A Writer’s Film

The-Magic-Of-Belle-Isle-Morgan-Freeman1Often, I keep track of films I watch that have a serious writer’s theme to the storyline.  Most recently it was The Magic of Belle Isle staring Morgan Freeman and Virginia Madsen. First off, I highly recommend this to any writer.  It’s a charming look at how imagination can and is a part of our lives, along with the story of a struggling writer. Plus it ends well and is a charming, charming story.

f03e818295b65975c3f4c94054b4314dOne of the things that got to me most about the film was the relationship Morgan Freeman’s character, Monte, has with his typewriter. At the start of the film he says “She’s a black-hearted whore, and I’m done with her.” Slowly, with the pushing of nine year old Finnegan O’Neil, he starts to write again and by the end of the film, you know he is back in sync with the machine.  There is a line where Finnegan asks Monte why he doesn’t use a computer.

Monte’s response. “I’m going to answer your question in return for blessed silence. Look at that machine. I like that you have to write a bit slower on a manual, I like the way it sounds, I like the way the letters bite into the paper, I like that you can feel as a genuine human being doing the work.”

Sometimes I forget the magic of using my typewriter. I haven’t had the inclination to pull out the Royal (he/she needs a good name instead of just Royal unless I want to envision Royal Wilder from the Little House on the Prairie series).  I actually haven’t had the inclination to do a lot of writing to tell you the truth.  However, whenever I see typewritten words or poems I just inwardly sigh in happiness. When I see someone using a typewriter I want to hug them. And when I see the love of a typewriter expressed in a film, it just makes me want to write to the screenwriter and thank them for making my day.  It doesn’t happen often, because honestly, there are not that many writer-esque films. So when I do see one, I pay attention.

1002004004848400Another film that made me want to start using my Royal (somebody help me name the darn machine) was Shadows in the Sun staring Joshua Jackson and Harvey Keitel.  Along the same lines as Monte, a line by Harvey Keitel’s character says Weldon Parish: “Typewriters make you think about the words you choose more carefully, because you can’t erase them with the push of a button. ”   (side note: great ideas, very cheesy film)

For some reason, even though I know all of this it’s nice to hear it in a film, or a book, or some random post. Little writer’s reminders are nice.

liberal_arts_2012Lastly, just because we are on the subject of writer’s films, I want to mention a new film that I HIGHLY recommend along with The Magic of Belle Isle.  This film is an independent film by actor Josh Radnor titled Liberal Arts.  I won’t go into a description because you can read about online everywhere. Just watch it.  If you love inspiration from all around, classical music, good humor, humor on life and college, and just an all around good feeling when you get done with a movie, then you need to see this.  It’s charming and you just want to meet Josh Radnor when you get done, especially since he wrote, directed and starred in the film.  So so very good.

One last thought.  I think the typewriter used in The Magic of Belle Isle was an Underwood.  I had the opportunity of having my grandfather’s machine, but it didn’t work and he ended up finding someone that liked those kind.  While I still wouldn’t really want one, man, those have got to be one of the coolest looking typewriters around.

Signing off


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Word of the Day — Lavender

Lavendar flower

Lavendar flower (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: Apis mellifera & Lavandula angust...
Apis mellifera & Lavandula angustifolia in Belgium (Hamois). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


A color, a plant, lavender is something that either makes you think of a sweet summertime floral scent, or a cool misty color. Known for a semi mourning color, because shades of purple and mauve have been traditional for half mourning, it also evokes the image of a little old lady. Or maybe it makes you think of twilight, not the book or film, but that time of night when the sun has set and the sky takes on shades of blue and purple. Lavender shadows on the snow. A field of lavender.


noun \ˈla-vən-dər\

: a plant with narrow leaves and small purple flowers that have a sweet smell

: the dried leaves and flowers of the lavender plant used to make clothes and fabrics smell pleasant

: a pale purple color

From my gushing, can you tell that I like the word lavender?  I do. I love the images it evokes.  I use it in poetry and descriptions abound with the word lavender.  The fact that it’s a color, a time of day, an herb, a scent, a feeling.  It’s such a useful word. And fun too. Maybe it helps that it’s Latin.

Signing off


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Word of the Day — Aitch

Aitch.  Yes, surprisingly this is a word.  Though how you can say a sound is a word blows my mind.  Any guesses as to what aitch means?  No?  Don’t feel bad. I had to read the definition a couple times in the dictionary before it made any sense.  Guess the blonde hair was out in full force.


noun \ˈāch\

Definition of AITCH

:  the letter h
Yes, that is all it stands for.  The phonetic spelling of the letter H.  And today’s post is brought to you by the letter H.  Hat, hairy, and Hampshire.  Oh, pardon. In Hartford, Harriford, and Hampshire, hurricanes hardly happen…..
Unfortunately I’m not quite sure how I will ever use aitch in a sentence.  Maybe a poem… a la e.e. cummings.  Who knows.
So enjoy that bit of word trivia today.  Oh, and here is some other trivia…. hidden amongst this post.  This specific post is number 300!  Wow, I’ve written three hundred things? That is just not possible! Woo Hoo!
Signing off
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Word of the Day –Nefarious

So first off, if you didn’t figure it out by the lack of word posts over the weekend, the Word of the Day feature is only a five day thing. I won’t be doing weekends just because WordPress is a quiet place for me on the weekend. So just Monday through Friday. Now onto the word.

