A procrastination of writers…?

Posted on Posted in journal

Today's writing-avoidance:

  • coding (for some reason, I can get lost in coding for hours. Days, even.)
  • sniffing out an FTP program
  • browsing for plugins
  • playing sudoku (I can't help it, I'm hooked)
  • scouring the net for collective nouns

So I've solved a "diabolical" sudoku (from Thursday's Sydney Morning Herald), I've downloaded FileZilla, and I've installed a random-quote plugin. Now the new and improved sidebar will serve up a random quote on every pageload (because, clearly, that's important).

And I've wasted precious seconds wondering how some collective nouns arose. Why is it a watch of nightingales, when they're renowned for their song? I love collective nouns, particularly the fanciful ones for birds. And, despite my search distracting me with such phrases as an amalgamation of metallurgists (it's chemical engineering humour, probably), I've yet to determine whether it really is an uber-inflation of balloons. I've found no evidence to support the phrase. And why do I need to know? Well, that's the beauteous part: I don't. At all. Not even for research for a story. Just idle curiosity, so trivial it wouldn't even shave a cat let alone kill it.

7 thoughts on “A procrastination of writers…?

  1. 'uber-inflation' sounds very wrong, as 'uber' is a german word that has only wormed its way into english slang in the last 10 years or so.

    I've always liked the differenc between crows and ravens. It's a murder of crows, but only an unkindness of ravens. Heh.

  2. Ah. Very good point. It could be one of those collective nouns that falls under the "recent coinage" label, which hasn't settled yet. Interestingly, Wikipedia lists a number of alternatives for crows: it can also be a hover, or a storytelling. And a conspiracy of ravens. The birds definitely get the best of the phrases.

  3. Julian Burnside told us in his speech at the opening night of the Byron Bay Writers Festival that the correct collective noun for writers was a "worship". No one argued, of course. Writers got pretty well worshipped that weekend.

    Oh, and I don't think the verb "get" is weak (this is a hangover from your last entry on your last blog) – it's one I use all the time, particularly in dialogue, because people say it all the time. I guess I'm using it to make people sound slightly inarticulate or clumsy, though, so maybe you're right. Sometimes I too have to pare back my "get"ing.

    And how neat is it, that you re-started blogging just the day before I went and hunted up all the Clarion South people's sites and stories? And that you started with words of wisdom from my BWI interview? Haw, cool!

    Love,
    Margo.

  4. Margo, you and Julian are absolutely right. A worship. Of course. What was I thinking?

    I think the weakness of "get" is actually one of my hang-ups, that I ascribed to you. I use it in dialogue, but try to avoid it in narrative, mainly as a result of a stern primary school teacher who loathed it. I do think it can glut a piece very quickly, because it's a shortcut verb, one that can be used instead of reaching for the perfect or stronger action. But of course, it depends on the voice you're trying to create.

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