Search This Blog

Saturday, April 30, 2011


Zeugma: Using a single verb or a single adjective to refer to two unrelated nouns; one with which the adjective or verb makes logical sense and one with which it is a stretch or completely illogical. For example, His foot stepped down, snapping a twig and his attention. Another example: A diva of the highest order, she ate red caviar and rubies.

An Example from Literature: Charles Dickens, The Pickwick Papers

Miss Bolo rose from the table considerably agitated, and went straight home, in a flood of tears and a sedan-chair.

My Try: Hortel Merriweather reached into the mailbox and retrieved the pink envelope. No return address she noted. Gently she released the flap from its seal and removed the folded sheet from inside. It read:

Dear Ladies of the United Daughters of the Confederacy,
An urgent matter pertaining to one of your members has recently come to my attention and my cause. Evidence was uncovered revealing that Mrs. Lou Ellen Sallywhite Whitmore's family lineage is not at all what she has reported on her official documents. She must be required to re-apply at once, supplying accurate information.

Records of the Tuscaloosa Riverbranch Memorial Hospital, formerly, Tuscaloosa General Medical Center show that Lou Ellen Sallywhite was mistakenly misidentified and sent home with the wrong family and destiny. You will also want include Charlie Duggan in your investigation of this matter, as he has intimate knowledge of this case.

Netty Duggan

Hortel no sooner folded the letter than she was on the phone with the presidents of Junior League, Daughters of the American Revolution, and Garden Club. Gossip boiled.

And Netty, well, she stared out the window riding down Interstate 40, her inheritance claimed.
And so it is done. I don't know that I like this ending. Netty got the truth and gave Lou Ellen the payback she'd always desired to, but quite possibly she ruined her chances of ever going home. Can you think of a better ending? If not, try out your zeugma on me.
(This blog post is brought to you as a part of the April A to Z Challenge.)

Now I know my ABCs, next time won't you write with me.

Friday, April 29, 2011


Yarn: A long rambling tale that frequently deals with adventure or tall-tales and is told in colloquial or idiomatic English.

An Example from Literature: Lincoln's Yarns and Stories: A Complete Collection of the Funny and Witty Anecdotes by Alexander K. McClure - Abe Lincoln is known as the story telling president. He used his tales to communicate and teach lessons.

My Try: Begin at April 1st and read back through the My Try section of each post and you will read a yarn.

My favorite yarn is the one about the three legged pig. It's in my book If Mama Don't Laugh, It Ain't Funny. I also had an uncle who loved to weave stories for us kids. Usually he tried to scare us at the end. I both loved and hated when he would tell us one of his yarns. What's your favorite yarn? Who told it to you? What did you get from it?

(This blog post is brought to you as a part of the April A to Z Challenge.)

April 30th - Zeugma

Thursday, April 28, 2011


Xenia: In Greek, the laws of hospitality. It is the act of showing generosity and courtesy to people far from home. Travelers and visitors to strange places may ask for food, shelter, and assistance to continue their journey. It was expected in ancient times that the person asked would graciously provide whatever the traveler needed or else endure the wrath of Zeus. Both guest and host must show respect to one another and the host must give the guest a departing gift.

An Example from Literature: Homer's The Odyssey - The Phaeacians applied the tenets of xenia, as the princess and her maids offered to bathe Odysseus and then led him to the palace to be fed and entertained.

My Try: Welcome to Lizards Thicket, Home of the Muscadine Maidens read the sign at the four-way intersection. A two-pump gas station with a plastic sign that said BUS STOP propped in the window welcomed the dust from journeymen's shoes for the past 60 years. When her Greyhound pulled in, Netty decided this was as good a place as any to use the restroom and buy a Hershey bar.

A small Christmas bell attached to the top of the door announced her entry. "What can I do for you today, young lady?" a weathered man wearing faded tattoos on both forearms cheerfully asked. His fingernails were black with engine grease, though Netty, from the bare landscape, couldn't figure whose cars "Jimmy," the embroidered oval on his shirt read, had fixed. "Yeah, not much left of Lizards Thicket," he continued, as if reading her mind. "Just me and the Muscadine Maidens." He pointed to six bobblehead figurines holding baskets of grapes. "My uncle brought 'em home from the war."

The only folks through Lizards Thicket anymore used it as a portal to whatever they thought lay at the end of the crossroads. "If you can get here," Jimmy said, "you can get anywhere in the world. Yep, you're standing at one of the centers of the Universe."

"Can you mail a letter for me?" Netty asked.

"Sure can. Be happy to. How 'bout a Co-cola? On me." Netty nodded and gave him the pretty pink envelope. "Like I said, you can get anywhere if you can get to Lizards Thicket. You can even get back to whatever it is you're running from."

