Holiday Fragment: Literary Orts

This is how Christmas unravels for you.



When my post World Building ballooned, I had to omit a fun little essay I’d prepared: the words in italics are all the literary words from Forsyth’s Horologicon (picked out from around 300 general, old-fashioned words scattered throughout his book) and then fitted into a compressed, sensible-ish narrative. Of course, I do a much poorer job than him at generating coherency and humour, but do give me some credit for effort.

Although, in a week or so, there’ll be a post on effort, so perhaps don’t judge me yet.

For those who didn’t read the previous posts: Surfle is the cutest puppy. He’s imaginary.


— deep breath now, this is how Christmas will unravel for you —

On Christmas Eve:

Tacenda are things that ought to be left unsaid (like aspiring secrets), especially if they’re some nifandous atrocity. But if pressed to confess your crime (who ate the Christmas cake early?), you may attempt to obnubilate the details in a bluster of words, or if your confederate is present (Surfle), then the two of you can constult and play at being fools. If that also fails, you may try to discept by differing, disagreeing, debating (it wasn’t my imaginary pet, but yours). Lastly, you can accuse your colloquist of searching for your dirty laundry because they’re secretly a rhyparographer who writes about distasteful topics (how you keep all the wrapping paper from last year labelled with names so you can reuse for a different relative this year).

Don’t forget to interjaculate at every opportunity. Defined as to interject an ejaculation. (Best done at the dinner table with your mouth full.)

On Christmas Day:

If you’re wordy, you may be accused of producing a battology, mataelogy, or periergy (don’t push it even if you outspent everyone on the gifts), or of drumbling on and on about supervacaneous matters, or of spouting balductum and effutiation (sounds suspiciously like effluvium—that Christmas cake?—you might want to head to the toilet). But we all occasionally obnanigate ad infinitum, when we’re trying to get out of an evening engagement (What you’re not staying for Christmas dinner? Well, ahem, there’s no Christmas cake). In that case we’re retreating, excusing ourselves, shaffling. (Shuffle off then!)

But you’re a good colloquialist, so you know how to keep it short when you apologise for your behaviour. Be brief in a notekin, summarise your statement of abjection in a breviate (some day these may be collected in an illustrious Analecta “Apologia”), or rip out a gobbet from an illustrious text on rhetoric and set about learning how arguments are made.

Because you’ll need to know (after Christmas, when you have no money for Surfle’s food, you’ll turn to those same relatives).

As a screever you beg in written form. If you do so often, you rogitate, and if your currency is Spanish-money, that means you’re flattering left-right-and-center: you’re glavering with extreme intent (if you give me a loan, I promise Surfle will behave). Stop being such a sardonian! (Of course he won’t behave.)

If you write at night, then you’re a candle-waster (shame on you, you wastrel, Surfle is starving). If you get told-off by your partner at night then you’re getting a curtain-lecture (shame on you for deserving it and for allowing yourself to get lectured—you can’t win). After failing to go to sleep, you may return to your place of study and spend the night in distracted lucubration within the sanctity of your phrontisterion (in the last instance lock yourself in the bathroom, your stomach is still working on that Christmas cake).

If you’re lucky, you may eventually get to visit your dreamery, where all the words of all the worlds are yours to appropriate in an act of concinnate excellence. Not that they’re of any help: Surfle, your partner, and your relatives have all dispersed. You are alone.

Happy Christmas.

(Christmas is just a convenient scapegoat, feel free to substitute any holiday which involves food and relatives.)




This is part of a series of holiday posts. Here is what a “usual” post on Quiver Quotes looks like: The Flow of Experience.

Author: A Quiver of Quotes

Jousts with words, jaunts through all genres. In favour of hendiadys, synaesthesia, and the transferred epithet. Books, books, books. Writing. Author of

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