The Effing Ineffable.

Ineffable (adjective)

  1. Incapable of being expressed or described in words; inexpressible.  —

“Let us prepare to grapple with the ineffable itself, and see if we may not eff it after all.”  Douglas Adams   Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency


Good writing produces a very specific effect: it makes you feel as though you’ve been given access to some precious source of truth. It does not, however, give you that truth. In fact, the more you dig at it, the more it will slip away, sinking back into the depths again.krusty_zps8a2227bb

You won’t even be able to say what it is you thought you saw.

This aura of ineffable truth isn’t limited to writing. Music, painting, sculpture, dance—they can all do it. But with writing, the effect is particularly unsettling because we all use words, all the time. They are the  friendly, familiar tools of communication, as common as the air we breathe. When they are used to express the ineffable (which means, after all , inexpressible), it seems especially uncanny. This shouldn’t surprise us. We don’t expect dancing or painting or music to have a specific literal meaning. They don’t deal in the “literal” at all.

Words, of course, do. Continue reading “The Effing Ineffable.”

It’s a Boy-Thing

Everyone knows about boys.

They don’t like reading.

So that’s why I was astonished to find out I have, among my very select group of readers, a boy. A thirteen-year old boy.

Think about that for a moment. If you made a “least likely readers” list, thirteen-year old boys would be right near the top.

My wife sent me a text the other day, including a blurry cellphone picture of the boy happily clutching Spark. He read it. He liked it. He even, apparently, asks his mother (who is reading it at his suggestion) if she’s gotten to this-or-that part that he particularly liked.


Sure, I’m gloating a little, partly because it’s always sweet when someone you never thought of as your ‘audience’ likes something you’ve made. And Spark is clearly not a boy’s book. It has a girl on the cover. Most of the main characters are girls. Despite the stuff about basketball and entropy, it’s about a lot of girly stuff like feelings and relationships. Continue reading “It’s a Boy-Thing”