The Write Way
14 November 2008
It might be a good idea to send the kiddies from the room now because we're going to discuss a Delicate Matter ...
Have they gone?
Right. Then let me ask you a personal question ... Now, I don't want you to answer this out loud, just think about it in the privacy of your own room. Ready? OK ...What sort of a kisser are you?
Like that, eh?
Then perhaps you'd better skip this next bit. Come back when we get to the quiz.
All right, now it's just the rest of us ... let's continue.
Once upon a time, in the Olden Days, when you went to the movies and there was a smoochy bit, it entailed a lot of close-ups with Significant Looks, heartfelt sighs, a choir warbling about the moon in June, and it usually culminated in a Passionate Embrace. The man, always taller, by at least a half-head, would clasp his lady-love to his manly chest, with his arms plainly in sight above her waist. He'd tilt his head to the right, she'd tilt hers (also to the right to avoid knocking noses), he'd close his eyes, she'd close her eyes, and he'd press his lips firmly against hers, which were most often closed tight over her pearly whites, but on occasion (if it was one of those "foreign films") the heroine's lips were parted ever-so slightly to indicate her wanton nature.
Then, depending on the sauciness of the plot, the scene would delicately switch to waves gently rolling up onto a moonlit beach or a train hurtling towards a tunnel. And that was as much as we shared ... the rest was left up to our individual imaginations.
But have you been to the movies recently?
Of course you have, and I'm sure you're as amazed as I am at what little work is required of your imagination by modern film-makers. You may as well leave it at home snoozing in front of the telly as bother taking your imagination to a film these days. We're not so much invited to glance nonchalantly through the Venetians into the boudoirs of our characters as dragged, kicking and screaming into the room to participate in a ménage à trois or quatre or whatever.
There are no subtle embraces any more, just knock 'em down and drag 'em out clinches with characters who seem to have more arms than Zaphod Beeblebrox, and that brings me to the matter of screen kisses. Remember we started reminiscing about manly lips pressed to the soft yielding lips of the heroine? Well, not any more, boys and girls, not any more. Now our lovers go in with their mouths open wider than any dentist would dare to dream.
If you come out of a reverie about what you need to pick up at the shops on the way home, you could be forgiven for thinking you'd stepped into the wrong theatre and were watching some horror film about cannibalism instead of the sweet romance you'd paid for. Characters coming in for a smooch these days look as if they're about to devour each other. All that smacking of chops and tongues ... Ooer yuck! Shouldn't somebody tell these actors that there's no prize for being able to open your mouth wider than anyone else? Linda Lovelace won the cigar for that one!
There really are some things that are definitely better left to the imagination!
When caught up in the moment, you're not really conscious of what you might look like to an observer. (At least, you shouldn't be thinking along those lines ... Naughty, naughty!) I recall many years ago reading that if people were able to see how they looked when in the throes of romantic endeavour, the population rate would plummet. Sadly, it seems that not many in the film industry share that view ... More's the pity. So now whenever you decide to head for the local movie house for a couple of hours of escapism, you have to be prepared for plenty of in-your-face (and lots of other places) up-front (and from behind) action, and the kissing bit is the least of your worries!
For those of you wondering who or what is Zaphod Beeblebrox ... your answer's here.
If you're romantically inclined, make sure you spend a few minutes with this week's Little Something Extra, which has some tips on how to write a successful romance.
And this week's quiz shows just how widespread is our fascination with the locking of lips ... See how many of these expressions you know and use.
This week's quiz:
Match up the idioms with their meanings:
And just by the by ... did you know that the custom of a man kissing his wife when he got home originated with the Romans? And no, not because they were the original hot Latin lovers; it was instead their way of checking if their wives had been drinking during the day!
