Questions in the Writing & Language category.
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January 19

Help me motivate my mind through the strategic use of smut

I'm trying to learn French and I want this specific e-book: as well as another series (below the fold). [more inside]
posted by A Terrible Llama at 5:10 AM - 9 answers

January 15

Poetry for Anxiety

Meditation is challenging for my busy brain, but I discovered that repeating the Hail Mary provided a focus for my brain and a good guidance for my breath that wasn't about counting or heartbeats. The problem is that I have complicated feelings around the Catholic church and thus that prayer. I'd like to try replacing it with something less weighted, but I don't know poetry. Can you recommend short poems/passages of text I could memorize? [more inside]
posted by platypus of the universe at 6:06 PM - 39 answers

January 14

What does "tears running down [one's] spine" imply?

I'm just vibing to "Love Me, I'm a Liberal" by Phil Ochs tonight. But for the first time in a decades I found myself wondering what "tears running down [a] spine" actually means. [more inside]
posted by onehundredand80 at 10:07 PM - 17 answers

January 12

Writing improvement?

My son likes to write stories. He's 18, in first year university, Chem major. He took a creative writing elective and was disappointed that it was more about how to write a story rather than actually writing. I've asked two previous questions for him if you want to go look at those. He asked me to help him find "websites to improve his grammar". He uses Grammarly now. But he says it doesn't help him to learn grammar, just shows him how to fix it. [more inside]
posted by Ftsqg at 7:55 AM - 20 answers

January 9

What do I need to read or watch to catch up on 94 days of genocidal war?

I had scheduled surgery across the US shortly after Oct 7th, and then stayed relatively out of touch since then. What's the best way to get up to speed? [more inside]
posted by Summers at 4:31 AM - 18 answers

January 3

Correct Latin translation needed - "Innocent III is dead"

Question for well-versed MeFites - what is the most accurate translation of "Innocent III is dead." (as a statement of fact)? [more inside]
posted by Jessica Savitch's Coke Spoon at 7:42 AM - 2 answers

What's this book about a soldier with a head injury

Hello brain trust. I am trying to remember a book that is I would guess speculative fiction. I am struggling to remember the details. It is a first person account of the aftermath of a battle. The narrator is extremely unreliable, however because he is suffering from a head injury from an explosion. [more inside]
posted by kaelynski at 6:19 AM - 5 answers

December 30, 2023

The meaning of memory as a string of pearls

Hi! I have this vivid memory of reading a passage that described memory and how we create meaning from it as building a string of pearls. Creating a narrative of cause and effect that’s as neat as a pearl necklace even though it’s actually as random as pearls from the sea. It’s stuck with me for years. Do you know where it’s from? [more inside]
posted by hotchocolate at 11:02 PM - 4 answers

What sci-fi short story: replicating robots, rusting before total ruin.

A friend asked me for help finding a story told to them by someone who read it. The story as remembered: a female protagonist makes robots. Robots replicate (at 1/2 size?), bringing ruin to everyone around. Eventually there is rain, halting the problem by bringing the robots to rest. Final words may be a variation of "next time I'll make them stainless steel". [more inside]
posted by tychotesla at 2:21 AM - 8 answers

December 27, 2023

Was my melodic nature lost in translation?

I received an enigmatic fortune cookie fortune that I’d like to try to understand. Is it a poor translation of an aphorism that makes sense in the original Chinese? The fortune read, “Because of your melodic nature, the moonlight never misses an appointment.” [more inside]
posted by Winnie the Proust at 7:52 AM - 15 answers

December 26, 2023

Please help us find a book title

Thank you, kind MeFites. Long time lurker, first post. Please help me help a dear family member find the title of a children’s book. I have searched MetaFilter and the Internet with no success. [more inside]
posted by kyraU2 at 6:32 PM - 4 answers

December 24, 2023

Help with this fictional situation?

Part of a story: a young man and woman, first year university students, are in the same art class. The young man praises a piece of work by the young woman, which is objectively good / talented. She has a crush on him, and insists on gifting him the (self referential) piece, which he was not expecting. He (not a jerk) likes the girl (to the degree that he knows her, which is not much) but does not have romantic feelings for her. He now faces a dilemma ... [more inside]
posted by taz at 8:02 AM - 13 answers

December 23, 2023

What is this mysterious (possibly Chinese) book?

Years ago we were cleaning out an older relative's garage and found a mysterious and kind of beautiful book I've wondered about ever since. It's in an Asian language I can't conclusively identify and it has unusual binding so it unfolds like an accordion. More details (and pics) below the fold... [more inside]
posted by Ursula Hitler at 3:58 AM - 4 answers

December 20, 2023

can you find a visual alphabet for Martha's Vineyard Sign Language?

I just discovered Martha's Vineyard Sign Language (MVSL) and would love to see a visual illustration / graphic of the alphabet forms. I did some light googling, but I have no results yet, and very few spoons to devote to more in-depth research right now. [more inside]
posted by seemoorglass at 3:40 PM - 6 answers

Well done easy fantasy/HisFi recs

What's a good fantasy or historical fiction series for an adult getting back into reading fiction? Think of "wind down at the end of the day" books. Good to feature more relationships and less epic war and conflict. The reader just finished rereading Heralds of Valdemar. They also loved Bridgerton and its spinoff(s). [more inside]
posted by Winnie the Proust at 6:48 AM - 16 answers

December 16, 2023

Dream much, Will?

What is the etymology of the sarcastic expression much, as in "gee, projection much?" How long has it been around? Title comes from a line I remember in the movie Manhunter.
posted by johngoren at 10:04 AM - 5 answers

Music Miners, but better than that

We work in mining reclamation and permitting. Me and 2 colleagues have been getting together at lunch time and making music (2 men, 1 woman, guitar, mandolin, voice). We are going to play at the holiday potluck. What is the name of our band?
posted by falsedmitri at 7:08 AM - 34 answers

Gentle sci-fi set on space- stations or ships?

Looking for examples of gentle sci-fi set mainly or exclusively on space stations/spaceships, but where the focus is about human relationships rather than grand sci-fi plots. [more inside]
posted by knapah at 2:15 AM - 24 answers

December 12, 2023

You're a librarian. I'm an author. What next?

When I'm in a library, I'll always check to see if a book I wrote is on the shelves. If it is, I'm happy... but I'm not sure what to do next. At a bookstore, I can sign their stock of my book, but that seems less appropriate for a library. If you're a librarian, would you want an author on your shelves to say hello? And is there anything a passing author can do for you other than that?
posted by yankeefog at 3:04 AM - 6 answers

December 11, 2023

Because this is where the answers are

What is the cliche / aphorism, "they look for the x in y, because that's where the z (or x or y) are"? There's some stock phrase that uses this formulation in a way that sounds tongue in cheek because it is so obvious. It's often repurposed to cover other domains. But I can't think of what the original (or most common) formulation was. Help?
posted by Winnie the Proust at 10:28 AM - 8 answers

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