Write...or Die Trying

I used to work in a factory. Now I work in an office. Either way, my writing was dying. So now I must: Write...or Die Trying.


Ambrose Bierce's Devil's Dictionary

While looking for a copy of Webster's Unabridged Dictionary on the Gutenberg Project website I came across an eText of a satirical "dictionary" by Ambrose Bierce. If you're not familiar with Bierce, then I feel sorry for you. Bierce was arguably one of America's most satirical, ironic, engaging, and interesting writers. He has a lot to say about everything in this gem of a text. Not all of you will find this as funny as I do. Bierce's satire is often so biting that the easily offended should think twice about reading him.
If you've got leathery skin, then first: see a doctor before you get cancer; second: read on! (All quotes from THE DEVIL'S DICTIONARY by AMBROSE BIERCE)

"CONGRATULATION, n. The civility of envy."

"DAY, n. A period of twenty-four hours, mostly misspent. This period is divided into two parts, the day proper and the night, or day improper -- the former devoted to sins of business, the latter consecrated to the other sort. These two kinds of social activity overlap."

"DESTINY, n. A tyrant's authority for crime and fool's excuse for failure."

"ECCENTRICITY, n. A method of distinction so cheap that fools employ it to accentuate their incapacity."

"ENTHUSIASM, n. A distemper of youth, curable by small doses of repentance in connection with outward applications of experience. Byron, who recovered long enough to call it 'entuzy-muzy,' had a relapse, which carried him off -- to Missolonghi."

"FAITH, n. Belief without evidence in what is told by one who speaks without knowledge, of things without parallel."

"FUTURE, n. That period of time in which our affairs prosper, our friends are true and our happiness is assured."

"HAPPINESS, n. An agreeable sensation arising from contemplating the misery of another."

"INDIGESTION, n. A disease which the patient and his friends frequently mistake for deep religious conviction and concern for the salvation of mankind. As the simple Red Man of the western wild put it, with, it must be confessed, a certain force: "Plenty well, no pray; big bellyache, heap God."

"INVENTOR, n. A person who makes an ingenious arrangement of wheels, levers and springs, and believes it civilization."

"LAWFUL, adj. Compatible with the will of a judge having jurisdiction."

"LAWYER, n. One skilled in circumvention of the law."

"OPTIMISM, n. The doctrine, or belief, that everything is beautiful, including what is ugly, everything good, especially the bad, and everything right that is wrong. It is held with greatest tenacity by those most accustomed to the mischance of falling into adversity, and is most acceptably expounded with the grin that apes a smile. Being a blind faith, it is inaccessible to the light of disproof -- an intellectual disorder, yielding to no treatment but death. It is hereditary, but fortunately not contagious."

"PHILOSOPHY, n. A route of many roads leading from nowhere to nothing."

"REASON, v.i. To weight probabilities in the scales of desire."

"RUM, n. Generically, fiery liquors that produce madness in total abstainers."

"SACRED, adj. Dedicated to some religious purpose; having a divine character; inspiring solemn thoughts or emotions; as, the Dalai Lama of Thibet; the Moogum of M'bwango; the temple of Apes in Ceylon; the Cow in India; the Crocodile, the Cat and the Onion of ancient Egypt; the Mufti of Moosh; the hair of the dog that bit Noah, etc."

"TEETOTALER, n. One who abstains from strong drink, sometimes totally, sometimes tolerably totally."

"YEAR, n. A period of three hundred and sixty-five disappointments."

"ZEAL, n. A certain nervous disorder afflicting the young and inexperienced. A passion that goeth before a sprawl."


At 6/01/2004 12:40:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

That's a good find. The Gutenberg Project is an amazing thing, Bierce is so satirical it's excellent.


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