. It’s an important day, well worth celebrating, but please people, don’t say “argh” and think you are properly entering the spirit of things. The proper pirate exclamation is “arrrrr” (with as many “r”s as you like – go nuts!), or, if you prefer, “yarr”. But not, “argh”.
“But you don’t understand!” I hear you shouting, “When I say ‘argh’ the ‘g’ is silent! Also sort of the ‘h’, though really, who can tell? I mean, sometimes I sort of let fly with a breathy ‘hu’ sound at the end when I’m going for a sexy pirate sound, but really, the ‘gh’ is basically a unit. And like I said, I don’t pronounce it.”
Well, look. For one thing I see poor misguided souls lurching around in eye patches with stuffed parrots on their shoulder saying “argh” with the trailing ‘g’ all the time. Think of those folks making fools of themselves and try to set an example, would you? For another thing, “argh” already clearly fills the role of a general exclamation of distress, while the piratical “arr” is more of a generalized interjection. I am by nature a descriptivist, but clearly we need both words, and it is in the best interests of the language to properly differentiate them. English is confusing enough as it is.
Personally, I plan to go for the “Author with dog” genre of author photo, as exemplified by these guys here
(though this dog is frankly not properly into the “noble hound” look, and there is a shocking lack of tweed with leather elbow patches). But it seems that the trend is away from pipes and toward cigarettes, at least for Very Serious male writers, as shown here by Szilvia Molnar.
I just got an email telling me that Amazon is sending me a pair of shoelaces by FedEx. I didn’t pay to have shoelaces rushed to a turboprop plane waiting on a runway in the dead of night, and I don’t feel any particular urgency about getting these laces because I figure the knot in the old pair will hold for a while, but by Jove they’re sparing no expense.
The only problem is that while I understand that sending shoelaces winging around the country at great expense is part of the grand plan that will eventually allow Amazon to dominate retail sales (1. Pay shippers about $6 to mail things that cost less than $5 and aren’t needed soon 2. ??? 3. Profit!), I just … really don’t want to be someone who gets shoelaces by FedEx. I hope the shipping label isn’t obvious, because I don’t know if I can look the driver in the eye if he knows what he’s handing me.