Little Things

Prompt: Words


Dear Wednesday,

Have you ever had a dream that made perfect sense until you woke up and tried to journal it or share it with someone? There are definitely times when we simply don’t have the words to communicate what we want to express. I have dreams about elaborate games, say, or surprising ideas that simply don’t translate into verbal language. I can’t act them out either, write music to articulate them, draw diagrams or images to reveal them, or even begin to explain the premise of the game (is it even a game?) or idea.

Often these dreams involve numbers, which simultaneously frustrate and illuminate the … game or idea, which leads me to believe that mathematics is more than numbers, but might just possibly represent universal truths that go beyond scribbles on a page or blackboard. Don’t ask me how I know this; I don’t have the words to explain it.

Onward to a few of my favourite cartoons related to this topic of “words”:

cartoon charades

cartoon little words

cartoon my first boat


Love and peace,

~~FP

George Carlin’s Spirit [Repost]

Prompt: Do you have a favourite quote that you return to again and again?

trap-and-rabbit1

Yes, I do have a favourite quote, Daily Prompts, thank you for asking. There are actually a number of quotes that I refer to, in my little computer notebook, that inspire and challenge me.

Truth is so obscure in these times, and falsehood so established, that, unless we love the truth, we cannot know it.
—Blaise Pascal

Blaise Pascal was a 17th century scientist and philosopher, but his words strike me as hugely relevant now. Maybe they will always be relevant, as people continue to twist the truth to suit their own personal, political, or religious agenda— and the rest of us value truth so little that we give such people power.


When faced with two choices, simply toss a coin. It works not because it settles the question for you, but because in that brief moment when the coin is in the air, you suddenly know what you are hoping for.

I keep forgetting about this one, when I have an interesting or difficult choice to make. I think it illustrates very well that harrowing decisions are not so harrowing after all, if we are honest with ourselves. Since we find honesty so elusive, this is a nice little hack.


To be natural is such a very difficult pose to keep up.
—Oscar Wilde

…Speaking of honesty. Oscar Wilde’s wit is so beloved because there is such truth in it.


Constantly talking isn’t necessarily communication.
—Charlie Kaufman

To the people in the world who overshare: This one’s for you!


Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere.
—Albert Einstein

There’s nothing wrong with getting from A to B. It’s a valuable, efficient, and often necessary path, and I speak as someone whose view of the path is sometimes obscured. Imagination will take you everywhere, and I know that because I’ve been there. It’s really nice.


“Why is it the greatest champions of the white race always turn out to be the worst examples of it?”
—Jesse Custer, addressing the KKK, in Preacher, by Garth Ennis

Perfection. But why is that true?


The fish trap exists because of the fish. Once you’ve gotten the fish you can forget the trap. The rabbit snare exists because of the rabbit. Once you’ve gotten the rabbit, you can forget the snare. Words exist because of meaning. Once you’ve gotten the meaning, you can forget the words. Where can I find a man who has forgotten words so I can talk with him?
—Chuang Tzu

I like to ponder this one while standing in line at the supermarket.


Life’s a bitch, then you die.
—Unknown

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that life is difficult and painful. Yet think about us, you and me— I’m in a warm house with plenty of water. I have frozen lasagna defrosting in the fridge. My doctor’s office is five minutes away, and always available to me. No one will come and chop me up in the middle of the night. Children in my neighbourhood do not carry arms. Your situation is probably much the same as mine. So we are the 1% of the global population, while for the majority the above statement is often absolute truth.

There should be no 1%, not locally, nationally, or globally. There should be no 99% who live and die in suffering, while I complain about Netflix.


May the forces of evil become confused on the way to your house.
—George Carlin

I feel George Carlin’s spirit is protecting me from evil when I sleep.


Life may have no meaning. Or even worse, it may have a meaning of which I disapprove.
—Ashleigh Brilliant

Don’t you hate when that happens?


  • Original post: January 27, 2016.

Outlier

Prompt: Outlier

garfield outlier

Love or hate the cartoon character Garfield, you have to love the outlier locust in the above strip.

How many people do you know who “outlie” in this way? The word “outlier” technically means separate from the pack, but the word “lie” has multiple meanings.

