Friday, December 30, 2011

Story, Myth, Fable, Legend


Last night while I watching a PBS segment of Nature about Bears of the Frozen North I was struck by the number of poetically descriptive allusions to nature's seemingly human characteristics, such as the punishing winds of cruel winter at the top of the world. We know, of course, that the cold winds are really not punishing the creatures it blows against. And we know that the winter is not consciously cruel. Nor is this windy winter's event happening at the top of the world.

The simile, the metaphor, and the analogy undeniably enhance the portrayal of what would otherwise be a dull and forgettable listing of meteorological data: temperature, wind speed, and specific latitudes for regions at the arctic circle.

Figures of speech and active imagination have their uses.


Grammarphobia as I've mentioned before is a website of which I am a great fan and I check out its blog section almost daily. From its pages I have learned a great deal about the English language, about its roots and about correct grammar.

The authors are Patricia T. O'Conner and Stewart Kellerman who have written five books about the English language and have more than half a century of experience as writers and editors. Just recently I finally got around to reading Stewart Kellerman's interview with Raymond Carver in the New York Times -- just a few months before Mr. Carver died... link below:

For Raymond Carver, a Lifetime of Storytelling


I read, and I read, and I read again, and again, and again. I write, and I write, and I write again, and again, and again. I read and I write, but never am I satisfied; never do I read enough, never do I write enough. There seems no end to that twin endeavor this side of my final eternal nothingness.

In the words of Richard Wright:

I would hurl words into this darkness and wait for an echo, and if an echo sounded, no matter how faintly, I would send other words to tell, to march, to fight, to create a sense of hunger for life that gnaws in us all.

Richard Wright


(a brief diversion, if I may)

The Chosen People

What is the true meaning of The Chosen People? Were the Israelites chosen by YHWH or was YHWH chosen by the Israelites? And what does it matter, anyway?

Below is reportedly from a letter Albert Einstein wrote in January 1954 to philosopher Eric Gutkind.

"The word God is for me nothing more than the expression and product of human weaknesses, the Bible a collection of honorable, but still primitive legends which are nevertheless pretty childish. No interpretation no matter how subtle can (for me) change this. These subtilized interpretations are highly manifold according to their nature and have almost nothing to do with the original text. For me the Jewish religion like all other religions is an incarnation of the most childish superstitions. And the Jewish people to whom I gladly belong and with whose mentality I have a deep affinity have no different quality for me than all other people. As far as my experience goes, they are also no better than other human groups, although they are protected from the worst cancers by a lack of power. Otherwise I cannot see anything ‘chosen’ about them."

I admit that the above paragraph was lifted from monricks. but only after I had considered the meaning of The Chosen People and began to do some research on the concept.

The Chosen People.

Absolutely ridiculous.


And by the way, everything in life is writable about if you have the outgoing guts to do it, and the imagination to improvise. The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt.
--Sylvia Plath

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