Filthy #DailyPost #WritersWednesday

Today’s prompt

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“Of course, you have to explore their past: those characters of yours have a past, hidden from you, so far. You need to discover it, understand it, get into some of the less palatable truths about them. Don’t just see them squeakily clean on the blank page! Look, look for the filth, the deplorable, the inexcusable.”

She spoke, in this charming but imperative voice my muse has, when the rain falls, and I am stuck in getting the novel back moving again. She’s right, she always is.

“And, by the way, if your discoveries, what they were once up to, the skeletons in their briefcase, lead you to question their virtue, don’t hesitate! The hero is less than perfect! Good! In fact he is a coward, or was, or might be again: lovely! What will attract the attention of a discerning reader is, is precisely what makes her that little better, more adjusted, thus a touch sexier, than that character of yours!”

I will follow her advice, much work in perspective, and maybe, by digging through the filth, I’ll find the gems?

Vegetal #DailyPrompt

Write a new post in response to today’s one-word prompt.

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They surround us, little by little: first on the balcony, an array of dark greens and colourful shoots, but also in the living room – ha what a space for us! – the Peace Lily (Spathiphyllum) and one other (Ficus Ali), all good for the air we breath! Then there are the little ones, squeezed between windows, nesting comfortably against the rigour of the eastern winter. We shall wait for their arrival for Christmas.

We will have more, as we believe in their power. No Triffid, of course, only the friendly and beneficial type!

Image: Peace Lily (Spathiphyllum cochlearispathum), Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens, Tasmania, Australia Camera data Camera Canon EOS 400D Lens Tamron EF 180mm f3.5 1:1 Macro Focal length 180 mm Aperture f/8 Exposure time 1/3 s Sensivity ISO 100 ~ By JJ Harrison (jjharrison89@facebook.com) – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link

Rearrange #DailyPost #Berlin

From the crazy crowd

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She asked: “Do you think the City is less sexy in winter?”

This made me smile. All the way to Frannz Club in Prenzlauer Berg, I reflected on what my lover said. Later, immersed in Erik Truffaz’ amazing trumpet, I had the answer. If anything the City is more captivating, as the light declines: more secrets come to the fore, less nudity, and more soul. Dark jackets and woollen scarves may hide the skin, but, ah, the search for a hint, a blink, a smile…

“You may be right,” she finally declared, “But that is because you rearrange the world to suit your dreams…” Yes, how true this is. Where else could we accommodate, not merely our dreams, but also those of others, mysteriously readable to us, as dead leaves rush past our steps, and Erik’ tunes still resonate in our hearts.

The City holds us, and won’t let go: street by street, note by note, we learn her language, as her silent words float through the cool night air, one beautiful face at a time. Ghosts, strangers, they become us, and us them.

Image: Erik Truffaz, By XpeeterxOwn work http://www.flickr.com/photos/peter_es/4454478410/, CC BY 3.0, Link

Unfinished #DailyPost

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We have got so far, much is still to be done. We have to go further, down the quiet streets, and the wide avenues, through the small parks, along the canals… There, somewhere, we’ll find ourselves, the meaning of us, the ultimate ecstasy.

Till then, it’s unfinished business, work in progress, the novel unfinished.

Till then, there is only you and me, lovers, haters, fighters, humans.

After us, the déluge…

Image: Maurits Cornelis Escher – Procession in Crypt. 1927 – via drakontomalloi

From the cool guys

#Writing space (Thursday’s Musings) #amwriting

Faraway Looks, René Magritte, 1927The desk is littered:  photographs of the sublime Italian model he worships, another of himself in the Dolomites with two small children – now young adults – a postal card of Paul Klee’s “The Saint of the inner Light”, various requests for donations (well…) and more…

And what about this new work? Stalling, wandering, disrupted and drifting: this cannot continue! But yet, there are so many distractions, take for example that invite to meet xxx in London in June – wow! But work! Writing is a discipline, solitary confinement, self-imposed chastity – what else? O, yes, these pesky characters, both attractive and repellant, they want their way, can’t have it, protest, go on strike…

There is a start, a location, a loose outline, and some collaterals. But not enough to jump. Then those pictures flashing on the screen saver, so many moments of happiness, terror, doubt, pleasure! Writing is of course the best place, for an ageing traveller: revisiting, looking back, rediscovering… In one word: hard work.