The bus driver waved, indicating time to go. Jimmy handed Netty a map, plus some salted peanuts for her Coke. He shrugged off her dollar bills. "Always remember where you came from. It'll help you to know where you're going."

How do you show hospitality to others? Does it come naturally to you or do you have to work at it?

(This blog post is brought to you as a part of the April A to Z Challenge.)

April 29th - Yarn

P.S. I'm in panic mode. Two days remaining to wrap up this story. If I chewed 'em, my fingernails would be nubs. If I smoked 'em, my ashtray would be full of cigarette butts. Right about now would be a great time to take up a vice so I could relieve some stress.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011


Wanderjahr: Refers to taking time out from one's normal routine. Many American college students travel out west, or go backpacking across Europe, in search of themselves before getting on with the rest of their lives. This is a wanderjahr. I went on a three month wanderjahr to the ski slopes of Utah when I was a senior in college. Myself and I had a good time. A character' wanderjahr can also be  period during which he or she engages in deep thought or seeks personal insight. 

An Example from Literature: Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert recounts her personal wanderjahr.

My Try: "I won't be coming to visit anymore, Mama. I'm done," Netty said, not sure if it mattered, saying it. "You had me all these years thinking I was someone I'm not. It wasn't me you couldn't bear to see everyday. You hardly saw me at all. And instead of telling me or daddy the truth you crawl in the church freezer during Lou Ellen's bridal brunch."
AnnaBelle Mae had helped Netty pack her suitcases, nattering on about how Netty needed to stay home and take care of those chillun. Netty promised she would write and that she would be back before anyone hardly missed her. But she had to go. She had denied the world its chance at her and this was her time to face it. "Yo daddy's heart is breaking double-over," AnnaBelle Mae told her.

"Daddy's heart cain't break," Netty answered. "It's dried up."

AnnaBelle Mae shook her head at Netty. "You go on then. When you find yo' self, bring her on back here with you, 'cause I sure want to meet who you really is, if'n this ain't you I'm looking at."
Have you ever gone on a Wanderjahr? Where did you go? Why? What did you do? How did it broaden your understanding of self and the world?

(This blog post is brought to you as a part of the April A to Z Challenge.)

April 28th - Xenia

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Verbal Irony

Down to the final week of the April A to Z Challenge and I'm pressured to both complete my dictionary of literary devices with examples from literature as well as complete Netty's story to my readers' satisfaction.

Verbal Irony: Irony is saying one thing and meaning another. Verbal irony is the same thing as sarcasm and may be applied to the dialogue of characters or a book's narrator. Often the reader understands the irony of the statement, but the other character or characters do not. Sarcasm, along with chocolate, is my guilty pleasure.

An Example from Literature: Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice

It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife.

My Try: Netty wished those nursing home doors weren't automated to silently slide open. It took the gusto out of her entrance which would have been so much better if she could have swung them wide and marched through in one complete motion. Instead she stutter-stepped in front of them then passed through, thoroughly unnoticed by the nursing staff and the residents.

She made an extra effort to click her heels across the floor for dramatic effect, but she was wearing rubber soled sandals that only succeeded in making a slap-slap sound.

"Mama," she sharply spoke to a woman parked in a wheelchair near, but not facing, the television. Her mouth hung open beneath vacant eyes and one palsied arm bent up on her chest. "Mama," Netty spoke again, "you were so smart knowing everything would turn out this way. I'm so proud to say you're my mama. I must be the luckiest girl in the world to have a mama who cares about me so much she would crawl into a deep freeze and crystallize her brains to make things all better. Look at you now. Better than ever."

Netty took a tissue and wiped a strand of drool from her unresponsive mother's chin.

Do you use sarcasm or avoid it? What's your favorite sarcastic remark? When do you use it?

(This blog post is brought to you as a part of the April A to Z Challenge.)

April 27th - Wanderjahr

Monday, April 25, 2011


And so begins the last week of the A to Z Challenge. My alphabetical dictionary of literary devices is almost complete, as is Netty's story. Keep visiting to see how it all turns out. For anyone just joining the thread, start at the April 1st post and read forward through the My Try section to catch up with Netty.

Understatement: Succinctly, it is the opposite of hyperbole (exaggeration). Understatement allows the writer to show appreciation for his readers' intellect and works most effectively where tension has been built so that there is something to understate. To say that the April A to Z Challenge was child's play is an understatement ( as well as a cliche).

An Example from Literature: C.S. Lewis, The Silver Chair

And you, who have told me a hundred times how deeply you pitied me for the sorceries by which I was bound, will doubtless hear with joy that they are now ended for ever. There was, it seems, some small error in your Ladyship's way of treating them.

