Simpler issue this week because I was editing a memoir of a person’s life in [country I have never visited] during [time before I was born].* And I got paid for it, but I also absconded with all the knowledge in the book. Now it’s in my head, and I’m like a weird mini-expert on [country] in [era]. Feels like a scam! (Spoiler it’s a link to that Mitchell and Webb farmer/conman sketch.)
* Details redacted for sake of the writer’s privacy, though I realise it makes for a much less grabby sentence that way.
A short story I wrote got published!
It’s fantasy genre with a neurodivergent protagonist, only 1500 words, so a quick read.
The Code for Everything
Izzy hugged her knees to her chest, her stomach a tight ball of humiliation. She was out on the verandah, sinking into a saggy floral couch. The city was doing its ridiculous Melbourne-summer thing, where the night was hotter than the day, and heat radiated off the asphalt in waves. She’d left the party to “get some air,” which was code for “cry where no one can see you.” You had to know the code for everything, that was important.
“Muscle” comes from the word for “mouse”
Because what does a bicep look like if not a mouse sitting on your arm?
The original Latin word for the biceps was “musculus”, which means “little mouse”. That then became the word for all muscles. The same process happened in a lot of languages — in Arabic, 'adalah = muscle and 'adal = field mouse. The Cornish word for calf is logodenfer, which literally translates to "mouse of the leg."
Source: Etymonline, which adds, “In Middle English, lacerte, from the Latin word for "lizard," also was used as a word for a muscle.”
Table of vampire traits in folklore and fiction
Another Wikipedia gem. If you can’t see the fourth row down, please zoom in.
Link to the Wiki page, there’s more tables for special abilities and so on.
Source: That’s Believable! (They have a tonne of similar etching + slightly offputting caption stuff)
You might have already seen this guy, but…
The self-decapitating sea slugs that regrow their bodies – hearts and all
“The disembodied head of the sacoglossan sea slug feasts on algae while its old body decomposes, and a new one grows.”
The slug-heads can continue living for months without a body (i.e. without a digestive system) because they use chloroplasts from the algae they eat to photosynthesise with. (The bodies can also go on living for a while without the heads, but I don’t really know what their endgame is, since they can’t regrow a head.)
Unsolicited Advice: Videogame music for focus
YouTube has a loop function now, so you can play a video on a seamless loop. Just right-click on the Play button.
I find working to one long piece of videogame music on repeat quite effective. This is kind of an established trick — videogame music is specifically designed to get you into a rhythmic flow. It’s intended to be a background to a focused task. (Obviously depends on the game, don’t go with an indie game about coming to terms with loss or something.)
I edited that memoir mainly to Zelda Breath of the Wild Paraglider Mini-Game music on loop — the Stardew Valley or Animal Crossing soundtracks are a bit slower paced. But really probably any game you’ve played is probably the better choice, because the music will be a pleasant reminder to you. Youtube has extended versions of most themes.
If you have a task that you want to get in flow for, give videogame music a shot.
Thanks everyone for reading! I’ll see you next fortnight! ✌️