Archive for February, 2007

Poem #27 In Between Times

In Between Times

Running, running, running
Through the everlasting tunnel.
Running, running, running
Through the everlasting tunnel.
Darkness all around and around
In and through and all surround.
Enveloping and shrouding,
Encompassing and clouding.
Running, running, running
Through the everlasting tunnel.

Sunlight piercing all whiteness.
One light all over in its brightness.

Running, running, running
Through the everlasting tunnel.
Running, running, running
Through the everlasting tunnel.
Stumble and atumble and crumble
Bumble and arumble and fumble.
Disturbing and distorting,
Perturbing and contorting,
Running, running, running
Through the everlasting tunnel.

Tonight will be gone and then rightness.
Heaviness gone and then lightness.

All rights reserved.

Copyright 2007 Trevor W. Hampel.

Writing Tips from George Orwell

Countless books and articles and blog posts have been and continue to be written about how to write. Around the world thousands of writers and would-be writers attend workshops and seminars and conferences about how to write. The advice can be a little overwhelming at times. Where to start?

Sometimes a writer will state something very succinctly that makes an enormous impact upon other writers. George Orwell is one such writer. In the summary of his essay Politics and the English Language Orwell give 12 tips on how to write effectively. Here are the tips:

When writing a sentence you should always ask yourself those questions:

1. What am I trying to say?
2. What words will express it?
3. What image or idiom will make it clearer?
4. Is this image fresh enough to have an effect?
5. Could I put it more shortly?
6. Have I said anything that is avoidably ugly?

When choosing words, follow those rules:

7. Never use a metaphor, simile, or other figure of speech which you are used to seeing in print.
8. Never use a long word where a short one will do.
9. If it is possible to cut a word out, always cut it out.
10. Never use the passive where you can use the active.
11. Never use a foreign phrase, a scientific word, or a jargon word if you can think of an everyday English equivalent.
12. Break any of these rules sooner than say anything outright barbarous.

Simple, concise and very user friendly.

My thanks to Daniel on Daily Blog Tips for this list.

Writing About Big Questions of Life

There are only a few questions that are common to all people.

They are The Big Questions of Life.

Many philosophers down through the millenia have attempted to bring answers to these burning questions. Probably the most inspiring attempt was contained in the trilogy of five books written by Douglas Adams in his Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy where he cleverly tries to answer the ultimate question of Life, the Universe, and Everything.

But now…

we have the Answers to the Big Questions in Life (click here).

Sim’ on his blog The Rhyme of Sim’ has written some learned answers to life’s perennial questions.


  • I must point out that Sim’ is related to me; he is, in fact, my son.

Emergency posting of blog articles

I try to post at least one new article on each of my three blogs every day. In this I’m not always successful but most of time I keep up this schedule.

When I know I’m going to be away from my computer for a time or very busy I write articles ahead of time and queue them up to appear during the busy time. I can do this as most of my articles are not time sensitive.

I don’t regard this strategy as emergency posting but rather a case of planning ahead. But when an emergency does occur it’s great to know you’ve got several posts ready to go. Writing a series of articles in another excellent strategy in this regard.

For another perspective on this concept check out the idea written by Daniel in Brazil on his blog called Daily Blog Tips. The comments section of this article is also worth reading as other bloggers have shared their ideas.

Idiom #15 As sick as a parrot

This week’s idiom: “As sick as a parrot.”

It may seem strange but this is one idiom I don’t think I’ve ever come across before reading it in a book of idioms. “As sick as a dog” I am familiar with but that has a different meaning. To be as sick as a dog is to be very sick.


To be as sick as a parrot is to be very disappointed or depressed.


This saying may have several origins. In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries people were said to be as “melancholy as a (sick) parrot.” In thinking about this, I have a theory. Parrots are fairly uncommon in Europe. Some early collectors of birds would have returned to chilly Europe, a climate quite unsuitable for tropical parrots, for example. Naturally the parrots would not have been happy on two or three counts, the cold climate, being in captivity and most likely alone. Can one blame them for being ‘melancholy’ and even becoming sick?

Another origin could have been in relation to a disease called psittacosis, or parrot fever, a common illness in cage birds. This disease is transferrable to humans. Since the 1970s this has been something of a problem for aviculturalists.

A third possible origin relates to its common usage in a sporting context. It has been suggested that this phrase was coined by an imaginative footballer describing his utter despair at losing an important game.


I was as sick as a parrot when my team lost the Grand Final.


I have included below a photo of a very healthy parrot, a Sulphur Crested Cockatoo, a common species here in South Australia and one kept world wide as a pet. This one was very much active and healthy and in the company of a small group of other parrots. It did not look at all melancholy for it was investigating hollows in this tree with the aim of nesting.

Disclaimer: no parrots were hurt or became sick in the making of this article.

Sulphur Crested Cockatoo

Sulphur Crested Cockatoo