Do you like to look at maps and wonder who lives there, who drew the map, what world is this? This Atlas Obscura article is a true treasure trove of fictional maps created by some of your favorite authors. From Thomas More’s Utopia through the Swiss Family Robinson and JRR Tolkien, fiction and fantasy books have taken readers to places they never imagined and only readers can explore.
One of life’s great treats, for a lover of books (especially fantasy books), is to open a cover to find a map secreted inside and filled with the details of a land about to be discovered. A writer’s map hints at a fully imagined world, and at the beginning of a book, it’s a promise. In the middle of a book, it’s a touchstone and a guide. And at the end, it’s a reminder of all the places the story has taken you.
Very few of us know the original verses of this Civil War-era poem by Henry Wardsworth Longfellow. He wrote the words in 1864 after the Civil War had raged for three years. Lincoln had barely won his second presidential election. Longfellow had recently lost his beloved wife, Fanny. His elder son had been severely wounded while serving with the Union Army. For several months he had been unable to write any poetry and that also weighed heavily upon him.
(The original poem, complete with all seven stanzas)
“I heard the bells on Christmas Day
Their old familiar carols play,
And wild and sweet
The words repeat
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!
And thought how, as the day had come,
The belfries of all Christendom
Had rolled along
The unbroken song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!
Till, ringing, singing on its way,
The world revolved from night to day,
A voice, a chime
A chant sublime
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!
Then from each black accursed mouth
The cannon thundered in the South,
And with the sound
The carols drowned
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!
It was as if an earthquake rent
The hearth-stones of a continent,
And made forlorn
The households born
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!
And in despair I bowed my head;
“There is no peace on earth,” I said;
“For hate is strong,
And mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!”
Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
“God is not dead; nor doth he sleep!
The Wrong shall fail,
The Right prevail,
With peace on earth, good-will to men!”
I originally saw this challenge on Parralax maintained by PVCann.
Lilian at dVerse has invited Paul to write a quadrille (44 words) using the word glow (or a form of that word). Paul challenged us to use Glow in a Quadrille poem of our own.
This was my response to Paul’s challenge.
A candle’s glow
Streetlights through snow
Hitting our faces
As we wander slow
Smelling the scent
Of fir and pine
On windows, doors
And one street sign
Sound in our ears
Accompanying the carolers
As they draw near
Christmas shortly to arrive
Hope’s glow will surive.
Many of us are not there yet–where we are well established enough to have people seek us out for help. If that day ever arrvies, this column lays out the how to factor in the Cost of Kindness. via The Cost of Kindness
I’m adding the machine-generated English translation to this sweet entry from Words and Music by Luisa Zambrotta.
On September 22, in the English-speaking countries, the day of the Diary is celebrated (“Dear Diary Day”).
I’m not sure of the origins of this anniversary, but I like the idea of celebrating those who listen to us without interrupting or judging us, at any time of day or night.
I have just found my first diary, a simple diary (but then I considered a great gift, also because I received it without Christmas or my birthday) given to me by my dad, after I had formally committed myself to write you in a serious and constant way .
I was nine years old.
Il 22 settembre nei paesi di lingua inglese si festeggia il giorno del Diario (“Dear Diary Day”).
Non sono certa delle origini di questa ricorrenza, ma mi piace l’idea di celebrare chi ci ascolta senza interromperci o giudicarci, a qualsiasi ora del giorno o della notte.
Ho appena ritrovato il mio primo diario, una semplice agenda (che però allora consideravo un gran dono, anche perché ricevuto senza che fosse Natale o il mio compleanno) regalatami da mio papà, dopo che mi ero formalmente impegnata a scrivervi in modo serio e costante.
Avevo nove anni.
September was the seventh month in the Roman calendar and means “seven” in Latin marking it as the seventh month. September was named during a time when the calendar year began with March, which is why its name no longer corresponds with its placement in the Julian and Gregorian calendars.
World War II began on September 1, 1939 when Germany invaded Poland. Hitler invaded Poland from the west; two days later, France and Britain declared war on Germany, beginning World War II. On September 17, Soviet troops invaded Poland from the east.
Six years later, World War II ended on September 2, 1945 when Japan surrender unconditionally by signing the surrender terms on the deck of the USS Missouri (BB-63). The USS Missouri is currently docked at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii near the Arizona Memorial. The United States entered WWII after the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. If you are ever in Honolulu, make an effort to visit the Pearl Harbor National Memorial where you visit where WWII began and ended for the United States.
a time when the American Library Association (ALA) and libraries nationwide join together to remind parents, caregivers and students that signing up for a library card is the first step towards academic achievement and lifelong learning.
September 6 is Read a Book Day. Here are a few reasons to read a book (bibliofiles don’t need a reason.)
It’s the best excuse for peace and quiet.
You love sitting in your favourite chair.
That stack of borrowed books needs a dent.
All your friends are busy.
You need a new favourite quotation.
