Surprises and advice from unlikely sources

Recently, I was talking with one of my coworkers about writing, and I mentioned that I always intend to write down the random ideas and descriptions that pop into my head when I’m out and about, but I never have any paper with me when I need it.

So today she brought me a tiny blank notebook with one of Monet’s water lily paintings on the cover. It has lined cream pages; the paper is a nice weight and the lines are exactly the right distance apart.

I now have it in the pocket of the messenger bag that I take almost everywhere with me, along with my headphones and various writing utensils and a copy of the Silmarillion which I have been in the midst of for a long time now.

It’s a small thing, yes, but I would never have expected it and it made my day.

I also encountered a piece of writing advice from an unlikely place today: Chaucer. Chaucer Doth Tweet, to be more precise. If you have a Twitter account, I highly recommend following him. (Her? Them? It? I know nothing about the identity of the author.)

This advice is from an NPR piece entitled “Advyce For The Sesoun Of Returninge To Scole,” which is written in the form of Middle English favored by Chaucer in these modern times:

Thynke of thy readeres and thyne audience, and crafte yower wordes for their comprehensioun. And make thy wordes rynge lyke belles wyth trouthe, or wit, or humour, or good lore, and bynde thy wordes yn good lettirs that carrye their magic. For al who wryte shoulde worrye nat overmuch about spellinge but yn stead shoulde stryve to cast a spelle.

I’m not sure if any of you will enjoy that as much as I did, but I think it’s actually pretty profound.

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