My Try: After hearing Netty's piece, Lou Ellen stood and straightened her skirt. Then her back stiffened at the sound of the front door slamming. She'd forgotten all about Roy coming home for lunch.
"Well, hey girls," he waltzed into the room, oblivious to the wire about to snap. "What y'all up to on this fine afternoon. Sakes, you'd never know by today what a whirl last night was." He looked Netty up and down, appraising her slender figure handsomly set atop tan legs and noticed for the first her hollow eyes. Lord almighty, he mumbled under his breath, she is here about that Junior League mess.
Lou Ellen dropped her chin, then lifted her face, softened, to her husband. She bubbled, "Hey Roy, Netty here was just telling me the cutest story about a couple of babies mixed up at birth." Gushing, Lou Ellen continued, "But I think she forgot the punchline of her little joke. When you remembah it you call me, now, Netty, you heah," escorting Netty steadily out the door.
May as well have been whispering in a pig's ear, Netty told no one as she reentered the day, her distaste for Lou Ellen invigorated. Oh, but she had something; something her mother couldn't find in the ice at the bottom of a highball glass or in the bed of deceit. Something that, nonetheless, her mother had gifted without even intending to; an inheritance of sorts.

Why does understatement work to advance a story? Do you have any good examples of understatement? What "inheritance" did Netty's mother leave her?
(This blog post is brought to you as a part of the April A to Z Challenge.)

April 26th - Verbal Irony

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Tactile Imagery

Tactile Imagery: A description that involves the sense of touch. It tells how something physically feels to the skin.

An Example from Literature: H.G. Wells, The Time Machine

At once, like a lash across the face, came the possibility of losing my own age, of being left helpless in this strange new world.

My Try: The scratch of the sofa on the backs of her legs reminded Netty of the synthetic scrub of that shag carpet all those many years ago. In the same way that she had been abandoned there by indifference, she was again today. She wanted to feel the warm grasp of saving hands taking her by the shoulders and relieving her of this burden, but only an invisible cold palm pressed against her back, turning her toward, or maybe away from - she couldn't tell - a sharp corner. The nubs of the Berber carpet jutted up under her feet. Odd, she thought, to notice that now.

Lou Ellen waited.

"My mama, before she crawled into that freezer at the church, she left a letter. For me. For us." Netty felt the palms of her hands moisten. "It explains some things."

What do you think the letter from Netty's mama says?

(This blog post is brought to you as a part of the April A to Z Challenge.)

April 25th - Understatement

Friday, April 22, 2011


Simile: A comparison made by between two things using the words like or as. _________________ is like ______________. It ____________________ as ____________________. A very simple literary device to use, it has been employed almost since the beginning of time.

An Example from Literature: Ernest Hemingway, The Sun Also Rises

“The café was like a battleship stripped for action.”

My Try: Netty sat on the sofa like she might slip down a rabbit hole if she didn't cling on. She could hear Lou Ellen on the phone in the other room. Patience and resolve held hands, swinging their arms as school children do when gathering momentum to sprint away across the playground. They might for sure skip out on her if Lou Ellen didn't get on back pretty quick. Front door freedom was a lot closer than back door salvation at this point.

Create a silly simile and leave it as a comment. I enjoy reading your ideas, so tell me, what do you think will happen next? Will Netty run while she can? Or will she stay?

(This blog post is brought to you as a part of the April A to Z Challenge.)

April 23rd - Tactile Imagery

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Regional Dialect

Regional Dialect: Dialect refers to specific speech patterns within a language; therefore regional dialect refers to speech patterns recognizable in a specific geographic location, regardless of race or social class. For example, use of the contrived word, ain't, although it has spread to other locations, is distinctly southern and is common across socio-economic classes and ethnic groups.

An Example from Literature: William Faulkner, As I Lay Dying

The cow nuzzles at me, moaning. "You’ll just have to wait. What you got in you ain’t nothing to what I got in me, even if you are a woman too." She follows me, moaning.

My Try: Lou Ellen's cell phone blurted out a yelp that made Lou Ellen jump. It was Roy. She pressed the key with the green phone icon. "Hey," she answered.

"Where you at?" said Roy.

"Home," Lou Ellen told him, not wanting to say much more.

Roy's voice pushed, "Who all's there?" He always wanted an update on the status of things before he could ever get to the point of his call. It was something that drove Lou Ellen most crazy about him; and not crazy in the good way.

"Just Netty," she sighed.

"She ain't still goin' on 'bout that Junior League thing is she?" asked Roy, always amazed at how women could hold on to irritation like a man holds on to teenage longings.

