Thursday, September 20, 2007

Another 'Wordy' Meme

Another meme floating around has tempted me; I've spent a long time thinking about it but after having seen it again on Kate's Book Blog, I am reinspired to give it a go. Here is Litlove's literary meme:

List some of your favourite words:

mellifluous, serendipity, onomatopoeia, flibbertigibbet

What's your favourite maxim or proverb?

It’s better than a kick in the head with a frozen boot. (courtesy of my Gran)

What's your favourite quotation?

Do not try to do extraordinary things, but do ordinary things with intensity.
~Emily Carr

What's your favourite first line of a novel?

To begin with the old rigmarole of childhood. In a country there was a shire, and in that shire there was a town, and in that town there was a house, and in that house there was a room, and in that room there was a bed, and in that bed there lay a little girl; wide awake and longing to get up...

~Wives and Daughters by Elizabeth Gaskell
(ok, so this is really 2 sentences. But I love the way she begins this domestic story using the form of an old nursery rhyme)

Give an example of a piece of description that's really pleased you in your reading lately:

It was a good body, this girl's. It held bones of finest slender ivory hidden and roundly fleshed. This brain was like a pink tea rose, hung in darkness, and there was cider wine in this mouth...Being in this body was like basking in a hearth fire, living in the purr of a sleeping cat, stirring in warm creek waters that flowed by night to the sea.
~From the Dust Returned by Ray Bradbury

Which five writers do you particularly admire for their use of language?

Virginia Woolf, Jose Saramago, Jeanette Winterson, Olga Grushin, Ethel Wilson

And are there writers whose style you really dislike?

Not one particularly - but I don’t enjoy the modern hip-young-man style of writing very much

What's the key to really fine writing, in your opinion?

For me, fine writing consists of a unique intelligence underpinning both a facility with language and the creation of meaningful characters. There can’t be one without the other.


  1. I love Saramago, not so much Winterson though. I don't know the last two.

  2. John - Ethel Wilson is a fabulous Canadian writer whom I think is so underrated. I was reading her short stories a while back -- you might like them too. And Olga Grushin has only written one book that I know of, The Dream life of Sukhanov, which I absolutely loved.

  3. Love Saramago. And mellifluous and serendipity, too! Fun meme :)

  4. I've only read part of one Saramago book, but I do want to get back to him.

    Great quote, and I love your answer to the key to really fine writing. Although there are so many possible answers to that question!

  5. I just started reading From the Dust Returned today and read the passage you quoted! Bradbury's prose is exquisite.


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