Saturday, August 21, 2010
Words constitute languages. Ever wondered what we’d do without them, even when it is interesting to wonder what we do ‘with’ them at various occasions? :) This word is important in the sense that we, speakers of English as second language, need to be aware of the aspect of avoiding unnecessary repetition of words, especially in writing. So, here we go.
What do we call when someone is making unnecessary use of two or more words to express one meaning? It is called tautology,,e.g. the phrase “a beginner has just started”, is a case for tautology. Or “he saw with his own eyes” or “true fact”. Such a statement would be a tautologous statement. To such a user I can say, “Stop tautologizing!”
. His speech was full of tautologies.
Tautology is a defect we should be aware of while speaking or writing. It’s a common defect with users. There are other synonymous (similar) words meaning for this, which can be learnt: Pleonasm, Redundancy, Prolixity, Prodigality, Verbosity, and Superfluity. A speech or writing would be pleonastic, redundant, prolix, prodigal, verbose, and superfluous if it carries this defect. I gave you six good formal words to use when the next time you come across this defect and you want to describe it in words. Examples of these words will follow over next few posts under the label, ‘Words_for_Birds’. Doubts will be welcomed. Next lecture: what do we call speech that is the opposite: without this defect. Happy reading.
Thursday, August 19, 2010
Wednesday, August 18, 2010
The opposition of what begins and what ends opens up interminably when we ask that. But getting back to the immediate call on one character's assertion in this novel, that is, beginning at the beginning, Saramago says something which only he can:
Tuesday, August 17, 2010
You need altitude to melt attitude. That is my first imaginative reaction to the mountain peaks and the flying swabs of clouds from a point of view which makes me say: WoW !
In contrast to the last image I mentioned, this one lacks green but blooms in blue. The soil of the earth tries to match the glow of the sky; and in between lie the mountains. All I can do is wonder... wonder in my mind who longs to wander... in the same swabs of clouds, on this same ground of land.
This image inspires too; with expressions like,,, Glow of the day. Flight of inspiration. Altitudinal Imagination.
'Image of the View'
Nothing to shield
Nature grows in trees
The glories of the field
The wind and its breeze.
Cotton-swabbed clouds fly down upon you
Rays of sunlight still seep through
Life’s verve lies in the beholder’s view
What replenishes life, from your heart did ensue.
I see the mountain range, its face
Colours, elements, are life’s layers
Infused this vision in a caress, an embrace
Promise of harmony in the windhorses’ prayers.
“If we had a keen vision of all that is ordinary in human life, it would be like hearing the grass grow or the squirrel's heart beat, and we should die of that roar which is the other side of silence”
~ George Eliot
Last Sunday evening, after finishing my reading session, I was taking a stroll in the lawns outside the library when I noticed the area to be mostly empty with overcast skies above. I decided to stand still in the midst of this beautiful place. How many times during a day or even a week do we observe our surroundings like I am doing now, I asked myself. I looked at the grass, the trees and the rock stones that lay wonderfully encapsulated in the softness promised by this landscape. But the question was still flickering my mind. To a natural surprise, I saw butterflies emerge from the hedges, evening birds chirping on the trees and welcoming more of their brethren as if to join for one final conference of the day, before settling over the branches to take rest from the day’s flight.
Then a rare thing happened. Here comes a baby squirrel running towards me. It stops suddenly just a step away, looking at me with its tense tail swaying. And I am astonished to witness the kind of palpable energy with which it approached towards me and is now saying something or asking rather, with eyes fixed at my face. Unbelievable. The spell is momentary, and the squirrel starts running around as if frenzied with an excitement I dare not imagine about. The little squirrel runs all over the place, halting only to find a rare grass blade or some seeds and nuts maybe. With my hand reaching out habitually for my mobile camera, I sat on the ground trying to observe and hear the heart of Nature beating in a lyrical movement of these living beings.
For the next few minutes, as few would believe, the baby squirrel posed for my camera. Perhaps, it was just too excited to come in some contact with one of these ferociously walking giant-like figures. I can say, this adventure for the little animal was worth it, just like it was for me. The squirrel looked happy. So was me. It started growing dark and we had to say goodbye. I, seemingly the less sensitive of the two, did it first. With special memories and a faint smile on my lips, I left for a more ‘civilized’ place.
Friday, August 6, 2010
"...reading is being the arm and being the axe and being the skull; reading is giving youself up, not holding yourself at a distance and jeering."
~ J. M. Coetzee, The Master of Petersburg
The way Coetzee defines the role of a reader deserves more than a passing mention. That's because the idea of reading as not just another activity to while away time but to commit yourself to the act is something that gives to the writing (the kind Coetzee is concerned with) its first deserved worth. Each book we pick up and start reading, through the very act, builds upon a relationship where, if the book is responsible to us, then the reading is equally responsible to the book.
This is a special book from the author, in which the narrative, being the story that it is, is also a serious meditation on 'writing', 'reading' and creativity. I want to attend to another echo which is the dimension of the idea of giving up. Coetzee suggests:
"We do not write out of plenty, we write out of anguish, out of lack."
~ The Master of Petersburg
What interests me tremendously in this novel is that it captures and sets free a beautiful paradox. You ask how can one write something if he/she doesn't have anything. How can reading be giving yourself up more and more when the reader, supposedly, has to gain and achieve from the book?
I intend to let these questions be. I do not want them to be answered. What can be done though, is to befriend these lines and see them in tandem. And perhaps the most important thing is to "not holding yourself at a distance and jeering." Because in doing so, we not only extinguish the possibility of either gaining anything or giving ourselves up, but the very space of two of the most beautiful things we know of: reading and writing.
Wednesday, August 4, 2010
The beautiful scenery so naturally lets loose words and I wonder if quotes of great men, for instance the so called transcendentalists, start echoing with the 'image' of imagination which inspires the witness to see. It can't be helped. I am reminded of words by Thoreau:
"The true harvest of my daily life is somewhat intangible and indescribable as the tints of morning or evening. It is a little star-dust caught, a segment of rainbow which I have clutched." ~ Walden
"The true harvest of my daily life....". Priceless words. Thoreau must have been a witness himself to sights like these. I can only imagine. Or go out there and see for myself. But as for now, in the cool shadow of this painting of a picture, I can perhaps, express/write :
The clouds, the sky
Hide a silver lining
Seeing a mountainous joy
My heart started pining...
The colors of this Rainbow
Are one and also many
Where the houses have a glow
Since you painted it in Harmony.
Day and Night, Sun and shade
Breezy branched leaves
Birds nesting under eaves
In the verdurous grass blade.
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