I love language. As a word nerd, I find stuff like this interesting.

Though I did disappoint myself with this prompt post, because “outlier” elicits ideas so sci-fi, so fantastical, so outside the box. But it is the end of a tough week, I ate too much Friday pizza, and feel drowsy. I might have to go outlie down.

100 Miles

Prompt: Arid

desert

The sky is the same color as the sand, a luminous Photoshop-layered, grainy, noisy, soft-focused, glowing, diffused, warm, creamy, grey-and-yellow. There is no safe horizon to guide me on my journey, no compass, only the feel of unreliable sand beneath my feet and the sure knowledge that I must move, or die. I am halfway there. I smell my own stale, dry, hot, recycled breath through the scarf wrapped like bandages around my nose and mouth. Move, or die. Finally, finally, I am there. I have travelled the 100 miles. I have travelled the 100 words.


  • From a 100 words challenge

I Float

Prompt: Float

float-in-brick-room

“Describe yourself in ten words or less.”

That was a silly assignment, but the seven words I came up with still resonate:

I float, I vote, I don’t smoke.

float-in-bedroom

I’m not sure why such random-sounding words remain such an accurate summary in so many ways. I do vote (very opinionated, I am), I did quit smoking (that was crazy, believe me), and I do float through life (much to my own dismay).

float-woman-with-post

What are your words?

A Lonely Word

Prompt: Bespoke

daisy-in-dark-place

Bespoke is a word that sounds archaic and stands out like a daisy in a coal mine, in modern English. It is one of those words whose definition I don’t entirely trust. “A bespoke tailor” is often an example of the word usage in a phrase. Who the heck has a tailor? It must be a lonely word: I have no place for it in my vocabulary, and you probably don’t, either.

In tribute to a word old before its time, which is how I feel some mornings, here is a list of historical examples of bespoke, used where it fits in beautifully, which is in a long ago past (per Dictionary.com):


The man’s facetiousness interested me; it bespoke his nerve.

  • On a Donkey’s Hurricane Deck,  R. Pitcher Woodward

“Here it ends then,” said he, one day at the council-table, rising as bespoke.

  • The Hour and the Man, Harriet Martineau

At noon to the ‘Change a little, and there bespoke some maps to hang in my new roome (my boy’s roome) which will be very-pretty.

  • Diary of Samuel Pepys, Samuel Pepys

 
They flexed their compelling muscles before her and bespoke her for the dance.

  • The Four Million, O. Henry

The Struggle is Real

Prompt: Struggle

Struggle is real

A few years ago this phrase was co-opted to make fun of “first world problems”; per the Urban Dictionary:

Tom: I had to walk to class today because my bike got a flat tire.
Adam: Must’ve been real hard, man.
Tom: Yeah. The struggle is real.

The phrase originated in the biblical Genesis. Jacob was fleeing from his father-in-law because of wrongs he had committed. In the dark, exhausted and alone, Jacob has the fight of his life with an angelic stranger. They wrestle until daybreak, at which point the stranger inflicts upon Jacob a blow that disables him for the rest of his life. For Jacob, The Struggle Is Real. Christians believe Jacob’s wrestling with God that dark night reminds us of this Christian truth:  As believers in Christ, we may well struggle with Him through the loneliness of night, but by daybreak His blessing will come.

But when I saw this little poster, with those words, I didn’t know about the first world meme, or Jacob and his struggles. I thought about how much we minimize or even dismiss the very real struggles of people who are not like us. Perhaps we don’t do this deliberately, but we do it nonetheless, because it is uncomfortable, unpleasant, and disconcerting to recognize the struggle of, say, women who work to have a voice and to be safe among men, or people who work hard yet still battle poverty and ill-health, or families in distant places who are caught up in bloody conflict not of their making, or the often dangerous discrimination that gay people deal with daily, not just in fundamentalist communities but in homes, schools, and workplaces.

These struggles are not conceptual or imaginary. They are not just editorial articles of passing interest, or injustices to be filed away in a tidy corner of our mind, or something we push away because we feel it is out of our control. Maybe, like the biblical Jacob, we can wrestle through the night, our selfish impulses vs a life of actual good works, and let the good win.

We are capable of understanding and taking action, because the struggle is real.