Books are on your schedule: you can pick them up and put them down at your own convenience.
Walking to the library is good exercise.
You saw the movie, but you heard the book is way better.
What is your favorite reason to read a book? Mine is because it ‘s there!
Gotham hero, Batman is celebrated on September 15. The Caped Crusader first appeared in Detective Comics #27 way back in May 1939. Since then he has appeared in movies, a TV show, as a Lego character, and even in Walmart commercials. The Batmobile has become an iconic standard by which other high tech cars may be measured.
recognize the contributions made and the important presence of Hispanic and Latino Americans to the United States and celebrate their heritage and culture.
“Hispanic Heritage Month, whose roots go back to 1968, begins each year on September 15, the anniversary of independence of five Latin American countries: Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. Mexico, Chile and Belize also celebrate their independence days during this period and Columbus Day (Día de la Raza) is October 12.”
“The term Hispanic or Latino, refers to Puerto Rican, South or Central American, or other Spanish culture or origin regardless of race. On the 2010 Census form, people of Spanish, Hispanic and/or Latino origin could identify themselves as Mexican, Mexican American, Chicano, Puerto Rican, Cuban, or “another Hispanic, Latino, or Spanish origin.”
The Autumnal or Fall Equinox will happen at 3:50 am (EDT) on September, 23, 2019. On the first day of Fall, there are approximately 12 hours of daylight and 12 hours of darkness.
Banned Books Week is an annual event celebrating the freedom to read. Banned Books Week was launched in 1982 in response to a sudden surge in the number of challenges to books in schools, bookstores and libraries. Typically held during the last week of September, it highlights the value of free and open access to information. Banned Books Week brings together the entire book community — librarians, booksellers, publishers, journalists, teachers, and readers of all types — in shared support of the freedom to seek and to express ideas, even those some consider unorthodox or unpopular.
The theme of this year’s event proclaims “Censorship Leaves Us in the Dark,” urging everyone to “Keep the Light On.”
Audrey Driscoll has provided a helpful tutorial on when various illumination sources were invented and the limitations of each source. A helpful tutorial for writers that have the need to use such information in their writings.
The characters in my novels and stories frequently roam around in the dark, often on some sort of nefarious business. Writing those scenes can be tough. If I want a character to see something important, I have to furnish a plausible light source. In fiction set in the present day, there are reliable flashlights and the mobile phone’s flashlight feature. Imminent battery death can supply a bit of tension to the scene.
But what about earlier eras? Much of my writing is set in the past, specifically the early to mid 20th century. I’ve spent a good deal of time checking whether a specific light source existed at a particular time. When did electric torches (otherwise known as flashlights) come into common use? Eighteen ninety-six. What about car headlights? The earliest ones were carbide lamps. Integrated all-electric lights weren’t common until the 1920s.
Q: Carl, how long have you been editor of the Scuttlebutt? And what enticed you to take over the job?
In the Midway Museum Research Library there is a Pass Down the Line (PDL) log where the Library Lead enters items to bring them to the attention of other Library Leads; these could be “lessons learned,” reminders to perform certain tasks, or just funny or unusual things that happen. Not everyone in the Library has access to the PDL and so our Lead Librarian Bonnie Brown started compiling selected items for distribution to the “general population” of over 30 Library Volunteers. She referred to these documents as “updates.”
Bonnie had been doing her series of updates for about two-and-a-half years every two weeks or so. She got busy with other duties as the Library grew and asked if I would mind taking over publishing these notes. We decided to “dress up” the update notes and asked all Library Volunteers to submit names for the newsletter. Several people suggested The Scuttlebutt and so we chose that as the name. I did my first issue of The Scuttlebutt 7 September 2017 and called it Volume 2, Number 12.
Q: What‘s a scuttlebutt?
In the days of wooden sailing ships, potable water for the crew’s use was carried in large wooden vats. To make it readily available, drinking water was transferred to a small communal cask, or “butt,” centrally located in the ship’s quarters. This cask had a hole, referred to as a “scuttle,” with a hinged lid enabling a person to get a drink with a dipper. The “scuttlebutt” was a natural gathering place where news and pleasantries were passed among the crew. Eventually, the information itself became referred to as scuttlebutt.
Q: How often is the Scuttlebutt published and how long does it take you to prepare each issue?
We publish every other Thursday, twice in a month. It takes, all together, maybe 12 to 14 hours in the two-week period. In months that have five Thursdays, we publish only two issues and take the extra time off.
On the Sunday before publication I start to lay out the material and decide on “lead” articles, features, etc., which takes about three to five hours. Then on the next day I execute a “hard” deadline and start to refine the content, again maybe three to five hours. Monday night before I go to bed I route it as a PDF document to the “proofer’s guild,” or “editorial board” consisting of the Senior Library Leads. They get back to me on Tuesday and I include their “nits.”
I let it rest on Wednesday and do a “final” pass maybe a half-hour before I go to bed and then send it out so that our readers have it in their in-boxes first thing Thursday.