Image: Faraway Looks, René Magritte, 1927

The Saint of inner Light

Paul Klee: The Saint of inner Light

#AtoZChallenge2015: Zn, for Zinc

Today is the last post of this 2015 AtoZAprilChallenge, and it’s about this marvellous element Zinc, symbol Zn, and number 30 on the elements periodic table. Zinc has many fantastic properties, and is a major component of living things.

1943 Zinc PennyZinc, in commerce also spelter, is a chemical element with symbol Zn and atomic number 30. It is the first element of group 12 of the periodic table. In some respects zinc is chemically similar to magnesium: its ion is of similar size and its only common oxidation state is +2. Zinc is the 24th most abundant element in Earth’s crust and has five stable isotopes. The most common zinc ore is sphalerite (zinc blende), a zinc sulfide mineral. The largest mineable amounts are found in Australia, Asia, and the United States. Zinc production includes froth flotation of the oreroasting, and final extractionusing electricity (electrowinning).

Brass, which is an alloy of copper and zinc, has been used since at least the 10th century BC in Judea[2] and by the 7th century BC in Ancient Greece.[3] Zinc metal was not produced on a large scale until the 12th century in India and was unknown to Europe until the end of the 16th century. The mines of Rajasthan have given definite evidence of zinc production going back to the 6th century BC.[4] To date, the oldest evidence of pure zinc comes from Zawar, in Rajasthan, as early as the 9th century AD when a distillation process was employed to make pure zinc.[5] Alchemistsburned zinc in air to form what they called “philosopher’s wool” or “white snow”.

The element was probably named by the alchemist Paracelsus after the German word Zinke. German chemist Andreas Sigismund Marggraf is credited with discovering pure metallic zinc in 1746. Work by Luigi Galvani and Alessandro Voltauncovered the electrochemical properties of zinc by 1800. Corrosion-resistant zinc plating of iron (hot-dip galvanizing) is the major application for zinc. Other applications are in batteries, small non-structural castings, and alloys, such as brass. A variety of zinc compounds are commonly used, such as zinc carbonate and zinc gluconate (as dietary supplements), zinc chloride (in deodorants), zinc pyrithione (anti-dandruff shampoos), zinc sulfide (in luminescent paints), and zinc methyl or zinc diethyl in the organic laboratory.

Zinc is an essential mineral perceived by the public today as being of “exceptional biologic and public health importance”, especially increasingly regarding prenatal and postnatal development.[6] Zinc deficiency affects about two billion people in the developing world and is associated with many diseases.[7] In children it causes growth retardation, delayed sexual maturation, infection susceptibility, and diarrhea.[6] Enzymes with a zinc atom in the reactive center are widespread in biochemistry, such as alcohol dehydrogenase in humans.[8] Consumption of excess zinc can cause ataxialethargy and copper deficiency

Various isolated examples of the use of impure zinc in ancient times have been discovered. Zinc ores were used to make the zinc–copper alloy brass many centuries prior to the discovery of zinc as a separate element. Judean brass from the 14th to 10th centuries BC contains 23% zinc.[2]

Knowledge of how to produce brass spread to Ancient Greece by the 7th century BC, but few varieties were made.[3] Ornaments made of alloys containing 80–90% zinc, with lead, iron, antimony, and other metals making up the remainder, have been found that are 2,500 years old.[17] A possibly prehistoric statuette containing 87.5% zinc was found in a Dacian archaeological site.[49]

The oldest known pills were made of the zinc carbonates hydrozincite and smithsonite. The pills were used for sore eyes and were found aboard the Roman ship Relitto del Pozzino, which wrecked in 140 BC.[50][51]

The manufacture of brass was known to the Romans by about 30 BC.[52] They made brass by heating powdered calamine (zinc silicate or carbonate), charcoal and copper together in a crucible.[52] The resulting calamine brass was then either cast or hammered into shape for use in weaponry.[53] Some coins struck by Romans in the Christian era are made of what is probably calamine brass.[54]