Last week's quiz:
colic, impetigo, pertussis, rubella, milia, orthodontics, dyslexia, socialisation, au pair, lanugo
1. process by which an individual becomes familiar with his/her culture, society, family, values and norms; learning and adapting to what is accepted as appropriate behaviour in a particular social setting - SOCIALISATION
2. the branch of dentistry dealing with the prevention or correction of irregularities of the teeth - ORTHODONTICS (Better known as regular payments on your dentist's new Mercedes)
3. a disease of the respiratory mucous membrane - PERTUSSIS (Also known as whooping cough)
4. soft, downy hair on a baby's body; normally shed during the ninth month of gestation - LANUGO (Perfectly normal, and not a sign that your baby has inherited any of Uncle George's hirsute genes)
5. young infants, paroxysms of gastrointestinal pain with crying and irritability, typically occurring in late afternoon or early evening; of unknown etiology; affects infants from 3 weeks to 3 months of age - COLIC
6. tiny, white, hard spots that look like pimples on a newborn's nose - MILIA
7. an impairment in the brain’s processing of information that results in difficulty reading, spelling, writing and related language skills - DYSLEXIA
8. a very contagious infection of the skin; common in children; localised redness develops into small blisters that gradually crust and erode - IMPETIGO
9. young adult who lives with a family in another country as part of a foreign exchange program; usually receive room, board and a non-taxable stipend in exchange for providing child care - AU PAIR
10. a contagious viral disease that is a milder form of measles lasting three or four days; can be damaging to a foetus during the first trimester - RUBELLA
I know you've heard this story before (because I told it to you), but it seems rather pertinent given our theme this week ...
Once upon a time,
in a land far away, a beautiful, independent, self assured princess happened
upon a frog as she sat contemplating ecological issues on the shores of an
unpolluted pond in a verdant meadow near her castle.
Here's a little story about priorities ... and kissing:A fellow was walking back home from work late one evening and saw a frog on the way home that called out, "Hey, Kiss Me, and I'll turn into a princess and give you a really long kiss".
The fellows stops, looks at the frog, picks it up puts it in his pocket and walks on.
The frog shouts again, "Hey! OK. I'll stay with you for a full day and do whatever you want me to, now hurry up and kiss me".
The fellow takes the frog out of his pocket, looks at it, smiles, puts it back in his pocket and walks on.
After some time the frog shouts again, "All right! I'll stay with you for a week, but please kiss me now".
The fellow takes the frog out of his pocket, smiles, puts it back in his pocket and walks on.
This time the tired frog shouts out aloud, "Hey, what's your problem man, is one week not enough for you or what?"
The fellow takes the frog out and says, "Well, see, it's like this, I'm a programmer and don't have time for women, but a talking frog is really COOL!"
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A Little Something Extra
Romance Writing - 5 Tips
by Jo-Anne Richards
Many people think Romance writing is a bit like knitting. There's a pattern to follow and, even if you're a bit clumsy at first, you can knock off a finished product in a few afternoons while the kids are out playing. If you have approached Romance writing with a swagger and a shrug, with the idea that "everyone knows" it's easy as pie, you'll have discovered the error of your ways. And if so, you may have been left with the dejected feeling of having failed at something you thought would be a cinch. Being published seems the most remote dream.
Neither attitude is realistic. Writing Romance is hard work. Genre fiction isn't easier than other forms of story-telling. But it's not a mysterious process.
Here are my five most important tips to make you a successful Romance writer. If you can make each of these work for you, you'll have a humdinger of a Romance ...
Click to read Jo-Anne's tips for writing a successful romance: http://www.write101.com/romance_writing.htm
And I have to include this little tale ... A theatre group was putting on a production of "The Lion King," and they noticed that every night, the same man was sitting in the middle of the front row. Night after night, performance after performance, he never missed one.
At the end of their three-week season, the cast and crew decided to ask this man to their party. Towards the end of the night, the director went over to him and thanked him for his support, then said, "We're all very curious. Can you tell us why you came to every performance?'
The man looked at him and said, "Well, it just makes me feel good ..."
As the director and the cast preened at his praise, the man continued, "It's a great Afro-Disney act."
Word of the week: Osculate (vb) "to touch with the lips or press the lips (against someone's mouth or other body part) as an expression of love, greeting, etc; to kiss."
This is also a term used in geometry where it means "to touch closely, so as to have a common curvature at the point of contact; to have at least three points in common with."
You won't be at all surprised to learn that this word comes to us from the Latin word for mouth os (from which we get 'oral'). This was extended into osculum, ('little mouth') which then became 'kiss.'
Oxymoron of the week: modern romance
I hope you get the opportunity to use this week's Latin phrase some time this weekend ...
Da mihi basilia mille
[DAH MEE-hee bah-SEE-lee-ah MEEL-lay]
(Kiss [Give] me with a thousand kisses)
And trust the Romans to have a word for everything ... They distinguished three types of kiss: osculum, a friendship kiss on the cheek; basium, a kiss of affection on the lips; and suavium, a lovers' deep kiss.
Did you know that you can have your very own Latin reminders? How about undies proclaiming, Bene est rex esse? (It's good to be king) Or a shopping bag that warns, Emptrix nata sum (Born to shop)?
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