Friday, 29 April 2016

Aaminah Snowdon


Really enjoying this artwork by Yorkshire painter Aaminah Snowdon. She has a unique way of capturing movement in British wildlife.


Wednesday, 27 April 2016

Best-seller Sell-out



Armed with nothing but a picture of his foot and $3, he shows how you can make it onto the Amazon best-sellers list, and why the title Best-seller has all but lost its meaning. 

I would like to tell you about the biggest lie in book publishing. It appears in the biographies and social media profiles of almost every working “author” today. It’s the word “best seller.”

A quick flick through the #amwriting Twitter profiles of a dozen authors seems to support this. Everyone is 'award winning' and 'best-selling.'

Your best-seller ranking isn't based on how many books you sell overall, but how many you sell within the shortest amount of time. Getting everyone who wants a copy of your book to buy it on opening day will rocket you up the best-seller chart, although pre-sales won't.

That's why someone selling 20 copies in an hour will rate higher than someone selling 200 over six months. 

I made it to #6 in Historical/Fantasy on my release day with Rosy Hours. At one point I was displayed right up there with Elizabeth Kostova and Bernard Cornwell. Whereas it's amazing that this can happen, the fact that it happens does somewhat devalue the best-seller ranking system. As the article asks:

A book at the #1 spot in any given category will get a “#1 Best Seller” banner featured next to the title. This lets potential customers know the book is the top-selling item in that category. If a book holds the top spot in a category for months, that’s saying something. Hitting it for an hour (which is how often Amazon refreshes its rankings), screen-shotting it, and calling yourself a “bestselling author” for life? Well...

Have you been a best-seller? Does 'best-selling' on a profile entice you to buy a book? What are your thoughts?


Monday, 25 April 2016

Deadlines



A fascinating article on the darker origins of some of our best known phrases. 

Meet A Deadline 
The phrase “meet a deadline” dates back to US Civil War. One of the first recorded uses of the phrase was at the Confederate prison at Andersonville. To keep the prisoners from escaping, a line was drawn 6 meters (20 ft) from the heavily fortified walls of the prison. An order given to the prison guards stating that any prisoner who came near the line or attempted to cross it should be immediately shot dead, hence the nickname “dead-line.” 
Unfortunately, the guards used the order as an excuse to execute prisoners at will. An eyewitness confirmed that prisoners were killed on a daily basis by the guards, who claimed that their victims tried to cross the line even though they were well within it. According to etymologists, many other war prisons at that time had their own dead-line. 
By the 20th century, various meanings for the word began to appear. At one point, it was a printing terminology. Later, it was used to define the age limit of church ministers, who were expected to retire at age 50. Over time, its meaning changed to imply a stipulated time by which a deed must be performed.

I guess it wasn't the deadline Douglas Adams heard wooshing past, but a rifleman's near miss. 

Saturday, 23 April 2016

Death Of A Cockroach


I just had to have my bathroom fumigated. I felt dreadful about unleashing roachgeddon, but it had to be done. No more washing roach poop off my toothbrush in the morning, or checking under the toilet seat before I pee.

In a random moment of universal solidarity, I stumbled upon this poem by Robert William Service. It sums up the situation perfectly:

Death of a Cockroach 
I opened wide the bath-room door,
And all at once switched on the light,
When moving swift across the floor
I saw a streak of ebon bright:
Then quick, with slipper in my hand,
Before it could escape,--I slammed.
I missed it once, I missed it twice,
But got it ere it gained its lair.
I fear my words were far from nice,
Though d----s with me are rather rare:
Then lo! I thought that dying roach
Regarded me with some reproach. 
Said I: "Don't think I grudge you breath;
I hate to spill your greenish gore,
But why did you invite your death
By straying on my bath-room floor?"
"It is because," said he (or she),
"Adventure is my destiny. 
"By evolution I was planned,
And marvellously made as you;
And I am led to understand
The selfsame God conceived us two:
Sire, though the coup de grâce you give,
Even a roach has right to live." 
Said I: "Of course you have a right,--
But not to blot my bath-room floor.
Yet though with slipper I may smite,
Your doom I morally deplore . . .
From cellar gloom to stellar space
Let bards and beetles have their place. 

Tuesday, 19 April 2016

Rwandan Writing Retreats


Towards the end of last year, I started planning to offer writing retreats in Rwanda. My good friend Christiane was completing work on Macheo Ecolodge (Facebook), on the shores of Lake Kivu. After all my experience guiding young human rights advocates around the country, I thought I'd turn my hand to something creative.