Strabo writing in the 1st century BC (but quoting a now lost work of the 4th century BC historian Theopompus) mentions “drops of false silver” which when mixed with copper make brass. This may refer to small quantities of zinc that is a by-product of smelting sulfide ores.[55] Zinc in such remnants in smelting ovens was usually discarded as it was thought to be worthless.[56]

The Berne zinc tablet is a votive plaque dating to Roman Gaul made of an alloy that is mostly zinc.[57]

The Charaka Samhita, thought to have been written between 300 and 500 AD,[58] mentions a metal which, when oxidized, produces pushpanjan, thought to be zinc oxide.[59]Zinc mines at Zawar, near Udaipur in India, have been active since the Mauryan period. The smelting of metallic zinc here, however, appears to have begun around the 12th century AD.[60][61] One estimate is that this location produced an estimated million tonnes of metallic zinc and zinc oxide from the 12th to 16th centuries.[19] Another estimate gives a total production of 60,000 tonnes of metallic zinc over this period.[60] The Rasaratna Samuccaya, written in approximately the 13th century AD, mentions two types of zinc-containing ores: one used for metal extraction and another used for medicinal purposes.”

About Zinc and healthhttp://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Zinc-HealthProfessional/

Zinc in foodhttp://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=nutrient&dbid=115

Image: http://www.publicdomainpictures.net/view-image.php?image=10228&picture=1943-zinc-penny&large=1

On page turning #amwriting #amediting

LoveEvery writer reaches this point, I expect, sooner or later, when a decision has to be taken: continue the story, or close it, refine it, not just through careful editing, but perhaps rewriting too.

After forty odd thousand words the story has its own momentum, and the characters their own agenda. Once one reaches the 100k, changing direction is like navigating the proverbial tanker! What interests me is the dynamics between author-story-characters as the work progresses. In this case the story is anchored on the City, and the characters’s ballet is centred on the City. One could say that the City is one of the characters, not a mere backdrop for the story. The City influences the (other) characters, some more deeply than others. In short, there is the trio of people who make up the current narrative, the City (and its siblings) and the author. Who best controls the story? Who is best placed to decide the future?

There may be a conflict of interests. The characters want to continue with their lives, and don’t give a damn about polishing or refining, or, for that matter, publishing! Since the City is more real than the story, it sees itself, should I say herself? – as the arbitrator. The author, of course, wishes to see a finished product. But the author also depends on the characters for inspiration, and on the City for belief. The City hosts the story, and protects the author against the inevitable drift and diversions. In one sense the book can only come to life, be born, in the City.

There are many ways to close the story. Killing one or more characters is one way. Getting the plot(s) to an unexpected ending is another. Needless to say the former is not popular with characters. Nor is the latter, since it means the end of their hopes and perhaps lives, in another way, just as final as death. There the characters and the City have a common cause.

I expect the author will have to work at two levels, and one of them is to continue with the story! The other being the boring stuff made of editing, and taking out, and rewriting, and… Stuff that!

To conclude: I suspect the author to be too much involved, and enjoying herself, with her characters to attempt anything final

#AtoZAprilChallenge: Organic

Alive The term Organic may refer to an organism, or living entity, or to an organ. Wikipedia lists Organic references in: Chemistry (carbon-based chemistry, chemistry of carbon-based compounds), Agriculture and Farming (organic agriculture “conducted according to certain standards, especially the use of methods of fertilisation and pest control”, organic horticulture, organic food), Computing (organic computer built form neurones, computer systems with properties of self-configuration), Economics (organic growth “as opposed to mergers, acquisitions and take-overs”, flat structure businesses), Military (organic unit, “a permanent part of a larger unit that provides some specialised capability”), Law (organic or fundamental law), Music (several albums under that name, e.g. Freak Kitchen, 2005, and Joe Cocker, 1996) and a few others.

From Keywords: “Organic has a specific meaning in modern English, to refer to the processes or products of life, in human beings, animals or plants. It has also an important applied or metaphorical meaning, to indicate certain kinds of relationship and thence kinds of society…

The source of its common specific modern meaning is the major development of natural history and biology in C18, when it acquired a dominate reference to things living and growing.”