Lou Ellen didn't want to say much. She knew something was bad wrong. Netty didn't look right in the face, like she'd gone and snapped a twig just like her mama did. "No," replied Lou Ellen. "Says she's fixin' to tell me somethin' real important, that she's got some kinda news." Lou Ellen was well aware of Roy's latent crush on Netty and she braced herself for his response.

"Well tell her to go on and fix some lunch while she's fixin' on stuff, 'cause I'm on my way home."

In what region do you live? Is it distinguished by a particular way of speaking? Do tell.

(This blog post is brought to you as a part of the April A to Z Challenge.)

April 22nd - Simile

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Quem Quaeritis

Quem Quaeritis: The Quem Quaeritis? was an exchange of one question, one answer, and one command between the Angels at Christ's tomb and the three Marys, the Virgin Mary, Mary Magdalene, and Mary, the sister of Lazarus. The specific question "Quem quaeritis?" "Whom do you seek?" is not in fact in Luke 24, where it is implied but omitted: "Why seek ye the living among the dead?." The actual question is directly expressed only in the non-canonical Gospel of Peter. Although short, this excerpt of text would later snowball into a huge body of religious medieval plays, and evolve into various genres, such as liturgical drama and mystery plays. (Quoted from Wikipedia.)

An Example from Literature: John Gassner, editor, Medieval and Tudor Drama

Question [by the Angels]: Whom do ye seek in the sepulcher, O followers of Christ?
Answer [by the Marys]: Jesus of Nazareth, the Crucified, O heavenly ones.
The Angels: He is not here; he is risen, just as he foretold. Go, announce that he is risen from the sepulchre.

My Try: [Obviously, I'm not going to suddenly change course today and write a medieval drama or liturgical play. But I'm going to use the inspiration for that body of work, the Quem Quaeritis, to inspire today's scene in Netty's drama.]

AnnaBelle Mae hurried up the stairs to Netty's room. She and Mr. Duggan had managed to drag Netty into the safety of the stairwell the night before. That's when he saw the letter in her hand. AnnaBelle Mae didn't know what to do when he started trying to pry open Netty's fingers. To her that old envelope with rain-washed ink didn't seem so important as getting Netty upstairs into a hot bath and then to bed.

Entering Netty's room, AnnaBelle Mae stopped short in the doorway. Mr. Duggan was sitting on the bed with a crumpled paper in his hand. Sunlight streamed in the windows, denying that there had ever been a storm.

"Who are you looking for, AnnaBelle Mae?" Charlie Duggan's voice had a strange timbre of calm.

"Miss Netty. Your daughter, Mr. Duggan," answered AnnaBelle Mae.

"She isn't here. You knew she wouldn't be. Go on downstairs and call Lou Ellen and tell her." Charlie Duggan closed his eyes.

How did I do? Do you think this is an appropriate interpretation of Quem Quaeritis? How would you have done this differently? Any and all comments are welcome.
(This blog post is brought to you as a part of the April A to Z Challenge.)

April 21st - Regional Dialect

Tuesday, April 19, 2011


Personification: It is the technique of applying human characteristics, behaviors, or thoughts to abstractions, animals, ideas, and inanimate objects. When moonlight tritely dances on water, it is personified all the same.
An Example from Literature: Emily Dickinson, The Train

I like to see it lap the miles,
And lick the valleys up,
And stop to feed itself at tanks;
And then, prodigious, step

Around a pile of mountains,
And, supercilious, peer
In shanties by the sides of roads;
And then a quarry pare

My Try: The tornado pirouetted on tip-toe, an angry, drunken dancer spinning out of control. She stumbled over rooftops and crashed through trees, flinging lesser objects from her path.
Charlie and AnnaBelle Mae heard the swelling whistle of the tornado's approach and screamed frantically at Netty. Netty, on her knees, fists shaking at the sky, either ignored their pleas or couldn't hear them.
"She gone wrestle that tornado!" Netty hollered, panicked.

How about writing your own example of personification as a comment? Or tell me what you think will happen next in Netty's ongoing story. I love reading your ideas.
(This blog post is brought to you as a part of the April A to Z Challenge.)

April 20th - Quem Quaeritis

Monday, April 18, 2011


Onomatopoeia: Using words to represent or mimic sounds. Out of context, many such words would be nonsense. Writers use them for artistic effect. Essentially, they add interest and allow a reader to "hear" what is happening rather than simply read a description of it.
An Example from Literature: The Highwayman by Alfred Noyes

Over the cobbles he clattered and clashed in the dark inn-yard,
He tapped with his whip on the shutters, but all was locked and barred...

