“…as I have nothing better to tell you…”

“…a very expressive word, which, as I have nothing better to tell you, I shall endeavor to explain to you: you will understand it better by the derivation than the definition.”

— Horace Walpole explaining the word he coined; from his letter to Horace Mann written on January 28, 1754



“Sometimes, I think, it’s puzzle-solving…”

“…I want to make good English sentences but without losing the particular voice of the Italian writer. I can’t explain how it happens. I think it has to do with staying pretty close to the original.”

— Ann Goldstein, head of the copy department at the New Yorker magazine, “accidental” book translator

“Her name on a book now is gold.”

— Robert Weil, editor-in-chief of Liveright

“A Book Translator Becomes A Star” by Jennifer Maloney, The Wall Street Journal, Arena, Friday, Jan. 22, 2016

Why Biographies?

“In ‘Contemporary Biography’ (1934), Mark Longaker wrote: ‘The present-day reader most often goes to biography because he is most interested in himself,’ One gathers that Longaker meant that one reads biography in search of models of behavior, to discover the secrets behind the facades of public figures, and to compare one’s own life to those of the great and famous. An equally compelling reason for reading biography is that it can reinforce the belief in the power of men and women not only to shape their own destiny but to rise above what seem irresistible trends in politics, economics and social psychology to lead lives of dignity, elegance, achievement and sometimes even grandeur. Well-written biographies remind us that in the end men and women, not impersonal forces, are the true measure and motor force of history.”

Joseph Epstein exploring “On Life-Writing” edited by Zachary Leader

“The Art of Biography,” The Wall Street Journal, Books, Saturday/Sunday, January 2–3, 2016


“When in the night I lay awake…”

 Starlight, real snowflake macro photo on dark woolen fabric - Alexey Kljatov
When in the night I lay awake
The moon became a silver lake
Across it swam a single swan
That turned into a white snowflake

It grew until the lake was gone
Beneath the crystals, clear as drawn
Then burst into a million stars
That fell until the break of dawn

Like rays of light through prison bars
Like gems adorning crowns of tsars
They fell as I succumbed to sleep
Like healing drops upon fresh scars

Live for the Love of it,
Sasha A. Palmer (aka Happy)

image credit: Starlight, snowflake photo by Alexey Kljatov






For the Eye, Or For the Ear?

“For many years I had been a writer who wrote most comfortably for the eye. … But the old men in the newsroom had made their careers writing for listeners, for people absorbing information not through the eye but the ear. They knew how to write words in the air, which is different from words on the page.”

“An Education In News Craft” by Peggy Noonan, The Wall Street Journal, Review, Sat./Sun., Oct. 24–25, 2015