Heartbreakingly, Christiane died suddenly in September. I took a huge step back from the whole idea. 

Time has passed, and life has settled. I've spent a lot of time talking to local writers and publishers, and I feel I'd like to continue with this venture. So, I've updated the website:



Please check it out, let people know, and do get in contact with any questions. It really is such a beautiful country to visit.

Sunday, 17 April 2016

Creepy 60


60,000 words - woop woop.

Technically a novel, but far from finished.

I've managed to keep up my 10k a week quota - quite proud of that.

Things are shaping up. It's become a lot easier to write lately, really getting into it, but I know I need to move the story along. That's hard, having written a fairly slow-burning chronological story so far. I need to find a way to skip a few months without breaking the flow.

Sure it'll come to me.

As I haven't shared much of this one, here's a couple of rough, unedited snippets. Some adult language.






It was almost midnight when there came a knock at the door.
Gethyn pinched the bridge of his nose and closed the window with the revolving monstrosity. His American clients wanted the plans ready to take to the council by the end of the week. Although they were pretty near perfect, he preferred to scour them for faults than lie in bed thinking about the past few days.
When he opened the door to find Bryn on the step, he wasn’t surprised.
He stood back to allow his brother inside.
They went through to the kitchen, the French door at the far end reflecting back the scene like a fresco. Gethyn went to put the kettle on, ignoring his brother’s request for something stronger. He already smelled as though he’d been drinking.
“Can I stay here tonight?”
“Sure.”
Gethyn turned to lean against the counter whilst he waited for the kettle to boil. His brother looked rougher than usual, those blue eyes of his rimmed with red. He couldn’t decide whether it was alcohol, lack of sleep or whether Bryn had actually been crying, but he wasn’t about to ask. He could stay because he was his brother. The less said about the other night, the better.
“So, the other night,” Bryn started. “You know, with Jen and everything. I’m really sorry you had to see that.” Gethyn nodded and turned back to fill two cups with teabags and milk. “She can really go off on one sometimes.”
“Did she have a reason to?”
“No. She just got the wrong end of the stick, is all.”
“Have you spoken to her since?”
Bryn was quiet for a moment. He started speaking again as Gethyn began to pour boiling water into the cups. “I went over there earlier. Took her a bunch of flowers.”
“What happened?”
“She wouldn’t let me in.”
“Does that surprise you?”
“What are you, judge and fucking jury now?”
Gethyn turned, one eyebrow raised.
“Look, I’m sorry,” Bryn said. “I’m just stressed at the moment. You know, I’ve got nowhere to sleep, that’s why I’m here. I’ve got to get to work tomorrow, and this is like twice as far. I’m going to have to get up before the sun.”
“You could have stayed with mum.”
“You know what she’s like.”
Caring, kind and taken for granted, Gethyn thought, but he knew better than to say it. His brother was in a foul mood, likely to kick off at the slighted hint of sarcasm. He brought the tea to the table and pulled out a chair opposite.
“There’s a set of spare keys on the hook.”
“Thanks. It’ll only be for a couple of days.”
“You think?”
“Yeah, it’ll blow over. Jen, she gets herself into these states sometimes, but she’s not the kind of girl to live alone. She needs someone, you know? Someone to tell her what’s what occasionally. Someone to throw things at.” Bryn gave the first sign of a smile, but it didn’t last.
“Are you sure? I held her, after you left. She couldn’t stand up she was crying so hard. I think that’s going to take more than a couple of days to get over.”
Bryn stared at his tea, turning it round on the table. “It’s a misunderstanding. She’ll come round.”
“Whatever the misunderstanding was, Adam seemed to believe it, too.”
“That loudmouthed cunt?” Bryn glared across the table, giving Gethyn a front row view of the part of his brother that had always unnerved him. There was a darkness beneath his skin, something quick to anger and slow to forgive. He could imagine his brother doing someone serious damage in that mood.
“Was he wrong?”
“Course he was fucking wrong. That little twat only thinks with his cock. He reckons every bloke on earth wants to get into Tracey’s pants, just because he can’t.”
Gethyn chewed his bottom lip and stared at the table.
“So, none of it’s true? You’ve never been out with Tracey, you’ve never even kissed her?”
“No. What is this, the Spanish fucking Inquisition?”
Gethyn met his brother’s eyes. What disturbed him was how convincingly he lied. If it hadn’t been for that night at Starfall, if he’d never witnessed Bryn cheating with his own two eyes, he would have believed him now wholeheartedly. It wasn’t easy to think something bad about your own flesh and blood, he would have given him the benefit of the doubt, probably even his sympathy. Yet, of the two crimes, it was the lying that upset him most. If Bryn had just admitted it, said “Yeah, okay, I had a moment of weakness,” he could accept that. But his brother needing to lie straight to his face, it meant he didn’t trust him, didn’t respect him.
“You can stay for a couple of weeks,” he said. 