My Try: Ka-clatticah, ka-clat, ka-clatti-clat-ti-clat-ti-kah. The screened door slapped furiously against its frame, as if wrestling itself from the hinges holding it in place. Klatti-ca-clatlclatclat. Netty ran into the front yard still grasping the letter and threw herself to her knees beneath the angry sky. Clouds roiled overhead and in the distance a low roar seemed to be building somewhere within the gut of the wind. She couldn't hear AnnaBelle Mae or her daddy yelling to her to come back in the house. They couldn't see what she held in her hand.

Onomatopoeia words are part of our common everyday language. Emeril Lugasse is, in fact, known for his signature BAM! What sound words do you frequently use?

(This blog post is brought to you as a part of the April A to Z Challenge.)

April 19th - Personification

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Nom de Plume

Nom de Plume: Who do I want to be? Nom de plume is the answer to that question. Nom de plume is an uppity, French way of saying pen name, a made-up moniker an author publishes under to conceal his or her true identity.

An Example from Literature: Mary Ann Cross used the name George Eliot to hide that she was a female writer.

My Try: Using a nom de plume is an opportunity to be someone else, a fictitious figure writing about factitious figures. There's some irony in that, don't you think? I used the technique of anagram, rearranging the letters of a word or phrase to construct a new word or phrase, to determine my pen name (drum roll please):

Dacy Smaul

What's your pen name and how did you choose it? Tell me in a comment.

(This blog post is brought to you as a part of the April A to Z Challenge.)

April 18th - Onomatopoeia

Friday, April 15, 2011


If you're just joining me on the April A to Z Challenge, welcome and thank you for visiting. I've organized my A to Z posts around a dictionary of literary devices. I give a definition, an example from literature, and then I take a stab at each entry in the My Try heading. You can follow the ongoing story of our heroine, Netty, by going back to April 1st and reading forward through all of the My Trys. Or you can just enjoy today's example. Please take the time to leave a try of your own in the comments.

Metaphor: Some people do not know whata meta is phor. They think it is like or as a simile. That makes me si-mile. In truth, we use metaphors every day without even realizing we're doing it. For example, if we say we're climbing the ladder of success, we're speaking in metaphor. A metaphor is created by having one thing represent, or stand for, another. In its purest form, it is the practice of analogy or comparison by implying that one object is another.

An Example from Literature: Enid Bagnold in National Velvet 

"The rain came down in long knitting needles."

My Try: Netty's hands trembled. The white envelope, truth with the flap sealed shut, crinkled in her grasp. Open only upon my death, was scrawled in hasty lettering on the front. Her mama wasn't exactly dead, but Netty knew that after all these years her mama wasn't coming back. The envelope held answers; it held secrets. A whispered, hoarse voice urged her to rip open the truth and let it out. But then, if she did, it could never be put back again into its neat and tidy package. AnnaBelle Mae looked on from the sliver in the kitchen door and watched while the thunder rolled. Rain is acomin', she thought.

Show us whata meta is phor. Leave your own metaphor as a comment.

(This blog post is brought to you as a part of the April A to Z Challenge.)

April 16th - Nom de plume

Thursday, April 14, 2011


Limerick: One of the favorite poem forms of the school child, a limerick is a five-line closed-form poem with an AABBA rhyme scheme. Often the limerick pokes fun or is plafully tawdry. Clever double meaning is typical.

An Example from Literature: From Edward Lear

There was a Young Lady whose eyes,

Were unique as to colour and size;
When she opened them wide,
People all turned aside,
And started away in surprise

My Try: Animosity erupted between Netty and Lou Ellen as soon as Lou Ellen's family moved to town from Tuscaloosa. Lou Ellen's daddy came to take over the Michelin plant and her family had more money than five local families combined. Lou Ellen flaunted her pretty clothes and big bows and correct grammar like a red carpet rolled out befpre her. Netty and her best friend Anna made up a limerick that they chanted quietly so teachers couldn't hear:
We know girl named Lou Ellen
We puke cause her feet are a-smellin'
She eats with her toes
Mold grows in her nose
It's so bad the angels are yellin'

Leave a limerick as a comment.

(This blog post is brought to you as a part of the April A to Z Challenge.)

April 15th - Metaphor

Wednesday, April 13, 2011


Kigo: A kigo is a season word in Japanese haiku poetry (governed by the convention of 5 syllables in the first line, 7 syllables in the second line, 5 syllables in the third line). The season word can either be used outright or implied with strong imagery or connotation.It establishes atmosphere for the poem. One can use actual names of seasons or months or one can use words hinting to them. for example, in the south, words referring to summer would include humid, hot, sweltering, mosquito, cricket din, watermelon, tomato vine.
An Example from Literature: A haiku with a kigo by Bashó:

Kare eda ni
Karasu no tomari keri
Aki no kure

On a leafless bough
A crow is perched--
The autumn dusk.

