Jurassic Sweets

Jan. 25th, 2015 02:00 pm
[syndicated profile] cakewrecks2_feed

Posted by Sharyn

When I was little, I read The Enormous Egg, a book about a chicken that laid a triceratops egg, and all the adventures the dinosaur had with its kid.

(By The Cake Geek)

I've secretly wanted a dinosaur ever since.

 

Mind you, not one of the ferocious ones that will eat your neighbors.

(By Vina of Mionette Cakes)

Although he's actually a real cupcake...
Sort of.

 

Still, it would probably be a good idea to stick with an herbivore.

(By Sweet Love Cake Couture)

Plus, I'd never have to trim the bushes again!

 

Yup, I want a sweet dinosaur.

One who stops to smell the flowers...

(By Experimental Cakes)

...before she eats them.

 

One who likes to gather mushrooms for dinner:

(By Little Cottage Cupcakes)

 

One who waves when I come home:

(By Cakes Decor member Laura e Virna)

 

...and one who likes to play fetch!

(By Sweet As Sugar Cakes)

(Although maybe we should stick with sticks after this. o.0)

 

Hmmm, maybe my dino will be tall enough to help me reach those high places...

(By Sugarland)

(Don't worry. He assures me he's a vegetarian.)

 

I'm sure my dino will have lots of friends.

(By Karen Dodenbier of Dutch Cakes)

 

And we'll go on fun adventures!

(By Zeph's Cakes)

 

I'll just have to keep an eye on Betty while we're out:

(By Michelle Sugar Art)

Sweet kid, but she's a real dodo.
(No, really!)

Yup, I want a sweet dinosaur, but I know I can't really have one.
Except in cake.
And I guess that's Sweet enough. For now. ;)

 

*****

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[syndicated profile] languagelog_feed

Posted by Mark Liberman

A couple of months ago, I got a copy of The Chronicle Review with a cover story by Arthur Krystal called "Neuroscience is ruining the humanities".

Actually there are two semi-falsehoods in that sentence.

In the first place, I actually got the physical publication in the mail about a week ago, even though the issue is dated November 28, and the online article is dated November 21. That's because I live in a university residence, and my university apparently picks up the mail from the post office from time to time, sends it somewhere to be sorted at leisure, and then delivers it to its various destinations by occasional caravan.

The second misleading statement concerns the article's title: the online version is now called "The shrinking world of ideas". Since the URL is still "https://chronicle.com/article/Neuroscience-Is-Ruining-the/150141/", we can guess that the online article's title was changed after the fact. Thereby hangs a tale, though I can only guess what it is.

In a blog post back in November, The Neurocritic observed ("The humanities are ruining neuroscience", 1/24/2014) that the inflammatory title was changed in the online version, and notes that the "4,000+ word piece can in fact be summarized as 'postmodernism ruined everything'":

In the olden days of the 19th century, ideas mattered. Then along came the language philosophers and some French historians in the 1920s/30s, who opened the door for Andy Warhol and Jacques Derrida and what do you know, ideas didn't matter any more.

Or, as Arthur Krystal put it, "when literature professors began to apply critical theory to the teaching of books they were, in effect, committing suicide by theory".

So how do the neuroscientists come into it? The Neurocritic continues

That's fine, he can express that opinion, and normally I wouldn't care. I'm not going to debate the cultural harms or merits of postmodernism today.

What did catch my eye was this: “…what the postmodernists indirectly accomplished was to open the humanities to the sciences, particularly neuroscience.”

My immediate response: “that is the most ironic thing I've ever heard!! there is no truth [scientific or otherwise] in postmodernism!” Meaning: scientific inquiry was either irrelevant to these theorists, or something to be distrusted, if not disdained. So how could they possibly invite Neuroscience into the Humanities Building?