Q: Where do you get your ideas for each issue?
I pick up items and photos as I come across them. I always keep an eye out for things that might “fit” and collect tidbits as I go. Folks in the Library are constantly feeding me ideas and tips. I keep a folder called “hip pocket file” that all this stuff goes into. When I need something to write about, I dip into that.
Q: Who writes the features?
I usually scan the e-mails and PDL, taking material from them and then polishing it into complete sentences. Sometimes I can combine two or more items into a wider story. Martha Lepore does the “people” features and is a constant font of ideas.
Q: Do you have a standard layout you use?
I copy the previous issue’s Word document to use as a template for laying out the new issue, going through to update the folio, masthead, and title banner. I save that into a new folder. When I’ve completed the draft of the new issue, I save it as a PDF document to route to the proofer’s guild.
Q: Does anyone help you with the Scuttlebutt?
First and foremost, assistant editor Martha Lepore is tireless in pursuit of material for The Scuttlebutt. She almost single-handedly does the “profiles” or feature stories of people aboard the Midway Museum.
I send a draft in PDF form to the editorial board for editing and proofing. On Tuesday night Martha and I do a marathon telephone walk-through, addressing all the changes/corrections and essentially a page-by-page comb-through taking about an hour or two.
The real secret is having a cadre of interested, intelligent, willing, and very knowledgeable people to do most of the heavy lifting. It’s a team effort with 30-some Volunteers chipping in. We have four or five Volunteers who contribute regularly from different parts of the country; two on the East Coast! All I have to do is put it together….
Q: What else do you do as a Library volunteer?
I’m the Library Lead on Saturday afternoons, supervising three to five librarians. We usually field four to five “guests” in the Library to look up former crew members, interacting with them as to what their relatives might have done aboard the ship. This sometimes gets emotional, particularly if we can find a photo of the crew member during a cruise aboard USS Midway.
We’re also working up a book on the aircraft exhibited aboard the Midway Museum. This will detail the airplane’s Navy service, its path from the Navy to the Museum, and what the Museum had to do to make the aircraft presentable as an exhibit.
Q: What was your background before you became a volunteer?
I spent thirty years in the US Navy and, after retirement, about ten years on various magazine staffs and another ten years as a technical writer for high-tech manufacturing, research, and development.
Q: I understand you previously served on the Midway. When did you serve and what was your job? Did that have any bearing on your desire to become a volunteer here?
After I was commissioned as a Warrant Officer, I was detailed to USS Midway in 1981 as the Assistant Electronic Warfare Officer with a collateral duty as Air Transfer Officer. As ATO, my duties required me to work on the flight deck during flight operations, probably the most exciting job I had in the Navy (rivaled only by combat with the Mobile Riverine Force in Vietnam during the late sixties). After I retired from technical writing some old shipmates from my Navy days were volunteering as docents and persuaded me to spend some spare time aboard. I was drawn to the Library and started volunteering in 2011.
Q: How do you define the word shipmate?
A shipmate is anyone who serves in a ship with you. A ship’s crew is divided into workgroups referred to as divisions, people who work in the same spaces (in olden days, divisions were referred to as “messes” or people who ate and slept in the same space. More efficient “cafeteria style” dining in communal mess decks took away the messes, but not the camaraderie). The “pecking order” is messmates before shipmates, and shipmates before anyone else.
As mentioned, we write to the 35 Midway Museum Library Volunteers. Our readership has spread to the Museum staff of about 150 people; the 400 Docent Volunteers; and the 200 Safety Volunteers. In addition, we post The Scuttlebutt to the Museum’s Intranet for who knows how many readers there, though that includes all the above-mentioned folk. I suspect that there is a wider “shadow” audience as staff and volunteers share with friends and family.
Bravo Zulu, Carl. Thanks for taking the time to be interviewed.
I recently commented on a blog post, Celebrating Courage, Creativity and Grit by Silkannthreades. I wrote that it was a paeon to some talented bloggers. Thanks to Grammarly, I realized that paeon may have been mispelled. (Of course I realized this as soon as I hit send.) I had to reply to my own comment and acknowledge that paeon was a typo and the real word was paean. (I can’t type but at least I have a decent vocabulary.)
According to the dictionary:
A paean (pronounced PEE-in, sometimes spelled pean) is a fervent expression of joy or praise, often in song.
A paeon (pronounced PEE-in or PEE-on) is a four-syllable metrical foot in prosody. Anyone who doesn’t analyze poetry will never have use for the word.
A peon (pronounced PEE-on) is an unskilled laborer or menial worker. Today, use of the word is most common in Indian English, where it’s used to describe any worker and presumably doesn’t have negative connotations. In American and British English, peon has an insulting tone. No one, in the U.S. at least, wants to be a peon.
The first two words have origins in the same Greek term; peon comes from the Medieval Latin term for foot soldier.