My Try: Netty's childhood was lost in a haze of brown liquor and smoke. Innocence rubbed off in the scratchy fuzz of shag carpet, while aloof, disconnected parents turned the other way. Sitting in the darkness of the screened porch, the cricket din drowning out inebriation from within the house, she ruthlessly recorded teenage angst in her journal by the ambient glow of the lone streetlight:
Humid breath cloaks me
Blood-thirsty mosquitoes
I am empty, lost
Compose your own haiku with a kigo. Leave it as a comment. Also, feel free to tell me where you think Netty's story should head.

(This blog post is brought to you as a part of the April A to Z Challenge.)

April 14th - Limerick

Tuesday, April 12, 2011


Juxtaposition: Placing ideas, characters, actions, settings, phrases, or words side-by-side or in similar narrative moments for the purpose of comparison, contrast, rhetorical effect, suspense, or character development.

An Example from Literature: In The Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane, a romanticised illusion of war is juxtaposed against the harsh realities of battle.

My Try: Netty sent Mary Alice and Jim out to the kitchen with AnnaBelle Mae. Hearing the swinging door rock shut, she turned to the man cocked back in the oversized armchair. "Daddy, I'm not like Mama. She and I are not the same person. It's enough with these accusations all the time. Especially in front of the children. There's no sense in dragging them into that crusty overcoat of bitterness with you."

Netty studied her father. Every time he got like this, he couldn't be reasoned with. And Netty was a persistent reminder of the terrible things her mother had done. They had the same chestnut hair and hazel eyes. Their long necks and full lips were almost identical. Sometimes, Charlie had to look away and catch his breath. "Daddy, I got a hole in my heart, too. You know I do. But I'm not fooling around with Roy. I just got mad with Lou Ellen is all." Netty placed her hand over her father's. "I'm not Mama," she whispered.

Share your thoughts on Netty's story so far. What do you think will happen next?

(This blog post is brought to you as a part of the April A to Z Challenge.)

April 13th - Kigo

Monday, April 11, 2011


Idiom: An idiom is an expression in one language that cannot be translated word-for-word in another language. Southerners speak in idioms, which is why it is so difficult for people from other regions of the country to assimilate into southern culture. They're always translating everything we say literally, and thus taking offense to it or deciding we're stupid. An idiom, very simply, is an expression with figurative meaning that is separate from the literal meaning. For example, saying someone has a bee in her bonnet means she is obsessed with something, not that she is about to get stung and we're going to say nothing and watch it happen.

An Example from Literature: The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton

"Johnny worshiped the ground Dallas walked on."

My Try: "Girl," croaked Charlie Duggan, taking a sip of the brown liquid in his glass and making the ice clink again when he set it back down, "you know you can't rely on that man. If you're leaning on Roy, you're leaning on a limber reed." Jim and Mary Alice looked from their mother to their grandfather. The biting anger in his voice was unmistakable.

What common idioms do you use? List a couple in the comments section.

(This blog post is brought to you as a part of the April A to Z Challenge.)

April 12th - Juxtaposition

Sunday, April 10, 2011

My Review

Not for Your Everyday Genius

By Lucy Adams from Thomson, GA on 4/10/2011


5out of 5

What I really, really like about this game:
* The name. I can say it in front of my mother and not get southern daughter guilt for it.
* No board. No dice. No game pieces to keep up with.
* Unlike other trivia games, this one has clues. Eventually, after enough clues, someone is going to know the answer.
* The trivia questions, unlike those in other trivia games, can be answered by the average human. How many times have I played trivia with my family and grown bored because all of the questions are too ridiculously difficult for anyone to answer?
* This game made me feel smart.

What I don't like about this game:
* The name. My children tortured me by reading it off of the lid over and over again just to tweak me.
* It's for ages 12 and up, but I don't think anyone under the age of about 25 could answer many of the questions, even with clues. That of course is only my opinion and I could be wrong.
* This set is probably better as a booster pack for the Smart [Donkey's Pah-toot] board game. You can't play over and over again with just this set because it's too easy to memorize all of the questions and answers after going through them one time.

I played with my parents, husband, brother, sister-in-law and a friend. The rules were easy. Nonetheless, we found plenty of issues to disagree on, such as whether or not a person had to say the exact words "fish tank" or if saying "aquarium" or "fish bowl" was enough. So we had a terrific evening.

Smart [Donkey's Pah-toot] Game.wmv

Tags: Trivia, Product, Game night, Party game, Party, Game, Review


My Review

Totally Gross Makes Kids Giggle

By Lucy Adams from Thomson, GA on 4/10/2011


5out of 5

Totally Gross is a great family game that makes everyone giggle. Kids love it becuase they can say words like "fart" and discuss the size of an elephant's private parts without parental reprimand. Parents love it because it's a game that teaches children that science is fun.