Here's how Krystal puts it:

[W]hat the postmodernists indirectly accomplished was to open the humanities to the sciences, particularly neuroscience. By exposing the ideological codes in language, by revealing the secret grammar of architectural narrative and poetic symmetries, and by identifying the biases that frame "disinterested" judgment, postmodern theorists provided a blueprint of how we necessarily think and express ourselves. In their own way, they mirrored the latest developments in neurology, psychology, and evolutionary biology. To put it in the most basic terms: Our preferences, behaviors, tropes, and thoughts—the very stuff of consciousness—are byproducts of the brain’s activity. And once we map the electrochemical impulses that shoot between our neurons, we should be able to understand—well, everything. So every discipline becomes implicitly a neurodiscipline, including ethics, aesthetics, musicology, theology, literature, whatever.

The Neurocritic concludes that Krystal is just confused; but the explanation may be deeper and more interesting. I sometimes find that I've stumbled on literary artefacts from a parallel universe, and the most parsimonious explanation for Krystal's essay, I think, is that it's happened again.

I wish I lived in a world where "postmodernists" had "[revealed] the secret grammar of architectural narrative and poetic symmetries" and "provided a blueprint of how we necessarily think and express ourselves", thereby "[mirroring] the latest developments in neurology, psychology, and evolutionary biology". But in the universe I unhappily inhabit, it was I.A. Richards who tried to start down that path a century ago, representing a generation of literary scholars that the postmodernists scornfully rejected.

As I wrote a few years ago ("Literary Evolution", 8/3/2008):

The idea of approaching literary criticism in a scientific spirit is nothing new — I.A. Richards, for example, saw literary analysis as a form of rational inquiry no different in kind from psychology, linguistics, or anthropology. In Practical Criticism (1930), he analyzed the responses of dozens of anonymized undergraduates to dozens of anonymized poems; and he notes that because in that way "we gain a much more intimate understanding both of the poem and of the opinions it provokes", he was "not without fears that my efforts may prove of assistance to young poets (and others) desiring to increase their sales. A set of formulas for 'nation-wide appeal' seems to be a just possible outcome."

And could it be this same transdimension wire-crossing that created the confusion about the title of Krystal's essay? It's true that headlines are normally written by editors rather than writers — but perhaps this title switch represents a conflict between the journal's Krystal World editor and her mundane counterpart.

Anyhow, for more dispatches from Arthur Krystal's universe, see "What we lose if we lose the canon", 1/5/2015, featured on the cover of the January 9 issue of The Chronicle Review under the alternate-world title "How We Read Now". I look forward to future cover stories on how biochemistry is ruining anthropology, and philately is ruining astronomy.

Preview Cifonelli Fall/Winter 2015

Jan. 25th, 2015 11:29 am
[syndicated profile] thesartorialist_feed

Posted by The Sartorialist

12415john5983My good friend John Vizzone working late before the Cifonelli Fashion Show. It’s great to see his modern American design sensibility leading one of Paris’s oldest tailoring houses.

Daily Happiness

Jan. 25th, 2015 12:12 am
torachan: nepeta from homestuck (nepeta)
[personal profile] torachan
1. The new stocker seems to be working out well and just in general it finally feels like we have enough people working there so everyone's not scrambling to keep up.

2. There were lots of good leftover bentos tonight, including my favorite ramen.

3. I managed to get some translating done before work today. Too often on my late days I find the morning goes by so fast and then suddenly it's time for work and I didn't do anything.

4. It's supposed to rain a couple days this coming week. :D

5. All my shows are back on tomorrow! (Though sadly it's the last two episodes of Galavant.)
otw_staff: Kiri, OTW Communications Co-Chair (Kiri)
[personal profile] otw_staff posting in [community profile] otw_news

Banner by Ania of various fanworks including cosplay, text, and visual art


OTW is holding a Fic/Pro Author Chat on February 8 to celebrate International Fanworks Day. Submit your questions now, and don’t forget to let us know how you or your fandom communities plan to celebrate so that we can give you a signal boost!


