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Tony Grist

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Mind Games [Oct. 27th, 2004|10:27 am]
Tony Grist
Sometimes the brain just clams up. I've been asking it to give me a word. It's a word I'm perfectly familiar with. I've been trying to get at it for half an hour or more and I haven't yet come close. I think it has "chron" in it somewhere. It's the word that means sort of you know when you're writing historical fiction and you stick in something modern that couldn't possibly have existed back then. Like in Deadwood last night where our noble but quick-tempered hero spent half a day over the funeral rites for the injun he just killed. Like that would so have happened in the 1870s!

Come on brain!

One technique for dealing with the problem is to walk away whistling, then circle back undercover and pounce. Take the brain off guard. I've been trying that. And it hasn't worked....

...Hey I've got it! I'll tell you what I did. I decided to Google "historical fiction" and hope that I'd find a text containing my word. And before I'd done more than type an "h" and an "i" the brain had surrendered and handed over the goods. It quails before the power of Google. It knew the game was up.

Anachronism!
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Comments:
From: geodesus_christ
2004-10-27 11:00 am (UTC)
anytime I'm waiting for a bus, and it's taking forever, all I have to do is light up a cigarette and what do you know.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2004-10-27 11:09 am (UTC)
It's a kind of magic...
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[User Picture]From: besideserato
2004-10-27 02:48 pm (UTC)
And it works for cabs, too, it appears!
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2004-10-27 04:18 pm (UTC)
But I bet it wouldn't work if you used it on purpose to summon cabs - such is the cussedness of things.
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[User Picture]From: besideserato
2004-10-27 04:25 pm (UTC)
Actually, it worked for me. And if I batted my lashes enough, the cab driver let me smoke inside as well!
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2004-10-27 04:35 pm (UTC)
The eyelashes give you an unfair advantage. I shudder to think what would happen if I tried batting mine at a cabbie.
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[User Picture]From: besideserato
2004-10-27 04:43 pm (UTC)
[Laughs] Who knows! You might just get lucky.
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[User Picture]From: jackiejj
2004-10-27 11:41 am (UTC)
One technique for dealing with the problem is to walk away whistling, then circle back undercover and pounce. Take the brain off guard. I've been trying that. And it hasn't worked....

It's like trying to remember dreams: all you need is one glimpse of something, then you grab.

"Walk away whistling"--yes! Like watching something with peripheral vision.

I'm glad you got the word--Google can fix any problem.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2004-10-27 11:56 am (UTC)
The whistling is, of course, metaphorical. My whistling, like my singing, is utterly tuneless.

I love my Google. it has rendered reference books redundant
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[User Picture]From: karenkay
2004-10-27 03:01 pm (UTC)
I don't know if this will help, but 'ana' means 'without'. Like anencephaly means 'without a brain'.

I think the only reason I remember this is because 'ana' means 'cave' or 'hole'in Japanese, and the two meanings somehow reinforce each other.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2004-10-27 03:30 pm (UTC)
How intriguing. Is there a link between Greek and Japanese I wonder- it seems unlikely and yet who knows?

The blankness, when it descends, is like a fog the envelops the word. Nothing seems to help. I thought the word had to contain the syllable "chron", I even had a suspicion it began with the letter "a" but I just couldn't form it in my mind.

Then suddenly- while I was concentrating on typing my command to Google, the fog lifted and there was my word- whole and entire.
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[User Picture]From: karenkay
2004-10-28 12:59 am (UTC)
How intriguing. Is there a link between Greek and Japanese I wonder- it seems unlikely and yet who knows?

I know--or at least, I should. I used to be a professor of Japanese, specializing in the history of the language. And no, the only relationship is that they both reside in my gray matter.

Then suddenly- while I was concentrating on typing my command to Google, the fog lifted and there was my word- whole and entire.

I like this description of the process. i write for a living now, and I am far too familiar with it!
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From: morrison_maiden
2004-10-27 03:36 pm (UTC)
Anachronism? Is that the word? :)
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2004-10-27 06:37 pm (UTC)
That's it. I got there in the end, but it was intensely frustrating at the time. A half hour later I had similar difficulties remembering the word "surrender".
Do you reckon it's old age?
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From: morrison_maiden
2004-10-27 09:38 pm (UTC)
Hooray! No, I don't think it's old age. I'm 19 and I still have trouble thinking of words every now and them...
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2004-10-27 10:22 pm (UTC)
Thank you for your vote of confidence :)
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