This is travel size game, but it's not really suited for playing while actually traveling. Although the board is small enough to fit on an airplane tray or on a car seat, it is not magnetized. A bit of turbulence will send the playing pieces flying and the card decks sliding.

My family chose to play it at the kitchen table. The game board was somewhat too small for the kitchen table. Still, we were able to advance our playing pieces.

One suggestion: Although the game is designed for 2-4 players, my family of six divided into three teams of two players each. This arrangement not only solved the problem of having more players than playing pieces, but also increased discussion about scientific principles as teammates negotiated and considered (an argued about) answers to the trivia questions.

The video included with this review provides an overview of the contents of the game box as well as a sample question.

Totally Gross Review.wmv

Tags: Gross, Family, Review, Totally Gross, Totally, Trivia game, Game


Saturday, April 9, 2011


Hyperbole: An exaggeration or overstatement. Both Southerners and histrionic women, alike, speak in hyperbole as a rule. Woe be unto the man who finds himself tangled with a southern histrionic woman.

An Example from Literature: Carl Sandburg in his poem, "The People, Yes"

It's a slow burg—I spent a couple of weeks there one day.

My Try: Ice clinked thunderously in his glass as Netty came in the door. The familiar noise stopped her cold on the carpet. "Where ya' been Netty?" asked Charlie Duggan. "You know Lou Ellen won't like to find out you been over at her house when she's not home." Just then, Mary Alice and Jim pounded down the stairs to greet their mother.

Leave an exaggerated comment.

(This blog post is brought to you as a part of the April A to Z Challenge.)

April 11th - Idiom

Friday, April 8, 2011


Gradatio: Repeating the last word of a clause at the beginning of the next clause for several clauses in a row. The rhythmical pattern carries the reader across the text and establishes a connection between words and ideas.

An Example from Literature: In the New Testament of the Bible, St. Paul states, "We glory in tribulations also, knowing that tribulation worketh patience; and patience, experience; and experience, hope, and hope maketh man not ashamed."

My Try: AnnaBelle Mae looked at Dorothea, who had not so much as grunted. "Are you listenin' to me? I'm tellin' you that girl goin' down a slippery slope. Slippery slope gone lead to a muddy pit. Muddy pit gone make for a messy situation. Messy situation gone make me lose my job. Are you listenin', Dorothea? Rainy days is comin'."

Gradatio has a graceful lilt, does it not? Grace the comments with your gradatio.

(This blog post is brought to you as a part of the April A to Z Challenge.)

April 9th - Hyperbole

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Freudian Slip

Freudian Slip: Alluding to Freudian psychology which emphasises a link between sexual desires and the subconcious mind, it is slip of the tongue in which a person says one thing, but means another. In is involuntary and completely accidental. The Freudian slip is a verbal error believed to reveal a suppressed thought, desire or emotion. Writers employ it to provide information about the hidden desires of characters.

An Example from Literature: In Spider Robinson's Callahan's Secret, Jake introduces himself to Mary at their first meeting with the opening line, "It certainly is a very nice tits."

My Try: Netty put on her blue power dress and marched herself right over to Lou Ellen's door. No way that woman would spread rumors about Netty walking and smoking at the Kroger without Netty having a say. Netty mashed the brains out of that doorbell button, but on the inside of the house the doorbell rang the same as it always did, never letting on to the strain it was under beneath Netty's red-nailed index finger. "Hey there, Roy," she said when Lou Ellen's husband swung open the door. He'd had a thing for Netty since the 7th grade when they kissed in his parent's basement during the Christmas party. "Lou Ellen ain't here. She took the new Suburban for a spin around the bottle to see if she can park in it okay."

Are you slipping on Freud? Leave it as a comment, but keep it PG, please.

(This blog post is brought to you as a part of the April A to Z Challenge.)

April 8th - Gradatio

Wednesday, April 6, 2011


Enallage: Misusing grammar for the purpose of characterizing a speaker or creating a memorable phrase. Intentionally misusing grammar to characterize a speaker or to create a memorable phrase. Enellage is not the same as the traditional and uncomfortably acceptable misuse of grammar pervasive in the southern United States. It is the intentional misuse of grammar by a writer who knows correct usage from incorrect.

An Example from Literature: Shakespeare, Henry IV (Part 2): "Is there not wars? Is there not employment?"