[syndicated profile] languagelog_feed

Posted by Geoffrey K. Pullum

An email correspondent working for someone who is (evidently) a clueless would-be grammar purist appealed to me recently for help:

I am working with a client who insists that it is grammatically incorrect to use Get There First as a tag line. For the life of us, we cannot figure out what is grammatically incorrect about this phrase. Can you shed any light on our mystery?

Of course I can! Here at Language Log we solve half a dozen grammar mysteries of this sort before breakfast. I can not only finger the client's reaction as classic nervous cluelessness; I think I can identify the etiology of the mistake.

My guess would be that the client thinks that because first is an adjective (which it certainly is, hence noun phrases like a first approximation or the first customer), it therefore cannot be used as an adverb. After all (the client might reason), with an adjective like immediate, which certainly occurs as an attributive adjective in a noun phrase like an immediate response, it is not grammatical to use it as an adverb:


*We must go there immediate.

 We must go there immediately.

You have to add -ly to get the related adverb immediately, and use that instead of the adjective.

What the client has not noticed, though, is that there are a number of adjectives in English that have corresponding adverbs that don't take the -ly suffix. There is nothing wrong with words like fast, late, or hard being used either as adjectives or as adverbs, without the -ly:

  fast late hard
adjectival uses:  a fast car a late lunch a hard shell
adverbial uses:  She drove fast. Let's arrive late. They tried hard.

No one (I assume) would think that the adverb uses are ungrammatical in Standard English. And the plain fact is that the ordinal numeral adjectives first, second, third, etc., belong in the same class as fast, late, and hard. In noun phrases like the first person to do it we see them in their adjective guise, and in clauses like I did it first they make fully grammatical appearances as adverbs. Similarly for second, third, and all the others.

One thing that may increase people's anxiety about using unsuffixed adverbs is the fact that informal American English is inclined to use unsuffixed adverbs more freely, and American students may recall getting told off in writing classes for being overly informal. You'll need to get there quick sometimes gets corrected to You'll need to get there quickly, and so on. Moreover, with some words more than just style is at stake: phrases like love me tender and treat me nice (both familiar as Elvis Presley song titles) are not grammatical in Standard English at all, regardless of formality level. So using unsuffixed forms as adverbs certainly can be ungrammatical in some cases.

But the client made the mistake of not considering this question: Which of the following is grammatical?

 I hope we get there first.
*I hope we get there firstly.

It's the asterisked one that is hopelessly ungrammatical, in all dialects and at all formality levels. And the first example is fine.

There is a further point: the adverb first can even occur (with a slightly different meaning) before the verb it modifies:

We first have to get there.

Normally unsuffixed adverbs can't do that: you can say We'll arrive late but not *We'll late arrive. That's one of the small syntactic differences between the two adverbs: late happens not to have developed a pre-head modifier use. The -ly adverbs usually can occur before a verb (as in Elvis immediately left the building, or We quickly grabbed our coats). So first is even more like a typical adverb than late is!

It took only a few seconds on my laptop to determine for sure that a respectably edited source like The Wall Street Journal agreed with me: I searched 44 million words of WSJ articles to see if get there first ever occurred there in the text of an article (rather than in direct quotations from speech), and it did:

With talk of raising federal levies on those items and gasoline, some states that need revenue are moving to get there first.

So to summarize, the client is totally, totally wrong. There is not a whiff of ungrammaticality (or even informality) about the phrase get there first in Standard English.

I hope the client can be convinced. But I wouldn't bet on it: people just dig their heels in on such matters. With their fingers in their ears they just scream that what they think they remember having once been told by an English teacher is right, and all the professional grammarians in the world are wrong and none of the evidence of usage is relevant. Explaining to them that grammatically their head is stuck in a bodily aperture where the sun never shines is even trickier when they are the client and you are working for them and you'd like to keep the contract.

