The Opposite Impressions of S and F

I was fifteen, I think, when I first considered the letter S and the letter F. There are no two letters more opposite, in my mind.  In Karen Cushman’s The Midwife’s Apprentice, the protagonist, while learning to read and write, gives her opinion of letters:

She liked best the O, the D and the G, for they looked friendly. Z seemed mean, X wicked; and W always made her yawn. Q was by far the most beautiful, she thought, even if it could not stand alone and must be accompanied everywhere by the compliant U (p. 74, The Midwife’s Apprentice)

S and F may also be considered by the impression their shape gives on the page. S, I believe, is prettier even than Q, a pleasing swirl, curvy and soft, that takes little effort to create, without even the need to lift the pen’s nib from the paper. And S is not only lovely to behold; its substantial base gives it strength where it rests. It is sturdy and true, and though rounded its footing will not falter; S will do no more than gently rock, too evenly distributed to fall.

F, on the other hand, is top-heavy, its weight irregularly distributed on its one narrow foot. In other words, F is doomed to fall. The only other letter that stands such is P, which at least has a soft curve to catch it should it stumble. F is all harsh angles and points, and to write well requires the effort to lift the pen twice from a page.

It is little wonder, then, that there seem so many words associated with beauty and good that begin with S, and so many words linked to weakness, grief and loneliness that begin with F.


sacred, safe, sanctuary, saved, shimmer, shine, soft, solid, soothing, sparkle, special, splendid, stable, strong, succeed


fade, fail, faint, fall, false, falter, fatal, fatigued, fault, fear, forgotten, forlorn, fragile, frail, frightened

There are some words, of course, that break this trend – sorrow and sick, faith and fortune – but for me, since hearing the chorus of Fuel’s Shimmer – hearing and understanding, not how it was heard by only my child’s ears long before I was fifteen – S is forever raised above while F remains troubled and broken below.

All that shimmers in this world is sure to fade (Fuel)

(Graphics sourced from


To Read in One’s Own Words

Late nights singing, overtime and and a weekend away at choir camp all aligned at the end of the week and kept me away from the computer longer than I’d like. Not much to report save a small personal achievement: for my review (sort of like a talent/variety show, if anyone requires an explanation) item at camp, I read the first scene from Under the Bright Water aloud. I thought it fit the evening’s costume theme – book characters. Thought about dressing as one of my own characters, but decided that might be a little pretentious.
Twas a touch nerve-wracking, reading my own work. I know I’ve already published it, but still. It’s a little different, sharing it that way. More personal. I chose Under the Bright Water as it’s still the piece of writing I’m most satisfied with overall. I received several good comments about my style and quite a few said they were going to read the rest and would look into reading the rest of the series, which makes me happy.
I’ve really got to get a move on with the fourth story in Treading Twisted Lines and keep the series moving along. Number four’s been eluding me for far too long.

Hodmandod: Mating Ritual, Instrument, or Snail?

Been doing lots of reading. Getting a little annoyed with some somewhat sub-standard editing that caused me to give a book that I otherwise enjoyed  3/5 instead of 4/5. The second book in the series, which I finished today, was about to get the same treatment, but it achieved 4/5 despite these shortcomings because I don’t remember the last time I’ve gotten quite so emotionally involved, upset and angry – mainly angry – over a story.  Tricking, lying, abuse, and pure evil are bad. Not that I was ever unsure of that. But … wow. Had me feeling sick, hot and nearly shaking …

A new round of Balderdash below – have fun navigating my nonsense.  Remember, no googling until you’ve had a guess which option is correct.

And now, let’s play Balderdash …

Category:  Words


a) The name given to the mating ritual of the North African Red Scorpion involving a scuttling dance from the males that expresses sexual availability, females stalking the males as prey, and, once caught and the mating ritual is complete, concludes with the female slowly devouring the male, thus providing her main source of food until she gives birth to her live young.

b) A seven-stringed instrument similar to the sitar

c) A snail that has retreated into its shell

High Pressure: A Film Star, Con Artist, or Scientist’s Story?

Been doing a lot of reading. Bus rides to and from work are good for that, I’ve found. I’ve also found that I’ve missed reading. A lot. I suppose it’s an inferiority complex sort of thing, but I just can’t read while I’m in the process of trying to write my own novels. Finished Cloud Atlas and Flightless Falcoln; started Wool today.

Some movie blurbs to balderdash today – remember, no googling until you’ve guessed 🙂

And now, let’s play Balderdash …

Category:  Movies

High Pressure

a) A cowardly action film star is mistaken for an international spy and given three days to surrender to a terrorist syndicate, else they drop a bomb on Los Angeles

b) Story of a slippery con artist who tries to get people to invest in artificial rubber

c) A love triangle unfolds between a geologist and two marine biologists on a deep sea submarine expedition