Łucja stood by the ring of trees, looking in at what they had achieved.
At first, she hadn’t believed it would be possible to relocate the cottage to the centre of the ring. Building by trees was always a bad idea. The radial roots could stretch more than twice the length of the tree, burrowing into foundations and sucking moisture from the earth, increasing the risk of subsidence.
Jen had sent over a soil expert to check the consistency. That was the first nod in their favour. The soil was mostly sand, with very low clay content. Clay was a bad choice for construction because it shrank when the trees drank too much, and expanded when it rained. That constant shift caused the foundations to sink.
The next stroke of luck came when they started digging exploratory channels. They were going to dig the foundations twice as deep as usual, to try to get beyond the root line. Whilst they were digging, they hadn't hit any major roots, nothing over two inches in diameter. Losing anything larger than that was bad. It could cause rot which would spread all the way back, killing many other roots and even infecting the main body of the tree. This made the trees unstable and likely to fall over in the wind. It was an awful lot of effort to go to, moving a building only to have it crushed by a gale.
Once it was established that both the soil and the existing roots weren’t likely to cause a problem, they set about digging the foundations. It was hard graft. There weren’t any major roots, but there were lots of little ones. It gave the mini-digger a tough time of things, and those with spades took regular breaks to let their arms recover. They were digging a trench about five feet from the main foundations, to insert a root barricade. It would hopefully stop most of the radials developing into a problem in the future, and keep the moisture levels around the foundations even.
The trenches where supported by wooden planks to prevent fall-ins overnight. Tomorrow, provided the rain held off, they would begin pouring the concrete.
She felt pleased with how things were going. The people on Jen’s list were hard working, and nobody had made any jokes about Polish workers yet, which was a rarity. The volunteers were keen. There were three construction students from Oreleton College, and a history undergraduate from Weychester, called Eden. Łucja hadn’t been too sure about her at first. She had no building experience and looked more like she spent her time sitting behind a desk, but she was a quick learner and had more stamina than appearances let on.
Łucja left the trenches and wandered to the edge of the tree line, looking out across the hills. She stretched her aching arms above her head and twisted her hips. It had been a while since she’d worked so intensely, and it would make for a good night’s sleep.
“Admiring the view?” a voice came from behind.
Startled, Łucja turned to see Lord Evermore standing a few feet away. Two large black hunting dogs wove between the trees on the opposite side of the circle.
“I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to startle you.”
“I didn’t hear you,” she said, lowering her arms and forcing a smile.
He was dressed in thick grey trousers, the bottoms tucked into a pair of leather riding boots. His jacket was cut from sage twill, with a beige polo neck beneath. In his left hand was a walking stick. He looked as though he had stepped out of the covers of Countryside Magazine.
“Nice dogs,” she said.
They came at his call, sniffing about Łucja’s legs and wagging their tails as she bent to pat them.
When she straightened, Evermore was standing beside her, staring out at the same spot.
“Do you not think the landscape magnificent?”
“Yes,” she replied, turning back. “It must have been a wonderful place to grow up.”
He was silent for a moment, before asking whether there had been hills where she grew up.
“Not exactly where I grew up, but not far,” she replied. “There are the Giant Mountains to the east, along the border with the Czech Republic. We tell many stories of Liczyrzepa, the old man who lives there.”
“The old man of the mountains?”
“They say he was once a great demon. He took the shape of a raven and terrorised those who walked on his land. Only, time has tamed him a little.”
“He has been forgotten?”
“No, we still know him very well, but he's not a demon any more. Now he helps people who are lost on the mountains. He shelters them with his cloak and brings them food. His other name is Rübezahl, the turnip ghost.”
“From raven demon to turnip ghost.” Evermore smiled. “That is quite a demotion.”
“They sell carvings of him in the town square for tourists to take home.”
“You do not approve?”
“I like that he is remembered, but he belongs to the land. You can pack his image in a suitcase, but not his soul.”
Evermore was staring at her, his dark eyes penetrating in the last of the light.
“This land has soul," he said slowly. "It remembers the stories of those who have lived here. The agonies and the tragedies. Those are our demons, Miss Kosmaczewski. The living will always make light of that which terrifies them.”
A breeze caught the back of Łucja’s neck and she shivered.
“I should get back, it's getting dark. There are some tools need cleaning and putting away.”
“By all means, please do not let me detain you. I’m sure it has been a long day.”
She nodded and began to make her way back through the centre of the circle. As she walked, the leaves in the trees rustled as though whispering to one another.