All ADJ and shit

Jan. 23rd, 2015 11:17 pm
[syndicated profile] languagelog_feed

Posted by Mark Liberman

Howard Oakley ("Birth of a new English phrase", 1/23/2015) was struck by the phrase "all proper and shit", in the context of a tweet by Christopher Phin noting that "[choice of printing mode] makes my writing seem all proper and shit". So Howard investigated the history of that four-word sequence by means of various web search tools.

I strongly support the combination of linguistic curiosity and empirical methods, but in this case, I'm puzzled by the fact that Howard saw the phrase as novel. As far as I can see, "all proper and shit" is a syntactically, semantically, and pragmatically compositional combination of two constructions that have existed in English for hundreds of years.

Among the many ways to say et cetera or et similia, it's common to find

and things|stuff|crap|shit|junk like that

or just

and such|stuff|whatnot|all|so on

In particular, the two-word phrase and stuff has been a common deprecatory continuation for  several hundred years:

Historical collections of private passages of state, weighty matters in law, remarkable proceedings in five parliaments: Beginning the sixteenth year of King James, anno 1618, and ending the fifth year of King Charles, anno 1629:

Furthermore it is also humbly informed by the said Marshal, That upon the twenty second of March last, by a like Warrant from the Lord Conway, he did search the Bishop's Prison, called the new Prison in Maiden-lane in London, where he found six several Priests prisoners in several Chambers, and Altar, with all Furniture thereto belonging, with Church-Books and Stuff, which were as much as three Porters could carry away, and it is now in the hands of the Lord Conway.

Jonathan Swift, "The Grand Question Debated: A Barrack or A Malthouse" (The Gentleman's Magazine and Monthly Intelligencer, Feb. 1732):

A scholard, when just for the college broke loose,
Can hardly tell how to cry bo to a goose,
Your Novids, and Bludurks, and Omers, and stuff,
By G_d, they don't signify this pinch of snuff.
To give a young gentleman right education,
The army's the the very best school in the nation.

John Neal, Randolph (1823):

Besides, after admitting the merit of the writer, the dramatick distinctness of his characters; for, after all, that is his chief, if not his only merit, for there is nothing remarkable in his style; — there are so many drawbacks, so much trash — so many chapters of tiresome pedantry — horology — law — heraldry — history — and stuff, relative to individuals, that can be interesting only to those who know the parties, that I should not fear to utter the prediction, solely on that ground. 

Since stuff has been used at least since the 16th century to mean (what the OED glosses as) "Matter of an unspecified kind"; and similarly used since the 17th century to mean (what the OED glosses as) "What is worthless; rubbish", the phrase and stuff, glossed by the OED as "and such-like useless or uninteresting matters", was a natural development.

As such phrases become common, it's also natural for their deprecatory connotations to gradually bleach out, so that by now and stuff is just a more informal way to say "and so on". And even its syntactic status (as the end of a conjunction of nouns) has optionally faded out, so that it can be used to vague-ify adjectives and verbs as well:

Corky's Brother (Novel, 1969):  They got along real well, laughing and stuff, but Pa never did say much to her, except to ask what he could do for her.

Sincerity Forever (Play, 1990): First I had a crush on him because I thought he was cute and stuff.

And there's some indication that and stuff has increased in frequency over the past 50 years or so:

Since shit has also been used for a long time to mean (what the OED glosses as) "Rubbish, trash; something regarded as worthless", it was a natural substitute for stuff in such phrases. Thus the OED glosses and shit as "and so on; and similar stuff. Also used simply for emphasis", with citations back to 1965:

1965   C. Brown Manchild in Promised Land xiv. 333   They have their bakeries, their groceries, their delicatessens, and shit, but they don't have a lot of bars and liquor stores.
1986   D. A. Dye Platoon (1987) vi. 109   Look at them papers… That looks like maps and shit.

