Sunday, March 31, 2019

Sanskrit Word in English: Juggernaut

Today's word is "juggernaut"  and for this word, there is an entire Wikipedia article devoted to its origin and usage in English.

Short version: the word comes from Sanskrit Jagannatha, World-Lord, an honorific title sometimes applied to Krishna, one of the avatars of the god Vishnu, although the Jagannatha is also worshiped as a separate divinity.

The English usage is from the so-called "Chariot of Juggernaut," which was a cart carrying an image of the Jagannatha for a Ratha Yatra (chariot procession) festival. These temple carts could sometimes be huge in size, hence the sense of a "juggernaut" as a moving force that cannot be stopped. According to a more fanciful legend, the most devoted followers of Jagannatha would throw themselves under the wheels of the wagon to be crushed to death in an act of sacrificial devotion, giving the word "juggernaut" an additional sense of blind devotion. This fanciful idea goes back to the 14th-century Travels of Sir John Mandeville, which you can read about in this Wikipedia article.

The ISKCON movement (International Society for Krishna Consciousness) has promoted the Jagannatha festival around the world. The image below shows a Jagannath Ratha Yatra in London, 2011:

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Fairy Tale Insurance

This great cartoon from Dave Coverly suggests a writing idea: imagine the life of an insurance salesman in the world of fairy tales!

Saturday, November 10, 2018

The road to Hell is paved with adverbs.

I adapted this from Jon Winokur's Twitter, using a Stephen King portrait made out of book covers. To find out more about just why Stephen King is so against adverbs, check out this blog post by Maria Popova with extensive quotes from King: Stephen King on Writing, Fear, and the Atrocity of Adverbs.

The road to Hell is paved with adverbs. Stephen King.

Word from Mythology: HYPNOTIC

The English word hypnotic (and related words like hypnosis and hypnotize) come from the Greek language originally (the "y" is a good clue about that!), specifically from the Greek word hypnos which means "sleep" (ὕπνος). When something is hypnotic, that means it puts you into a state like that of sleep. In a medical context, like a "hypnotic drug," that means the drug is sleep-inducing.

Hypnos was also personified as the God of Sleep. His mother is "Night" and his father is "Darkness," and his brother is Thanatos, "Death." You can read more about the Greek god at Wikipedia.

Here is a bronze head of Hypnos, circa 100 C.E.:

Putting the Creativity in Creative Writing

This wonderful graphic might "free your mind" so that you can indeed connect the dots in new ways — in your own creative ways — when you write. :-)