Saturday, 16 April 2016

Deconstructing Sex


Foreskin - I mean forewarning - adult content in this post.

Rude words and whatnot.

No sniggering.


Some days, being a writer is just hilarious.

We exist to confound the NSA with the sheer breadth of interests we Google: bomb making, drug slang, baby names, fourteenth century fashion - it's all in a day's work.

We deconstruct everything in detail. Writing is painting with words. Getting the right words is like choosing the right shade of green, or working out where the light should fall. It alters the overall picture.

I'm no stranger to writing sex scenes. I think every book I've written has contained at least one. I've run the gamut from boot scenes (characters kiss, skip to pulling on boots), right through to tastefully poetic and abusively graphic. 

There is a fucking art to fucking, as we are constantly reminded each year when some unfortunate, usually famous, author gets bent over and spanked at The Bad Sex Awards. You really have to try to hit the right tone for each work.

I'm extremely lucky in counting Remittance Girl among my literary-minded friends. She not only writes erotica, but lectures on how to write it well.

Which is why I found myself sending the following DM the other day. Just to illustrate how authors think:

Help. I need expert advice. I'm writing a steamy scene in a sort of suspense/ghost story. It's not particularly erotic, though there's been one sex scene, and there'll probably be another after this one.
I want to write: As his fingers found the soft folds of flesh hiding her cunt.
But people have a really visceral reaction to 'cunt'. I wonder if it'd put readers off. I've been quite tasteful up to now. Still, I tried replacing it with cleft and pussy, and I don't much like either as a substitute. Can't use clit because I'm about to use that in the next sentence.
 What would you recommend?

Thus began a really useful back and forth in which RG helped me to go back to the character and consider what he'd be comfortable using. I also revisited the previous scene in which he got his kegs off and realised I hadn't actually directly referred to anyone's genitals. Pretty impressive, considering.

I've now rewritten that sentence entirely.

Cunt isn't a word I've always been particularly comfortable with in the past. You usually hear it used far more often in anger than eroticism. 

I got a lot more comfortable with it after my friend Harri gave me a copy of Cunt: A Declaration of Independence by Inga Muscio. Now I quite like it.

To an author, words are words. Every single one of them is there to be used at some point in your life. There are no good words or bad words, just good combinations of words versus bad ones.

Whilst considering other options, I headed to Thesaurus.com, which resulted in an interesting suggestion. Not sure who agrees with me here?





I mean, I suppose if you're using it as a vernacular insult, 'You fucking merkin' might be synonymous, at a stretch, but really it's a noun for a totally different thing, no?

What I said about Word holds up, though. Just look at this:


Well, that's useful.

Still, maybe we should all be grateful...



One thing's for damn straight - I'm never going to be an erotica writer. I just couldn't stop laughing long enough.

Thursday, 14 April 2016

Tuesday, 12 April 2016

Witches Library Discovered

Czech National Library Where the Books were Discovered

Fascinating and creepy. The personal occult library of Heinrich Himmler has been uncovered near Prague


A lost library containing 13,000 books on the occult belonging to Nazi SS Commander Heinrich Himmler, was recently discovered near Prague. The collection was originally known as the "Witches Library," and contains information that Himmler thought would help the Nazis rule the world.

Meanwhile, witches in the New Forest in England were casting go-away powder to turn back Hitler, as referenced in Hutton's Triumph of the Moon: A History of Modern Pagan Witchcraft

13,000 books on the occult. 

Wonder what will happen to them.

Monday, 11 April 2016

Creepy 50



Well, Creeper's Cottage is now at 50,000.

I get the sense it's about halfway through. Longer than I was expecting, but coming along nicely.

It's been a strange week for writing. Monday and Tuesday flew past at 3,000 each. I was planning to finish up by Friday and have a long weekend, but then I got swept up with Secret Order and putting it on Inkitt for the competition (please check that out).

