The Noble Pen for July 30, 2015

Next Noble Pen Meeting

July 30th, 2015 at 7 pm

Scott’s Family Restaurant

1906 Blairs Ferry Rd NE, Cedar Rapids


Author E. L. Doctorow died recently at age 84.  He wrote many novels that combined fictional characters with real people of the past.  Here’s an interview.


Cassie has been prolific, writing 8k words in 3 days on a novella in response to an open call for submissions to an anthology of “Christmas paranormal romance”.  She also got 4 comments from editors on her last submission to the Avon contest, and wrote 6k words on her novel that is an outgrowth of her contest submissions.

Ciuin finished an article for City Revealed magazine.

Stacie has a book of 4 fantasy short stories just out in print.


Many words and phrases linger in English but have become idiom because their original meaning is obsolete.  Everybody knows the phrase “carbon copy,” but how many have actually used carbon paper to make a copy?

Someone may say they were “hung out to dry” if left alone to face a problem, but how many have hung out clothes to dry on a clothesline?  Who has actually heard a “broken record” on the phonograph?  “Don’t touch that dial,” but you have a radio or TV upon which you can turn a dial?  Is it bigger than a bread box?

Many other phrases never had a literal interpretation, but convey a sense of the past to those old enough to remember their use.   Life used to be “swell”, but when’s the last time anything was swell or neato?  Gee whillikers!

There are more of these old expressions “than Carter had liver pills”.  “Kilroy was here”, but he isn’t anymore. This is a fine kettle of fish!  Do you look “like the wreck of the Hesperus” when you get up? Heavens to Betsy!  I’ll be a monkey’s uncle!   Jumpin’ Jehoshaphat!  Holy moley!

You can’t bring those days back, not for all the tea in China, but you can remind people of them by using them when writing a story set in the past.  See ‘ya later, alligator!

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Jul 30

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