Because shit is a taboo word, it's hard to know how long this usage has been around, but I'm certain that and shit was used in just that way when I was growing up in the 1950s.

But again, there's some evidence that and shit has been increasing in frequency, parallel to and stuff:

And then there's all in OED sense C.1.a. "With a past participle, adjective, or (later also) adjectival phrase: wholly, completely, entirely; altogether, quite; fully; (later also in somewhat weakened use) to a strikingly large extent; very much".

The OED's earliest citation is

OE   Genesis B 756   Hit is nu Adame eall forgolden.

Some later cites:

1548   W. Turner Names of Herbes sig. B.iijv,   It [sc. Asparagus] maye be called in englishe pricky Sperage, because it is all full of pryckes.
1611   Bible (King James) Nahum iii. 1   Woe to the bloody City, it is all full of lyes and robberie.
1648   R. Herrick Hesperides sig. L8,   Lips she has, all Rubie red.
1671   in M. P. Brown Suppl. Dict. Decisions Court of Session (1826) II. 704   When first shown it was most white and tight, the next time it was all sullied, rankled, and torn.
[…]
1921   M. E. Stone Fifty Years Journalist vii. 355   To me it seemed all wrong.

So "all proper and shit" simply combines the adjectival intensification of "all wrong" with the conjunctive fuzzification of "cute and stuff". It should be no surprise that the 1973 movie script Don't Play Us Cheap has

Brother Luther rat does not dig that jive one bit — Irresponsible Imps coming down and getting innocent bystanding rats and roaches who haven't done a thing all squashed and stuff.

Or that the 2005 novel Hissy Fit has

Once we're married, it won't be as much fun as this. We'll be all legal and stuff.

The residual deprecatory tinge of and stuff|shit adds a tang of irony to such phrases, which is clear in the "makes my writing seem all proper and shit" example that Howard picked up on in the first place. But like the rest of this phrase's form and meaning, the irony seems to me to be a predictable function of the parts that it's made from.

Could this particular word sequence have become an idiom, all the same? Maybe, but it'll take more than a few examples to persuade me. There are quite a few other adjectives that are more common than proper in the frame "all __ and shit": sweaty, funny, ready, open, messed up, confused, …

 

Culture Consumed Saturday

Jan. 24th, 2015 11:12 pm
vass: a man in a bat suit says "I am a model of mental health!" (Bats)
[personal profile] vass
Books

Still reading Long Hidden: Speculative Fiction from the Margins of History. It's taking me way longer than it should, and that's not the book's fault. There are some really great stories here, and some others that are okay but not really wowing me.

Comics and Manga

Read No Normal, the first Ms Marvel collection. AWESOME. I guess I'm getting sucked back into comics, because I really want to know what happens to Kamala now. I bought it as a birthday present for the Niece, and I'm glad I did, because it's kind of perfect for a new 13-year-old.

Fanworks

Two of the WIPs I follow updated:
Winter's Children by [archiveofourown.org profile] Neery, and Weeds by [archiveofourown.org profile] Dien.

They are both based on total crack premises, done very well (the latter is "what if Lionel Fusco was Finch and Reed's houseboy?" and the former is what happens when the Winter Soldier comes across a failed Hydra experiment to recreate Captain America by cloning Steve, which resulted in, quote unquote, "ELEVEN TOW-HEADED, ASTHMATIC, ALLERGIC, IMMUNO-COMPROMISED LITTLE BEANPOLES WITH BAD ATTITUDES.") I'm so happy when these update.

TV and Movies

Watched Captain America: The Winter Soldier. I don't have the stamina for long movies at the moment. I never did have a lot of stamina for that, and this... yeah.

Games

Attempted to install the demo version of Long Live The Queen, which I saw described on Tumblr as a really viciously brutal magical princess game. Unfortunately, getting a 2012 game written in Ren'Py with no multiarch support to run on the latest version of Debian in 2015 is not the easiest thing.

