I made a ‘boo-boo’ in my last blog – or is it a Typo. I said the song ‘Unforgettable’ was written by Nat King Cole PORTER.
Wikipedia explains a Typo by saying it is a typographical error (often shortened to typo, plural typos,) a mistake made in the typing process (such as spelling, misuse of tense or leaving out a word) of printed material. Historically, this referred to mistakes in manual type-setting, (typography). The term includes errors due to mechanical failure or slips of the hand or finger. Before the arrival of printing, the “copyist’s mistake” or “scribal error” was the equivalent for manuscripts. Most typos involve simple duplication, omission,
transposition, or substitution of a small number of characters.
With Spellcheck, or a similar programme, spelling errors are usually highlighted unless you have typed a word incorrectly such as ‘hear’ instead of ‘here’, or ‘there’ instead of ‘their’, or ‘your’ instead of you’re (you are).
I once saw an absolutely awful advertisement (how’s that for alliteration!) from an editor which read:
‘If your looking for an editor, look no further…’ (I wonder how many takers they got?).
I have set my programme to English spelling because I was fed-up of my programme saying I had spelt ‘favourite’, or ‘colour’ incorrectly. (I am in favour of the American spelling ‘favorite’ and ‘color’ because what the heck has the letter ‘u’ to do with the pronunciation).
I used to be a Personnel Officer for the National Health Service back in the UK, and I would discard an application if an atrocious spelling mistake was made from a person who had applied for say, a job as a typist or secretary, but I was more lenient when they had applied for say, a nurse. All the posts, of course, called for a certain level of intelligence, but I felt in the latter case the work relied on caring skills rather than an ability to spell correctly.
In 2010, Gregorio Iniquez, the managing director of the Chilean Mint, was kicked out after he authorised the production of a 50 peso coin that spelled the country’s name incorrectly. It was spelled C H I I E instead of Chile. By the time he was sacked it was too late, the coins remain in circulation to this day. (I bet he got the cold shoulder for that error – sorry about this – ‘cold/chilly’!).
Have you even known someone with: ALS,MS, Parkinson’s Disease, CP, Alzheimer’s, Tetanus, Pinched nerve, meningitis, Huntington’s Disease, Migraines, Epilepsy, Polio, stroke, or any of the other neurological disorder?
Would you tell someone who’d suffered a stroke to just talk properly? Unlikely.
Would you tell someone with ALS to stop being so lazy? No way.
Tell someone with Alzheimer’s they could remember if they just tried harder? Doubtful.
Someone with Parkinson’s to stop shaking, that they were just trying to get attention? Improbable.
Yet people with Autism are constantly told to grow up, smarten up, man up, stop being so lazy. People scoff, blame, bully, abuse, mock, make jokes, call names, etc.
Autism is a neurological condition just like any other. They have as much control over how…
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Unforgettable that’s what you are…Although I love the song by Nat King Cole Porter, but this is not what I want to write about.
I want to talk about what makes a book unforgettable. What makes people sit up and talk about a book they have read.
In a previous blog I have told you about a book which had a profound effect on me when I read it as a child, ‘The Bondman’ by Hall Caine, a 19th century acclaimed writer.
I read a book a few years ago that I found unforgettable. It was ‘The Kite Runner’, the first novel by Afghan-American author Khaled Hosseini, published in 2003. It tells the story of Amir, a young boy from the Wazir Alebar Khan district of Kabul.
The simple but exquisite writing of this poignant novel compels the reader to keep turning pages. The novel deals with the friendship of a wealthy boy and the son of his father’s servant. It is a story of family, love, friendship and betrayal, set against a devastating backdrop of the history of Afghanistan over the last thirty years.
What made the book unforgettable to me? For me, it captured my heart I quote you a sentence which piqued my interest and drew me into the central drama of the story.
“That was a long time ago, but it’s wrong what they say about the past, I’ve learned, about how you can bury it. Because the past claws it way out. Looking back now, I realize I have been peeking into that deserted alley for the last twenty-six years.’
At the outset of Chapter one, Amir writes these words. For me the words ‘for the last twenty-six years’ tells how important this moment was. How he is trying to bury the memory, and this event largely defined the course of Amir’s life ever since.