Nefarious or not, I of course have to post a picture of 'Captain Hook'

Nefarious or not, I of course have to post a picture of ‘Captain Hook’

Nefarious. I think of that word and one person/character comes to mind.  Captain Hook.  I love nefarious. It’s a blast to say.

ne·far·i·ous     adjective \ni-ˈfer-ē-əs\

: evil or immoral

:  flagrantly wicked or impious :  evil

Ah, such a fun word to use for a villain.  And the only reason I choose Captain Hook is because of Once Upon a Time.  I’m sorry, but Captain Hook is a favorite villain of mine and nothing screams nefarious or dastardly (another fun word to use) like Colin O’donaghue’s Killian Jones/Captain Hook.  Maybe because I love the term ‘flagrantly wicked or impious’. Doesn’t that sound like Captain Hook?

Okay, so people, your challenge today….. Use nefarious, or dastardly, or both! in a story or in your daily vernacular.  I dare you. Come on, have a bit of some villain in you.

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Word of the Day — Whisper

WhisperOkay, so most of you are probably wondering why we are going with such a basic word.  Whisper.  The whisper of a kitten’s whiskers.  A whispering sigh.  “Why do you whisper green grass”, The Ink Spots.  A word that can hold so much in it’s meaning, yet it’s such a quiet word. It hardly says or does anything, but it means so very much.

whisper     verb \ˈhwis-pər, ˈwis-\

: to speak very softly or quietly

: to produce a quiet sound



: a very soft and quiet way of speaking

: a soft and quiet sound

: a very small amount of something

I think I use verb and noun equally.  I use this word all the time in poetry, especially if there is soft movement or a breeze.  It’s a delicate word that floats off your tongue and tastes like ice crystals.  Yes! Words have taste.

Want to see how much I use whisper?  Go to the main homepage of Kate’s Bookshelf and in the search box at the top, type in ‘whisper’.  You will see how much I love using that word.

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And the Phone Rang – Flash Fiction

The Phone

The Phone

The antique rotary phone rang with a blaring ring that was loud enough to wake the dead. Of course she bolted out of bed and reached for the receiver before another deafening brring could escape the damned machine.  A muffled “hello” was muttered into the mouthpiece as she fell back into the pillows.

God, why did Sears need to call to remind her that the repair was tomorrow?  Couldn’t the automated machine have called later?  And who in their right mind would want to have this phone by their bed?  It should be installed in a padded room where the sound would be slightly muffled.

No, she was not a morning person, and ringing phones did not help matters.


Rotary phones…. so much fun.  I happen to have one by my bed to try it out.  The above is a semi-autobiographical incident from this morning.  Okay, fine, you got me. It did happen, and it did not help that I had an antihistamine drugging up my system.

Signing off


Word of the Day — Misanthropy

Ah, Sherlock Holmes.  One of the best places to hear cool words.  Especially the Johnny Lee Miller and Lucy Liu  Sherlock redo, Elementary.  Gotta love a show where “John Joan” Watson is a gal who makes Sherlock think.

Okay, gushing aside, misanthropy was used in a recent episode and I love it.

misanthropy   [mis-an-thruh-pee, miz-]


hatred, dislike, or distrust of humankind.
Sherlock was saying it was easier when he believed in misanthropy because then he could distrust everyone.  It was brilliant, and I think I may have to use that word just for the heck of it.
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Word of the Day — Folium

Folium    (fō′lē-əm)

n. pl. fo·li·a (-lē-ə)

1. Geology A thin,  layer or stratum occurring especially in metamorphic rock.
2. Mathematics A plane cubic curve having a single loop, a node, and two ends asymptotic to the same line.
So, this is one of those words you won’t be using much but I found it by chance and I thought it funny that it came right after Foliolate, foliose and other -folio words, considering those last two have to deal with leaves and foliage.  However, Folium is a thin leaflike layer so, I guess it fits, it’s just odd.
The question is, how in the world would anyone but a geologist or mathematician ever use that word?  It is fun to say though.
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Word of the Day — Foehn

Yes, it is a word.  It’s in my Webster’s College Dictionary.

Mittagskogel and foehn clouds upon the Karawan...

foehn       noun \ˈfə(r)n, ˈfœn, ˈfān\

  1. a warm, dry wind blowing down into the valleys of a mountain esp. in the Alps

I found this word by chance, like I usually find fun words, but reading the dictionary. It was more “I was looking something up and got distracted by a word” kind of thing; a common practice. I want to use it in a poem or in a story. It’s such a fun word to say and spell because it’s not normal.  If you click the word above, it will take you to a Wikipedia article about what it really is, since the dictionary is lacking.  Here in the north, foehn winds are called a Chinook.  My mother, who grew up in eastern Washington always talks about Chinooks.  I think foehn is just as fun to say.

Signing off


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New Feature – Word of the Day

I’m am starting a new feature on Kate’s Bookshelf —- Word of the Day.  Basically it is just words I find fun to say,  ones that have great meanings, obscure words, and something I have either read or heard used that I think should be used.  So, enjoy, and if you collect words like I do, then feel free to ‘steal’ these from me.  I gladly hand them to you.

Today’s word.

Brisk   :  adjective \ˈbrisk\


  1. quick in manner or movement
  2. cool, dry and bracing
  3. pungent, keen, sharp

So, not like the tea… but tea can be brisk.  It is that bite that some teas have.  Usually for me, a brisk tea means bring on the milk and sugar.

And as for weather… Today was definitely brisk. In Northern CA, and by that I mean far north, none of you namby pamby SanFran Bayers, it was a very brisk, windy day.  A severe bite in the air with a definite need for coats.  The sky is blue, the air is clear and I’m glad I’m indoors.

So…. There we have our first word of the day.

Signing off


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