I'll try again on Windows once I have the kitten out of my spare room and get around to turning my desktop on and updating everything and also finding out whether my external hard drive with all my music and videos on it is destroyed after the kittens spilled water on it.

Crafts

Started colouring another mandala.

Other

Wrote some fic, and posted two more installments in my series of Tumblr posts Punster Anaander Mianaai, for a total of three so far. (Idea stolen from [tumblr.com profile] lecterings, who did it with Hannibal. My version will make no sense if you haven't read Ancillary Justice)

The Place to Be: is at 2-1-3.

Jan. 24th, 2015 11:42 am
[syndicated profile] thesartorialist_feed

Posted by The Sartorialist

It’s always a treat

When our paths should meet

Across the floor at Colette.

Many a store

Can cause such a bore,

But with colette it is always a treat.

Fic post

Jan. 24th, 2015 09:56 pm
vass: Jon Stewart reading a dictionary (books)
[personal profile] vass
Maybe they'll leave you alone but not me. Imperial Radch, gen, Ancillary Sword spoilers. Tisarwat, Seivarden. (Warnings: suicide, emetophobia triggers. In other words, it's Tisarwat.)

Summary: Tisarwat matches wits with Seivarden. Which would not normally be at all difficult for her, but she's having a rough year.

I'm trying to get better at posting things and then telling people I posted them, instead of a) keeping them in a directory on my hard drive, or b) posting them to AO3 and then running and hiding. Which means there may be further fic posts after this in the next few days.

Imperial Radch fic-writing problems: when you can't use the word "patronising" without introducing resonances you didn't want.

Daily Happiness

Jan. 23rd, 2015 11:30 pm
torachan: ewan mcgregor pulling his glasses down to look over the top (ewan glasses)
[personal profile] torachan
1. Kitty was super active this evening, dashing here and there and playing in a paper bag. It's good to see her so obviously feeling better. And she completely wore herself out and has been a super cuddler the rest of the night. Everywhere I go, she follows me, demanding to snuggle up in my sweatshirt. (She's in my sweatshirt as I type!)

2. I found a new cleaner for Himegoto and it looks like I'll be able to get two chapters a month posted! (Though I need to get on the translation...this month is nearly over already!)

3. We went back to Albertsons tonight and got a bunch of clearance stuff. Most of the stuff they have on sale is really not that great a price, because it's only 10-25% off of regular price, but I would never pay regular price and the sale price at a big supermarket like this would normally be much more than 10-25% off. So we mostly skipped those and tried to find stuff that was 50% or more off, but of course that stuff was more picked over (a lot of the 90% off stuff was just completely wiped out already). Jam was 50% off, though, and while the shelves were quite picked over, they did still have a lot left, so we got a bunch of jam. I'm going to try and start taking sandwiches for lunch on a regular basis again. I've been buying lunch too much lately. :-/
[syndicated profile] terriwindling_feed

Posted by Terri Windling

Cinderella by Edmund Dulac

“The store of fairy tales, that blue chamber where stories lie waiting to be rediscovered, holds out the promise of just those creative enchantments, not only for its own characters caught in its own plotlines; it offers magical metamorphoses to the one who opens the door, who passes on what was found there, and to those who hear what the storyteller brings. The faculty of wonder, like curiosity can make things happen; it is time for wishful thinking to have its due.” - Marina Warner (from The Beast to the Blonde: On Fairy Tales and Their Tellers)

Snow White by Angela Barrett

“Someone needs to tell those tales. When the battles are fought and won and lost, when the pirates find their treasures and the dragons eat their foes for breakfast with a nice cup of Lapsang souchong, someone needs to tell their bits of overlapping narrative. There's magic in that. It's in the listener, and for each and every ear it will be different, and it will affect them in ways they can never predict. From the mundane to the profound. You may tell a tale that takes up residence in someone's soul, becomes their blood and self and purpose. That tale will move them and drive them and who knows what they might do because of it, because of your words. That is your role, your gift. Your sister may be able to see the future, but you yourself can shape it, boy. Do not forget that... there are many kinds of magic, after all.”  - Erin Morgenstern (from The Night Circus)

