Kata

Is there an emoji for "I quit"?

I used to disdain emojis. But over the years, as I got into more and more online conversations with friends who use them (no, not just youngins), the blasted things started sneaking into my prose. And now I find myself using them more than I want to.

They've become a crutch. And I don't like those. At all.

So I've decided to give them up cold turkey. My writing should be clear by itself. My emotions should show through regular words and punctuation. (One exclamation point per page max, unless it's for effect. AND NO ALL CAPS!!!) If I feel the need to add a smiley, that's a sign I need to rewrite my sentence so it smiles by itself.

I started my very first book, Épître aux tartempions (born in 1999, sadly out of print - it's the book among the seven or eight I've published whose level of language I'm the most proud of) with this quotation from Anatole France:

Caressez longuement votre phrase, et elle finira par sourire.

I'm back to fondling my prose, Mr. France. Because I like it better when it smiles all by itself.

The importance of framing

For someone who lives in Canada, I have spent an inordinate amount of time on the Albert embankment taking pictures and filming the Houses of Parliament across the Thames. I got some excellent shots, too. But this morning, in the New York Times, there's a picture that makes me itch to go back and try again. I never thought of going downstairs to frame Big Ben through that doorway. Darn it.

Fantastic picture by Andrew Testa of the New York Times

Fantastic picture by Andrew Testa of the New York Times

Always be learning

Always get an education, I like to say. If necessary, go to school. I'm not keen on school - we never go along very well, despite the degrees I've earned. But I value quality education high above most other things. And today's quote, which came to me via a tweet from my dojo, is also a favourite:

“Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young.” -Henry Ford

Be young. And smart. Be learning.