So yesterday there I was—sitting in a fancy conference room with a new client (an emeritus professor) and three of the team members of his project, which includes the book I’m editing. They’re asking questions. My opinions. I’m trying to remember a really famous book, mainstream metaphysics, to use as an example. The title won’t come. The name of the famous author won’t even come. So I think (and talk) fast and use a different book to make my point. The meeting goes on. When it ends, the professor hands me a check and escorts me through the lobby to the gate. Cordial conversation. When do I remember the book title and author? About four hours later.Read More
My guest blogger this month is my son, Charles, to whom I gave his own page on this website. http://barbaraardinger.com/charles-ardinger/ . He’s an English teacher at Coastline Community College in Orange County, CA, where he’s taught classes on science fiction and Harry Potter. Mostly, however, he teaches pre-English 101 classes for students who aren’t quite ready for freshman comp. This is why he can speak and write so clearly and cogently about the esoterica of Gooder English.Read More
We’ve just passed the vernal (spring) equinox, one of the two days of the year in which day and night are supposed to be equal in length. (Here in SoCal, there’s about a five-minute difference.) As we all know, the dark and the light are often used metaphorically. Here are two pages from Pagan Every Day in which I wrote about “endarkenment” (yes, I’ve always enjoyed inventing words) and enlightenment. Too much of either is, I think, kinda dangerous.Read More
At noon last Sunday I cleared everything off my table. Next I got out the plastic folder in which I keep images torn from magazines and catalogs, pictures of cats, and fancy colored paper. Then I found my elementary school-size glue stick, a couple pairs of scissors, and my collection of sparkly stickers. Four hours later, I finished my 2017 collage. I started making these yearly collages in 1994, when my friend Suzan called together a group of her friends to make goal boards. We all brought our own poster board, and Suzan had a big pile of (mostly business) magazines on her floor. She directed us to search through them for images of goals we wanted to meet and things we wanted to acquire in 1994. Here’s my first goal board. It’s the only one that has corners.Read More
This is a story appropriate to Thanksgiving that I wrote for Feminism and Religion. If you didn’t read it there, I hope you’ll read it here.
Once upon a time there lived a youngish woman and her husband on a tiny farm outside the capital city. Their life was satisfactory. But when el presidente declared war on another country, the husband was press-ganged into the army, leaving his wife alone on the farm. Well, alone with a milk cow, a sow, a rooster, a dozen hens, and, on one side of the house, seven tiny graves holding stillborn babies. The woman was devastated. “What am I going to do?” she asked herself over and over again. “The land here is poor and infertile. I’m poor and infertile.” She was so unhappy, all she could do was mope around. The animals went untended and soon began foraging for food. The seven tiny graves went unweeded. Their one good field went unplowed. The woman stopped taking care of herself.Read More
This is a slightly rewritten version of a blog I wrote five years ago. I think it’s still (or more) germane today.
BLOGORRHEA. I just made this word up. (I haven’t seen it anywhere else.) It’s related of course to “logorrhea,” an “excessive flowing of words,” which is related to “diarrhea,” which comes from dia, “through,” and rhein, “flow” via Middle English, Latin, and Greek. I receive a lot of blogorrhea via email. I’m sure you do, too.Read More
That’s what my son says. He should know. Most of his babysitters were Ph.D. candidates in English, and now he teaches English at a community college in Orange County. One of the classes he teaches is English 99, which is pre-Freshman Comp (English 101). Nearly all of his students are still learning English, but they don’t know quite enough to cope with English 101.Read More
I’m a major fussbudget when I’m editing.
As I edit, I am fairly conservative about our language. I believe that we should respect its history and construction. That is, if there’s already a word that works, it may not be necessary to make up a new one (unless we do it for a specific purpose). Some years ago, for example, I campaigned on a listserv against the word “gaialog.” Using this stupid word instead of “dialog” to indicate women talking made me crazy.Read More
I’ve read Shakespeare. All of Shakespeare. (And, yes, I can sing along with Cole Porter’s “Brush Up Your Shakespeare.”) My M.A. and Ph.D. major was English Renaissance literature with an emphasis on the drama. That means Shakespeare and that bunch—his friends and rivals. I’ve also read a lot of Elizabethan and Jacobean history and Shakespeare criticism. Shakespeare wrote his plays to be performed by living actors, and that’s why I prefer productions with actors on stage, either live in front of me or on DVD. I have, in fact, a whole shelf of DVDs of Shakespeare’s plays, plus the big box of all 37 plays as produced by the BBC in the early 1980s. I once spent a month watching them all and wrote a blog about it.Read More
You have no doubt noticed that spiritual and religious writing is almost without exception Highly Serious. But look at the standard-brand monotheistic holy books, mainstream metaphysics, Eastern wisdom, channeled “wisdom,” books on philosophy and meditation—hardly a smile in any of it, never a giggle. “This is Deep Thought,” the earnest and learned ones seem to be telling us. “Our Religion Is Nothing To Laugh At.”
Why not? What on earth (or in the various heavens and hells) is so holy that we can’t make fun of it?Read More