It's been getting good feedback from beta readers, but no nibbles yet from publishers. It's extremely experimental, but I still think it has potential. It's really hard trying to write the next novel whilst your current manuscript is getting battered through submissions. Easy to give into the doldrums.

Still, writing continues to happen despite all else.

Creeper's isn't my usual style either, and neither is the next one likely to be, but I think I'll write this off as my experimental phase and if nothing comes of it, I'll return to writing in the style of Rosy Hours and Children of Lir. It has been suggested that I publish the other stuff under a pseudonym, and I have been tempted, after reading the statistics, to try submitting as a bloke. When I was a kid I'd dream up fantastical nom de plumes, but as an adult I'm less willing to try it. Would you really want a publisher who accepted you under a different name but not your own?

All being well, I should have another novel in the next few weeks. It'll take quite a bit of editing, but I'm looking forward to it.

Sunday, 10 April 2016

Megalithic Study Group


If you're near Stirling, Scotland on 18 April 2016, The Northern Antiquarian (Twitter/Facebook) are holding their first Megalithic Study Group.

I'm currently the secretary of TNA, but won't be able to attend as I'm in Africa. If you're interested in rock art, ancient landscapes and neolithic monuments, get yourself over there to meet some like minds. Please help spread the word.

Saturday, 9 April 2016

Tea and Cake


Lovely post on #FolkloreThursday this week by @thehopeandglory all about the traditions associated with tea and cake, such as:

Tea can be used to predict strangers - If a single stalk floats on top of a cup of tea, it means that a stranger is coming - a hard, woody stalk indicates a male visitor and a soft stalk, a female. The length of the stalk tells you whether he or she will be tall or short. To find out when they will come, lay the stalk on the back of the left hand and hit it with the right. However many hits it takes to knock it off tells the number of days before they will stand at your door.

The site has very small text, but you should be able to zoom in with ctrl & +.

If you know of any other traditions, do leave a comment below.

And if you're looking for excitement with your beverage, check out Emma Newman's Tea & Jeopardy podcast.

Friday, 8 April 2016

DRM Restrictions




DRM stands for Digital Rights Management. It's the lock on digital media which dictates where you can and can't read the ebook you've downloaded. It's the reason you can't read a Kindle .mobi on a Nook without converting it to an .epub. The idea being you need to buy the software to go with the format, and that format, if it has a DRM on it, can't be converted. 

Last year, I posted about why you don't actually own an ebook. You purchase it, you think you own it, but really, it's more like borrowing, as one Amazon customer found out when her library was repossessed.

I don't think that's fair. 

Neither do many other consumers of music, video games and ebooks:



So we’ve established that DRM doesn’t prevent piracy – but worse still – it frustrates legitimate consumers. They find their media needs special software to be installed to allow access; an always-on Internet connection so it can dial home and check if your purchase is valid; or that it’s limited to a single device and rendered permanently useless once that device breaks, or the DRM service goes down. If the perfect DRM was invented that couldn’t be hacked, you can be certain it would be the most frustrating and restrictive technology ever. 
Furthermore, DRM prevents many legitimate uses of media – such as a public library lending a book, or being able to use materials from a piece for research and education (which are classified as fair use, and therefore legal).



Would you like to watch your legally bought movies on different devices? Would you like to backup your DVDs? Or would you like to convert your e-books into different formats? 
Digital Restrictions Management systems place restrictions on your right to do all of these things. Your movies or e-books may even stop working altogether if the vendor goes bankrupt, or no longer maintains a particular DRM system.

There's even a campaing: Librarians Against DRM. Now, who you gonna feel more sympathetic towards, your local librarian, or companies like Amazon who dodge taxabuse workers, destroy high street companies and offered Rape On T-shirts?

Amazon does offer an Amazon Reader App, which is free, and you can install it on an iPhone or PC. But then, Amazon can still wipe your entire library on a whim. The equivalent of that second hand book dealer you bought a copy off last week, breaking down your door at 4 a.m. to repossess it.

So, I'm not too fond of the DRM idea, and - having looked into it - I'm not overly worries about piracy, either. I think it's used as a very big scare word to prevent ordinary, law abiding citizens from managing their media in whatever way they see fit.

If you are interested in reading your ebook in a different format, but you're being hampered by DRM, check out this article

When you pay Amazon some money for a Kindle eBook, you probably think it’s yours now. I mean, you paid some money, you got some content, and now you have it, just like any other book you buy at a brick-and-mortar store. Well, that’s wrong. Actually, you didn’t buy anything, and you don’t own that book you just paid for. 
If this sounds wrong, and if you think you should actually own a book after clicking a button that says “Buy now with 1-Click” and paying some of your hard-earned money, read on and I’ll show you how to take ownership of your Kindle eBooks.

