Saturday, August 24, 2013

Literally is the New Figuratively

I had big plans for today. I was going to grade 20 essays and do a blog post on Google’s new definition of literally. Instead, I have been glued to the couch binge watching Orange Is the New Black. I have literally been watching it all day. And I don’t mean literally in the way that Google defines literally (i.e., figuratively); I mean literally as the adverbial form of the adjective literal, which is defined as in accordance with, involving, or being the primary or strict meaning of the word or words; not figurative or metaphorical.”

Okay, I’ve got to go. I have to be somewhere in two hours, and I literally only have two episodes left. If I don't watch them, I will figuratively die.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

The C Word

So many of the things I love start with the letter C: cookies, coffee, Clive Owen, colons (the punctuation mark, not the intestine), cheese, cash, and charisma. However, I’d have to say that creativity is probably my favorite. 

One of my favorite incarnations of creativity is when people use items in a novel way. For example, one of my friends turned an old crib into an outdoor bench. On Pinterest, I saw that someone used a birdcage as a desk organizer. And I often use my bedroom floor as a clothes hamper.

I also love when people use language in novel ways, and that’s why I am such a fan of metaphors and similes. Effectively using metaphors and similes can also make our writing one of my other favorite C words: concise. For example, Steinbeck described a character as having “skin like clean and polished bone.”  By comparing her skin to polished bone, we get such a vivid image of the color and texture of her skin--in just two words!

Similarly, in an essay, one of my students referred to her boyfriend as her “currant boyfriend.”

In just one little word, she conveyed that her boyfriend is small, dry, wrinkled—but sweet.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

My Own Private Hell

Did you hear about the guy in Florida who woke up with amnesia and spoke only Swedish? A similar thing happened to me last week. I don’t think it was amnesia, but a foreign language did spontaneously flow from my mouth: Starbucksish.
If we do create our own versions of heaven, mine would be a coffee shop with great coffee and the perfect atmosphere. Therefore, Starbucks—with its mediocre coffee and corporate feel—is pretty much my version of hell. Of course, I am a total hypocrite and go there all the time because it’s two seconds from my house, but since my first visit, I have staged my own little rebellion: I refuse to speak their language. 

However, the other day I walked up to the counter and out popped “can I please get a double tall soy latte” instead of my usual “can I get a small latte with soy milk and an extra shot of espresso.” 

I have no idea what prompted this waving of the white flag. Maybe I’m just getting too old for this shit. 

Then yesterday, as I was waiting in line for a tall drip (which sounds more like a guy I used to date than a coffee), I saw this:

Well, I recoMMEnd this:

And I’ll take a small regular coffee, please.