Round the Oak Tree by Kelly Louise Judd

“We who make stories know that we tell lies for a living. But they are good lies that say true things, and we owe it to our readers to build them as best we can. Because somewhere out there is someone who needs that story. Someone who will grow up with a different landscape, who without that story will be a different person. And who with that story may have hope, or wisdom, or kindness, or comfort. And that is why we write.” - Neil Gaiman (from The Graveyard Book)

Two illustrations for Thumbelina by Lisbeth Zwerger.jpg

“People think that stories are shaped by people. In fact, it's the other way around.”  - Terry Pratchett (from Witches Abroad)

Little Red Cap by Gina LitherlandArt above: "Cinderella" by Edmund Dulac (1882-1953), "Snow White" by Angela Barrett, "Round the Oak Tree" by Kelly Louise Judd,  two illustrations for "Thumbelina" by Lisbeth Zwerger., and "Little Red Cap" by Gina Litherland. This post was originally published in January, 2013. I like to occasionally re-visit old posts when they chime with current discussions here.

wednesday reading

Jan. 23rd, 2015 10:41 pm
boxofdelights: (Default)
[personal profile] boxofdelights
Turned out I needed a biopsy. Microcalcifications. Should hear the results Tuesday.

• What are you reading?

The Good Lord Bird, by James McBride. I like the voice, which makes me think of Mark Twain. John Brown is preposterous enough to be a Mark Twain character, with his freakish good luck and his inexplicable charisma, and I find it very easy to believe that when he mistakes Henry, the narrator, for a girl, he bulldozes over every attempt to correct him until everyone, including Henry, falls into line. But of course John Brown isn't a Mark Twain character: when he decides that a family he came across at random are pro-slavery, he is equally impervious to correction, and he murders them.

I would be happier reading this book if someone could assure me that Henry, who is the only child, the only Black person, and the only person in women's clothing living with John Brown's army, doesn't get raped.

• What did you recently finish reading?

Yes Please, by Amy Poehler. It's no Bossypants, but I enjoyed it. The bit I liked best was about needing to apologize.
I was a shitty version of myself. The shadow side. I made a lot of noise because I felt bad about hurting someone's feelings and I didn't want to get quiet and really figure out how I felt. I was afraid to lie down and put my hand on my heart and hear the tiny voice whispering inside me saying that I had screwed up.

Your brain is not your friend when you need to apologize. Your brain and your ego and your intellect all remind you of the "facts." I kept telling myself that the only thing I was guilty of was not paying attention. Sure, I was being self-absorbed and insensitive, but who isn't? Sure, I should have been more on top of what I was saying, but wasn't that somebody else's job? Didn't everyone know how busy I was? Didn't Marianne and Chris take into consideration what a NICE PERSON I was? My brain shouted these things loud and clear. My heart quietly told a different story.
I like how accurately she voices the truths that she wishes were not true, in her apology letter from the head, and how unashamedly sincere she is about the part that she wishes were the whole truth, in her apology letter from the heart.

I like this even though it is not at all how I conceptualize my parts. When I discover that I owe someone an apology, the hurt of being criticized, the anger at being hurt, the shame of being in the wrong, those are all heart things. They are feelings, things I perceive directly. Looking at the situation from the other person's point of view; figuring out the difference between what she could see (my actions) and what she could not (my intentions, my history of being a NICE PERSON); trying to imagine what she felt about it; these are all head things, things I get by thinking. I don't perceive them directly. I don't perceive them at all unless I seek them out. Still, this is a useful step in my lifelong quest to learn how to apologize and how to forgive.

• What do you think you’ll read next?

The Golem and the Jinni, by Helene Wecker.

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