I'm not advocating you do this, but I'm not unhappy the information is available. Piracy is one thing. Accessing goods and services you've paid for feels like quite another. And I'm curious that UK's Trading Standards don't seem to have picked up on the issue. Only, in this case, you're not being 'misled into buying a product,' you're being misled into not buying one. 'Buy Now' seems far clearer than it actually is.

Thursday, 7 April 2016

The Secret Order of the Literati


Hi everyone.

I need your help.

A while ago, I finished writing The Secret Order of the Literati. It's an experimental urban fantasy. Not the type of fiction I usually create, but I had a lot of fun writing it.

Because the story itself is a little experimental, I've decided to take an experimental approach to publishing it.

I've just entered SOL for a competition on a new author site called Inkitt.

The more people who read the book on their site, the greater its chance of getting noticed.

Here's a short introduction to how it all works.




Please pop over there before 7th June (closing date) and have a read through, and tell everyone you know. There are options on the left to share via social media (please do!), and to change the reading backgrounds and font size.



Much appreciated.

Wednesday, 6 April 2016

Playing With Love


A big shout out to my friend Tiga today.

Tiga and I first met in Rwanda as VSOs. I'm still here, seven years later (with a break in between), but Tiga's recently moved to Thailand, where she works as a life coach.

Her company is called Playing With Love (Facebook) and you can book a sample session for free.

I must admit, I was a little unsure what to expect to begin with. My favourite self-help books are Happiness for People Who Can't Stand Positive Thinking and The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a F**k .

If it wasn't for the fact I know Tiga, I'm pretty sure I'd never have booked myself in.

On the other hand, that thing about writers craving experience is also pretty true.

I've had two sessions so far and they were extremely helpful.

Each session begins with a gentle meditation, then you get to lead the way with whatever it is that's on your mind, resulting in follow-up exercises with inventive, playful ways to explore those themes.

Colouring pens at the ready. 

Tiga has a great sense of humour, she's extremely professional, and she's passionate about what she does. Whether you're at a crossroads in your life, or just mulling things over, it's well worth trying her out.

Sunday, 3 April 2016

Favourite Five Words

I was asked at a book talk last year what my favourite word is. Here's my current top five favourites.


Dichroic

This is the answer I gave. It's a word I first learned about at a craft shop, in relation to dichroic glass jewelry. The word has specific meaning when filtering light in laboratory conditions, but it comes from dichroism, the ability to split colours. The reason I like it as a descriptive term is that it is the perfect word for describing the rainbow effect of an oil spill, or any colour that appears to be more than one colour. I really like extremely specific words for things you can't otherwise explain succinctly. Especially when those words are short.



Petrichor

I don't particularly like the sound of this word, but I really appreciate what it stands for. Like dichroic, it's another of those single words that can sum up a sentence. In this case: a pleasant smell that frequently accompanies the first rain after a long period of warm, dry weather. You'd know it if you smelled it.



Threnody

I happen to think this is one of the prettiest words in the English language, right up there with ephemeral and diaphanous. It means: a lament. Which in turn means: a passionate expression of grief or sorrow. It sounds so much softer than dirge, almost a whisper. There is another word in Arabic, ghazal, which, although not as beautiful on the tongue, imparts a similar sentiment: a poetic expression of both the pain of loss or separation and the beauty of love in spite of that pain.



Ejo

This has become one of my favourite words of late. Pronounced more as ay-joo. The reason I love this word so much is that it means two completely opposite things at the same time. Such a small word capable of causing utter chaos. It's Kinyarwanda for both yesterday and tomorrow. I've spoken before about the issue of polychronic time, where things happen all at once instead of in sequence. This just makes me laugh as an explanation for why no one turns up to meetings on time: "When is the meeting?" - "Ejo". The person thinks it was yesterday and doesn't turn up tomorrow. The only way to be certain which ejo we're talking about is to add a suffix: ejo hazaza (tomorrow), ejo hashize (yesterday).



Superfluous

There are a couple of reasons I'm including this word. Firstly, because it's rather nice to say, and secondly, because it is what it describes. With so many shorter ways of saying something is OTT, too much, and more commonly excessive, unnecessary or surplus to requirement, the very word superfluous is almost always superfluous. I like that about it.