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The Limits of Satire

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Harvard Extension puts their course syllabi online for free download. https://www.extension.harvard.edu/academics/courses/fall-syllabi-course-websites Thanks to this generosity, I’m “taking” a course on satire now. Following a course syllabus is fun, because it makes me read things I otherwise wouldn’t, and think about them harder than I otherwise would. (I’m a lazy reader by nature.) I guess I’ve never understood satire, or rather never understood the limits of it. When I hear the word Satire, I think of […]

Burning heretics, orthodoxy, hypocrisy, etc.

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It turns out the very first medieval persons of Europe to be burned alive as Heretics were a group of 11th century priests who, after a trial in which they apparently ultimately confessed (I still have to search for details on the trial methods), were herded into a shack that was then set ablaze. The details of their heretical doctrines are scant, and it’s entirely possible the rift was only about political affiliations: who controlled […]

Routine creativity, and drunken parrots

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I just started reading Twyla Tharp’s The Creative Habit, and I don’t know why I never have before. Other than my generalized dislike for “self-help” type books. Already on chapter two, I feel inspired. On the topic of establishing rituals, Ms. Tharp shares that her morning routine is to wake up at 0dark:30, take a cab to the gym, and work out for two hours. Which is exactly the kind of nonsense advice you find […]

How many deniers are in a livre?

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1 livre = 20 sous = 240 deniers. I’m relieved we switched to a base ten system. That’s a whole lot of math. In the Carolingian period, only the denier was an actual coin, livres and sous were accounting tricks. Here’s something I was fascinated to find this week, in the book “La Vie Quotidienne dans l’Empire Carolingien,” by Pierre Riché, and maybe it’s just because my mind is on tax season. This is a […]

Best novel editing tip I’ve ever heard

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And this has nothing to do with “show, don’t tell” or “avoid passive voice” and subjective things like that. This is the best advice I have ever heard, and it came from Maxwell Alexander Drake, who is a reputable author, and who also gives free advice at https://www.drakeu.com/ For those of us lucky enough to live in Las Vegas, he does free monthly classes, year-round. And he has several excellent craft books out. Now I […]