Tuesday, April 4, 2017
Dropping a Clanger
My work on Tying the Knot has stopped. I have struggled with it, quarreled with it, gotten angry about it, and finally accepted that it is dead in the water. Whether that is permanent I don’t know; I do know that I’m not going to continue the battle. I am going to wait until it resurrects, or I die, and meanwhile stop letting it aggravate me. I am also currently out of ideas for another mystery. I hope that my fellow authors will permit me to continue making contributions to this blog, because I’m enjoying that part.
I have two very different books I’ve enjoyed reading recently and so offer them here with happy recommendations.
The first is Tugboat Annie, by Norman Reilly Raine. It’s a collection of eighteen short stories selected from seventy-four published in the Saturday Evening Post beginning in 1931. Two extremely popular movies starring Marie Dressler were made from these stories. Mr. Raine had a delightful and brilliant way with words and an encyclopedic knowledge of shipping and the coastal environment of Puget Sound. My copy of this collection was published in 1977 and bought online. The stories are fun and funny, and Mr. Raine’s writing is an education in wordsmithing.
The second is The Magnolia Story, by Chip and Joanna Gaines, with Mark Dagostino. If you’re a fan of the reality television series “Fixer Upper” on HGTV, you’ll like this book. There is something irresistible about Chip and Jo-Jo, her cool and steady attitude and clever designs and his wild and hilarious hands-on labor to make her ideas a reality. But the book discloses a far deeper lifestyle and background. They are a hard-working couple who love their home town of Waco, Texas. What’s great about the book is that it sounds just like them.
There was a story in Monday’s Washington Post about pies, specifically the history and lore of Engish pies. I love etymology, the study of words, and this article is a fascinating look at how meat pies and fruit pies evolved and influenced English culture and language. Very entertaining! Try it here:
Sample: “Take, for example, the Bedfordshire Clanger: a British classic which cleverly combines main course and dessert, with savoury ingredients like pork at one end and sweet ingredients like pear at the other. The name comes from a local slang word, ‘clang’, which means to eat voraciously. However, cramming two courses into a pie makes a clanger rather unwieldy – and all too easy to drop, inspiring the English phrase 'dropping a clanger' for a careless mistake.” I’d come across that phrase many a time in English novels without the slightest notion of where it came from.