I have tried to analise what was the overwhelming quality of the two books I mention, for me it was evoking a strong emotional response to the characters; their simplicity, weaknesses, and, of course, a gifted author who wrote with such clarity.
If houses had fingertips the famous hanging houses (Las Casas Colgados) at Cuenca would be they. The houses are the only buildings left standing of the type which would have been common in the city many years ago. built above the Huecar river gorge.
The lack of space on this rock face has resulted in the unusual development of vernacular architect with exceptional views. The old part of the city is hemmed in on three sides by a deep gorge. Along the edge of the steep high walls of the gorge the houses hang precariously over the edge.
Some time ago I went on a three day trip primarily to visit Cuenca, Spain, which is located 140 kilometres, approximately 87 miles, south east of Madrid, especially to see the hanging houses. The city was built by the Moors as a fortified city and conquered by the Castillians in the 12 century
Now, the hanging houses have been converted into a restaurant and contain the Museum of Abstract Arts. The houses must have been captured in millions of photographs and painted numerous times. I visited the museum’s gift shop and stood
on the balcony and enjoyed a view of the gorge and looked down at the spectacular turquoise colour of the River Huecar.
I also went around the 12th century cathedral, which is the first Gothic cathedral in Spain located in the Plaza Mayor, and the ruins of the castle, and walked around the walls and took in the breathtaking panoramic views until they disappeared into the horizon.
I visited the Enchanted City (Ciudad Encantada) near Cuenca, famous for its rock formations, sculpted over the centuries by wind, water and ice. I was amazed that many of the ‘sculptures’ resembled humans and animals.
The area around Ciudad Encantada is magical. The vegetation, which seems to grow out of rocks, included Juniper trees, and there was the distinct scent of rosemary and tyme. Flocks of sheep graze in the surrounding area, and travelling back to our quaint hotel, with its huge stone fireplaces, in the countryside just outside Cuenca, in the early evening, we were lucky to see herds of deer.
I recommend this trip to anyone who lives in Spain or spend a holiday in this wonderful country.
I recently read a discussion which dealt with the subject is it correct to use offensive language when publishing an article or book? Some seemed to think that if you had to sink to the use of such language the writing was in some way devalued.
Others thought it was of value when it provided authenticity to their characters and situations. They emphasised that publications must reflect the way people talk. Certainly, you can’t watch a film or TV after a certain time, or hear people talk in the street without hearing colourful language.
Take Chaucer, Shakespeare, and Joyce as examples, all these great writers have used what may be classified as extreme language. It was only between 1840 to 1914 that literature could be classified as puritanical, (what could you expect when Victorians insisted on covering table legs, thinking if they were ‘unclothed’ they were indecent).
While we should always respect the sensibilities of others, it would seem unrealistic to object to strong, explosive language in certain situations. This doesn’t mean to say that one has to rely on swear words to convey anger, fear, disgust and other emotions, but surely if appropriate one must take an accurate view of the world.
The floodgates of change were opened when James Joyce published Ulysses, and since then writers have felt free to express in their characters a whole range of language.
I use the ‘F’ word in my book ‘The Rode to Justice’ (John Rode, 1st grade detective, murder stories). The victim had been raped and she is repeating the story of her ordeal to John Rode. Of course she is angry, she has caught Aids as the result of the sex attack, – it would be enough to make anyone swear!
. I do not use swear words in my day-to-day contact
people, but little Josie, my character, uses it. I have said before my characters in my books take over. She said it – not me. I was shocked. I considered backspacing it out, but didn’t. The character had spoken her feelings. Who was I to argue.
Of course, we accept that certain words which were frequently used in the past should not be used today, e.g. the word Nigger, or words that change their meaning, such as the word Gay. The use of the former word was not always considered derogatory. Ninteenth-century English language literature featured the word. Charles Dickens and Mark Twain created characters who used the word as contemporary usage.
When I was younger the word gay meant joyful, happy. Many girl babies would be called Gay. I bet this Christian name is not used since the word has gained another meaning.
I like the way cartoons display offensive or angry words so I’ll end this blog by saying S#*//*#* off! (Signing off)!