Writers Trick to Pronunciation

In Peter Ackroyd’s novel Chatterton, the lead character Charles is walking with his son at the beginning of the story looking for an address. When he finds the person he is looking for Charles introduces himself this way:

‘ Hi, I’m Wychwood.’

As a reader I immediately wonder if it is pronounced Witchwood or Wickwood. I not only like to read words, but I like the sound of them, and I do like to pronounce them correctly.

Ackroyd solves this problem for me and all readers by continuing with the scene this way:

“Mr. Leno sounded puzzled. ‘Which . . .?’

‘Wood. I telephoned this morning. About the books.’ ”

Since Charles did not correct Mr. Leno, we readers can surmise the name is pronounced with the sound of ‘which’ or ‘witch,’ as a minute later Charles is called ‘Mr. Witch.’ Now we have the author reinforcing the sound of the name, just in case we missed it the first time.

We learn the pronunciation of Charles’ name in a seamless manner, Ackroyd not telling us, but showing us through character interaction, a scene with humor no less.

It is not just a clever trick to pronunciation, but a way to introduce information without telling. It is so much better to learn things through characters than be told. After  all a novel is not nonfiction in which we are told things. We like novels, because-lets be honest-we are eavesdropping on people. And in this humorous scene which continues Mr. Leno, Mr. Leno, and Charles is fun to watch and listen in on.

The characters should tell the story, the author should be in the background, invisible; an observer like the readers.

Two of my five e-novels on Amazon are:

dugout (1)

Loonies_In_Hollywood-375x712

 

 

 

 

 

Why Bookworms Need An Advocacy Group

People who read and study a great deal are called bookworms. If you love books and reading as I do, one should think it a compliment, but it is considered to be derogatory. So try not to belt someone in their sour puss if they call you a BW (bookworm).

Dictinary.com defines bookworms as “insects or maggots; there is no single species known by this name, which is applied to the anolium beetle, silverfishes, and book lice. See book (n.) + worm (n.)” You see what I am talking about. We are considered lice and maggots.

Merriam-Webster dictionary mentions synonyms for bookworms as  nerd, dink, dork, geek, grind, weenie, wonk, and swot (British). It is also mentioned that bookworm was first used around 1580, but it does not cite by whom, not what context, nor if the term was for the lice/maggots/silverfish/ beetle that wormed their way through pages and bindings eating everything up, or if they meant it was used in derision of people who read a lot.

I don’t want to be referred to as a dork, but dink doesn’t sound so bad. The only time I have heard the word is in a Jimmy Durante song called I believe inka-dinka-doo” and that is another matter.

Back to worms, I just finished a novel Chatterton by Peter Ackroyd in which one of the characters, Charles Wychwood, a poet, does in fact eat pages of Dickens’ Great Expectations. Charles had other problems, writing block being one, or perhaps like Bartelby, he preferred not to. But Charles was a bookworm in the truest sense. Bon appetite!

I don’t know who first used the term in derogatory, mean-spirited, insulting, demeaning, bullying way, towards, I am sure, wonderful people, but it goes back a long time. We need not put up with this any longer. It is time to step out of the bookcase and announce to the world we are bookworms and proud of it.

We can have march to the Library of Congress to make the nation aware of us. We can form advocacy groups across the country. We should form support groups to not only discuss the slurs directed at us, but eat pages of books like Charles. Also a yearly Book Worm conference with guest speakers. We can write pamphlets about the joy of reading and create lists of good books to eat.

“When the Day of Judgment dawns and people, great and small, come marching in to receive their heavenly rewards, the Almighty will gaze upon the mere bookworms and say to Peter, “Look, these need no reward. We have nothing to give them. They have loved reading.”Virginia Woolf

My e-novels and short stories listed below you can not eat, but reading does bring it’s own reward. In the meantime I have a Heinrich Von Kleist short story to munch on.

dugout (1)Loonies_In_Hollywood-375x712coyotemoon_silentmurder (1)Cemetery_Tales_and_other_PhantasmsA-351x597coyotemoon_cemetaryb

 

 

Making predictions by reading sortes virgilianae; Huh?

It started with Thomas Chatterton, a poet and forger, who committed suicide in 1770 at the age of 17. It was a short, but interesting life.

In Peter Ackroyd’s novel Chatterton, in which some intrepid souls belive they have discovered evidence suggesting Chatterton never committed suicide, but lived long and forged poems attributed to other famous poets, such as William Blake, I came across this phrase ‘sortes virgilianae.’ I am at once, both impressed by writers who use phrases and words that force me reach for my dictionary to discover the meaning, thus furthering my knowledge, and irritated by the writers flaunting their intellect by using words and phrases that impress critics and intelligentsia and make me fell stupid in the process. I can feel stupid on my own, thank you very much.

If you did not tap or click sortes virgilianae I quote from Wiki, ” The Sortes Vergilianae (Virgilian Lots) is a form of divination by bibliomancy in which advice or predictions of the future are sought by interpreting passages from the works of the Roman poet Virgil. The use of Virgil for divination may date as early as the second century AD, and is part of a wider tradition that associated the poet with magic.[1] The system seems to have been modeled on the ancient Roman sortes as seen in the Sortes Homericae, and later the Sortes Sanctorum.”

Romans consider poets as diviners and prophets. It was believed that by opening Virgil’s The Aeneid, written between 29-19 B.C. at random and running your finger down the page, then stopping at your pleasure, that reading the next sentence or few would tell your fortune. The emperor Hadrian used it among other Roman emperors.

Sounds better than reading tea leaves.

And in the Middle Ages, it was still though to be a prophetic book and that Virgil was a pagan prophet. And we thought Virgil was merely telling  a story of a Trojan named Aeneas who traveled to Italy and became, in essence, the ancestor of all Romans.

So I thought I would try it. This is the passage that my prophetic finger stopped at:

“Ere now the stout ship of Ilioneus, ere now of brave Achates, and she wherein [121-152]Abas rode, and she wherein aged Aletes, have yielded to the storm; through the shaken fastenings of their sides they all draw in the deadly water, and their opening seams give way.

Well that is an eye opener. Does it mean I should yield to the storm? Sounds like the ship might be sinking. So much, if true, for my writing career.

This is where reading leads you with a dictionary at hand. But what choice does one have?

“I don’t think writers should write about answers. I think writers should write about questions.”
Paul Haggis

Virgil would agree.

I don’t think you will need a dictionary for any of my e-novels and short stories; there is a built in dictionary with e-books.

Thanks for reading.
dugout (1)Loonies_In_Hollywood-375x712coyotemoon_silentmurder (1)Cemetery_Tales_and_other_PhantasmsA-351x597coyotemoon_cemetaryb