Questions in the Writing & Language category.
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October 3

Sign language in "Reservation Dogs"

In the series "Reservation Dogs", the protagonists sometimes communicate with each other in a signed language. Are they using Plains Indian Sign Language? How authentic and/or widespread is this among contemporary Native Americans? [more inside]
posted by signal at 8:34 AM - 1 answers

October 2

Favorite Oracle/Journal Prompting/Meditation Card Decks

I'm seeking suggestions for card decks I can use as journal prompts or reflection purposes. Do you have any favorites? More details inside, but that's really the main idea. [more inside]
posted by carlypennylane at 10:07 AM - 12 answers

October 1

"For Turgenev, we do not have an answer"

I am looking for this very surprising quote several decades ago, about Russian and English novelists, but can only remember the rough outline. [more inside]
posted by raheel at 9:32 PM - 1 answers

September 30

Novel with model train set as computer

Twenty-plus years ago I read a novel -- a mystery or spy thriller -- where the resolution hinged on the protagonists figuring out that a massive model train set in a missing person's house was actually a sort of computer, with the cars serving as words or digits. Turning it on and running a pre-set arrangement of switches moved the cars into positions that produced a solution of some sort. [more inside]
posted by martin q blank at 8:21 AM - 15 answers

September 29

Apps to improve English whilst driving

My wife wants to improve her English. She currently has a middle level—she can read and hold a conversation but not fluently and she makes grammar mistakes. She has a thirty minute commute each way and would like to use this time to improve. Looking for language apps that you don't have to interact with too much (because driving) or maybe some sort of podcast/show/youtube channel.
posted by signal at 1:49 PM - 10 answers

September 28

Japanese (?) translation

I want to be able to impress my niece by telling her what this says. Also, if this is not Japanese, please don't laugh at me. [more inside]
posted by SamanthaK at 3:00 PM - 6 answers

September 27

Submitting short stories online - Explain it like I'm 5

I've recently started submitting a few short stories for publication in online journals. I am finding the submissions process pretty challenging to figure out. Mefites who do this regularly, can you share your systems with me? I am very, very new to this stuff. [more inside]
posted by unicorn chaser at 11:34 PM - 7 answers

An Easy Way to TOC

I need to make a table of contents for a poetry manuscript. I have not had success with Word, either in Manual or the automatic method with headings. I can upload the text anywhere; I just need a final pdf. What non-word options are there? Any other ideas? I’d hire help if I could. Thanks, all!
posted by mermaidcafe at 3:25 PM - 9 answers

Autumn wedding poems please

I live in Vermont and am a Justice of the Peace. I perform weddings. People love getting married here in the Autumn. I very often write the ceremonies myself or make suggestions to the couple. I am looking for more fall-themed wedding-appropriate poems for my collection and would love to know what poems you like along these lines. [more inside]
posted by jessamyn at 11:26 AM - 9 answers

September 26

Find me a poem: Cusp, by Kim Shuck

My friend sent me a voice memo of a poem she liked: Cusp, by Kim Shuck. But she can't find the text and it was in a church bulletin, so she doesn't know what book or magazine it was published in. Please help me find this poem in print! [more inside]
posted by cnidaria at 7:02 PM - 1 answers

East Germany History Reading Recommendations

I'm finishing up Ian Kershaw's "The End: The Defiance and Destruction of Hitler's Germany, 1944-1945." I realized that I have a limited knowledge of early East Germany. Specifications within.... [more inside]
posted by kuanes at 2:40 PM - 4 answers

Good luck? Good […]!

I dislike the phrase 'good luck' and I would like to replace it. What are your 'good luck' alternatives? [more inside]
posted by iamkimiam at 5:42 AM - 48 answers

September 25

Looking for (mostly fairly light) fiction with Buddhist characters

I recently read Susan Juby's delightful novel, Mindful of Murder, which is a murder mystery, whose main character, Helen, is a former Buddhist nun who has just graduated from a school for butlers when the story begins. (I know, that sounds preposterous.) I love Helen, her equanimity, her openheartedness, her interactions with other wonderfully drawn characters in the course of the story. So I am interested in finding more fiction with specifically Buddhist characters like Helen. Can you help? Preferably fairly light reading, such as mystery or other genres.
posted by metonym at 6:29 PM - 9 answers

Fiction where couples have their own distinctive way of talking

In real life couples tend to share in jokes, slang, neologisms, tones of voice etc that they use privately and not with other people. I'm looking for examples of this kind of couple talk in novels and short stories. [more inside]
posted by Ballad of Peckham Rye at 7:37 AM - 10 answers

Book or story about assisted suicide

In the last year or so I read a novel or short story about a terminally ill woman who goes on a trip to India with her friends. It ends with an assisted suicide in the US. I cannot remember the author and cannot find it in my library history or purchase history.
posted by InkaLomax at 7:12 AM - 6 answers

September 24

Decode something a political candidate said

A person running for political office in Canada took part in a debate. He closed his remarks with "keep 'em high and tight." What dog whistle was he trying to send? [more inside]
posted by sardonyx at 10:35 AM - 15 answers

September 22

Writers: What Does Your Daily Routine Look Like?

What is your writing routine? I'm trying to figure out how to implement some serious writing in my days and learning of others' routines would be helpful. I would love to know: [more inside]
posted by Sassyfras at 5:39 AM - 13 answers

Autobiographies or memoirs by crafters or artists, in last 20 years

Looking for autobiographies or memoirs written by crafters or visual artists, and published in the last twenty years. In English and not in comic or graphic format. I already know about autobiographies by Grayson Perry, Keith Brymer Jones, Tracey Emin, Ai Weiwei, Emma Reyes, Marina Abramović, Celia Paul, Marion Coutts and Esme Young. Thank you.
posted by paduasoy at 3:44 AM - 13 answers

September 21

What does 'Can o' Beer' mean?

I have no idea what 'Can o' Beer' is. Please help me read 'The Moon and six pence'. It's in the chapter 47, Captain Nichols, for his part, couldn't do without tobacco and he took to hunting the 'Can o' Beer' for cigarette-ends...I only found a picture of the canned beer. Thank you for helping my English.
posted by mizukko at 8:10 PM - 7 answers

September 18


When I was growing up, when one of us sneezed my dad would say “Gesundheit!” instead of “Bless you.” He (and I) grew up on the west coast of Canada. I am curious how common this usage is/was in non-German speaking countries. If you didn’t grow up in Germany, do you remember people saying Gesundheit after someone sneezed? Where did you grow up, and do you have German connections in your family? (My dad’s grandmother was German and I’m sure this is where he first heard it and why his mother, my grandmother, said it.)
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 3:49 PM - 59 answers

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