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Happy New Year

Ring Out, Wild Bells

Ring out, wild bells, to the wild sky,
The flying cloud, the frosty light;
The year is dying in the night;
Ring out, wild bells, and let him die.

Ring out the old, ring in the new,
Ring, happy bells, across the snow:
The year is going, let him go;
Ring out the false, ring in the true.

Ring out the grief that saps the mind,
For those that here we see no more,
Ring out the feud of rich and poor,
Ring in redress to all mankind.

Ring out a slowly dying cause,
And ancient forms of party strife;
Ring in the nobler modes of life,
With sweeter manners, purer laws.

Ring out the want, the care the sin,
The faithless coldness of the times;
Ring out, ring out my mournful rhymes,
But ring the fuller minstrel in.

Ring out false pride in place and blood,
The civic slander and the spite;
Ring in the love of truth and right,
Ring in the common love of good.

Ring out old shapes of foul disease,
Ring out the narrowing lust of gold;
Ring out the thousand wars of old,
Ring in the thousand years of peace.

Ring in the valiant man and free,
The larger heart, the kindlier hand;
Ring out the darkness of the land,
Ring in the Christ that is to be.

~  Alfred Lord Tennyson

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Origin of the Word ‘Freelance’

A conversation with a friend last night prompted me to write this post. While talking about writing and freelancing, she jokingly asked me if freelancing meant “lancing freely”. When I said yes, she thought I was joking, too, when in fact I wasn’t. Do you know the origin of the word “freelance”?

The word first appeared in Sir Walter Scott’s novel Ivanhoe in 1819:

I offered Richard the service of my Free Lances, and he refused them—I will lead them to Hull, seize on shipping, and embark for Flanders; thanks to the bustling times, a man of action will always find employment.

As you can see the word was originally two words – free and lance. Sir Walter Scott coined the words to mean mercenary soldiers; that is, free men who used their skills with lances for any person who hired them. Hence, the words free and lance. The people who hired the free lances were generally noblemen or feudal lords who needed extra hands to fight for land or property.

Ever since the term appeared in the novel, free lances began to be used for mercenary soldiers. Gradually the two words became one word – freelance – and was used only as a noun. It wasn’t till the early twentieth century that the word became a verb as well. How the word came to mean a person who sells his work or services is not clear, but it wasn’t seen in this sense till about 60-70 years ago.

Do you know how the word freelance changed its meaning? Please share your thoughts here with us.

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New Year Quotes

Hello, Friends.  Hope the festive season is keeping you healthy and happy. Here things have been extremely busy. I’ve hardly had time to post anything. But I promise to make up for all the lost time as soon as the new year begins … uh, is that a new year resolution? Well, sort of.

Talking of new year, here are some interesting quotes on the new year:

*  Be always at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbors, and let each new year find you a better man.  ~ Benjamin Franklin

*  New Year’s Day is every man’s birthday.  ~ Charles Lamb

*  Never tell your resolution beforehand, or it’s twice as onerous a duty.  ~ John Selden

*  Ring out the old, ring in the new,
Ring, happy bells, across the snow:
The year is going, let him go;
Ring out the false, ring in the true.           ~  Alfred, Lord Tennyson

*  New Year’s Day:  Now is the accepted time to make your regular annual good resolutions.  Next week you can begin paving hell with them as usual.  ~ Mark Twain

*  For last year’s words belong to last year’s language
And next year’s words await another voice.
And to make an end is to make beginning.                   ~ T.S. Eliot

*  Good resolutions are simply checks that men draw on a bank where they have no account.  ~ Oscar Wilde

*  One resolution I have made, and try always to keep, is this:  To rise above the little things.  ~ John Burroughs

*  May all your troubles last as long as your New Year’s resolutions.  ~ Joey Adams

*  A happy New Year! Grant that I
May bring no tear to any eye
When this New Year in time shall end
Let it be said I’ve played the friend,
Have lived and loved and labored here,
And made of it a happy year.                                ~ Edgar Guest

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Happy Holidays

A simple wish for joy.

A heartfelt wish for love.

A lasting wish for peace.

A special wish for you.

Season’s greetings and best wishes for a peaceful and prosperous new year, 2010.

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Writer Anecdotes

In our series of writer anecdotes, today we have different writers instead of just one. Enjoy!

T. S. Eliot (1888 –1965)

Publisher Robert Giroux once asked Eliot whether he agreed with the widely held belief that most editors are failed writers. Eliot pondered for a moment, then said, “Yes, I suppose some editors are failed writers —but so are most writers.”

Isaac Asimov (1920–1992)

Once an editor rejected a story of Isaac Asimov and called it “meretricious.” The word is from the Latin meretrix, meaning “prostitute,” so that the implication was that Asimov was prostituting his talent and was writing a bad story that would get by on his name alone because he was too lazy to write a good one. (Later the story was sold elsewhere and received considerable acclaim.)

Swallowing his annoyance, Asimov said mildly, “What was that word you used?”

Obviously proud at knowing a word he felt Asimov didn’t know, the editor enunciated carefully, “Meretricious!”

Whereupon Asimov replied, “And a Happy New Year to you.”

Nathaniel Hawthorne (1888–1953)

Hawthorne’s son, Julian, was also a writer and father and son were frequently mistaken for each other. “Oh, Mr. Hawthorne, I’ve just read The Scarlet Letter, and I think it’s a real masterpiece,” gushed a lady to whom Julian Hawthorne had just been introduced. “Oh, that,” said Julian, shrugging modestly, “that was written when I was only four years old.”

Robert Frost (1874–1963)

After a dinner party Robert Frost and the other guests went out onto the veranda to watch the sunset. “Oh, Mr. Frost, isn’t it a lovely sunset?” exclaimed a young woman.

“I never discuss business after dinner,” Frost replied.

Rudyard Kipling (1865–1936)

A newspaper to which Kipling subscribed published by mistake an announcement of his death. Kipling wrote at once to the editor: “I’ve just read that I am dead. Don’t forget to delete me from your list of subscribers.”

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