My Try: After work, Netty in no condition to drive her home, AnnaBelle Mae, waddled down to the corner to catch a ride with Dorothea who cleans for Miss Cicily. "I don't know 'bout that Miz Netty," AnnaBelle Mae confided in Dorothea. "She think she suffering, but ain't got no idea 'bout real suffering. She like Job's wife. Got herself a good man, but God hisself could come down here and ask, 'Netty Duggan, what I can do to make you happry?' and she'd spit in his eye."

Enallage - your chance to get it right using it wrong. No one will correct you today. Leave your example as a comment, if you will.

(This blog post is brought to you as a part of the April A to Z Challenge.)

April 7th - Freudian Slip

Tuesday, April 5, 2011


Diacope: This device, when used correctly, aids the author in expressing strong emotion. It is the uninterrupted repetition of a word or phrase. The repetition make be broken with one or two words between each repeated phrase.

An Example from Literature: Edgar Allan Poe's "The Bells," in which Poe writes,

To the swinging and the ringing
Of the bells, bells, bells--
Of the bells, bells, bells, bells,
Bells, bells, bells--

My Try: AnnaBelle Mae ran her dust cloth over the side table and glanced at Netty. Netty stared off in one of her trances again, at least that's how AnnaBelle Mae thought of them. Netty had things on her mind. Heavy, heavy things that AnnaBelle Mae, much as she loved Netty, couldn't clean away like she could the crumbs on the kitchen table. Oh, Netty, thought AnnaBelle Mae, chile, chile, chile. Sweet, lonesome-faced chile. What is it that's caught in those cobwebs of your soul, chile?

Many things bear repeating. I invite you to leave your diacope as a comment.

(This blog post is brought to you as a part of the April A to Z Challenge.)

April 6th - Enallage

Monday, April 4, 2011


Catachresis - Though it hearkens to an ailment a person might research on WebMD, it is actually a figure of speech or implied metaphor that describes a completely impossible action, sight, sound, event or situation. It results from combining other extreme figures of speech such as anthimeria (sounds like a disease one might contract in South America), hyperbole, synaesthesia and metonymy. A writer might employ catachresis to emphasize an important aspect of a character's personality or problem, to entertain the reader or to illicit strong emotion.

An Example from Literature - Shakespeare's Hamlet says of Gertrude, "I will speak daggers to her."

My Try: Everyone stayed clear of Principal Duggan. He bitterly went through the routine of his day, biding his time until retirement, when he could at last collect his pension and escape middle school torment. No one, not teachers or students, could pinpoint the place in Mr. Duggan's career, where his heart got tangled in barbed wire. Naturally, folks around town suspected Netty had something to do with it. Of course, the barbed wire had only coiled and knotted ever tighter over the years until the odds of it being loosened now were slimmer than a Milan runway model.

Try sculpting with catachresis. Leave it as a comment, if you will.

(This blog post is brought to you as a part of the April A to Z Challenge.)

April 5th - Diacope

Saturday, April 2, 2011


Blending - Taking two or more expressions and shortening at least one of them. This results in a made-up word that is not part of everyday normal vocabulary. It is a useful tool for humor writers who desire to express a common, ordinary idea in an unfamiliar or surprising way or who seek to make something normally considered serious silly.

An Example from Literature: Lewis Carroll's chortle arrived at by combining the words chuckle and snort.

My Try: Before the gavel call-to-order, Lou Ellen and her cronies gathered in their tight-knit clique, huddled against Junior League inclusiveness. Lou Ellen whispered, "I saw Netty in the Kroger parking lot yesterday. She was walking and smoking."

"Smalking," gasped Kathy Sue.

The group agreed that the Junior League Board must address this egregious error in ladylike ways. A necessary course of disciplinary action for Netty's breach of conduct, reflecting poorly on the group as a whole, was in order. Smalking has not ever and shall not ever be tolerated.

Give it a try yourself. Comment a blend, or, in another word, clombent, please.

(This post is brought to you as part of the April A to Z Challenge.)

April 4th - Catachresis

Friday, April 1, 2011


Alliteration - Not to be confused with illiterate, which means unable to read. Alliteration is the technique of repeating a consonant sound in close proximity to others, or beginning several words with the same vowel sound. This device creates continuity and a consciousness of language rolling off of the lips. Read the previous sentence out loud and you will understand it better.

An Example from Literature: Coleridge describes the sacred river Alph in Kubla Khan as "Five miles meandering with a mazy motion."

My Try: No mother knew the tribulations more intimately than Netty, who prided herself in prudence and privacy. To look at her, was to gaze upon the grail of grace and good manners. Behind her front door, however, hid haunting secrets of her other side.

Oh yeah! That's the n to the m to the t to the p to the g to the h. I am alliterate; again, not to be confused with illiterate.

Take a crack at it. Leave your alliterate comment.

(This post is brought to you as part of the April A to Z Challenge.)

April 2nd - Blending