Tuesday, August 31, 2010


At the Secret Art Journal, Gordon Meyer discusses the word "mystery" and how to gift someone with a beautiful reminder of life's unanswerable questions.

Sunday, August 29, 2010


"To penetrate as far as possible into the great white area on Dawson's map, south of the Kananaskis Lakes, marked with the magic word 'Unexplored,' that most fascinating and suggestive of all names to any lover of the wilderness."
Canadian Alpine Journal

Thursday, August 26, 2010


Love: "Isn't that the fabled magic word that fixes everything? Isn't that the only word that can't be worn out by its repetition on the covers of a billion greeting cards?" —Dexter Palmer, The Dream of Perpetual Motion (2010)

Monday, August 23, 2010

The Hunt and the Mystery

When Andrew Lovatt kindly praised us for "bringing the excitement and the hunt and mystery back into lexicogaphy," we realized that he had identified the patron saint of our magical dictionary: Artemis, the Roman goddess of the hunt. Thanks, Andrew!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Wild Strawberries

"There is something about the wild strawberries which draws me like a magic spell. There is magic is the French cast of their name [fraises des bois]: strawberries of the woods. There is the magic of memory, the recollection of afternoons when I plucked and ate them."
—"The Point of View," Scribner's Magazine, Volume 67, p. 761

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Magic and Literature are the Same Thing

"Oddly, alchemy seems to work with texts in just the same way as it is meant to work with matter . . . Titles, plots, all of the elements which for us make a text what it is give way to an alchemical process perhaps best described as an aura. . . . [M]agic and literature are the same thing. Enchanting, the text is, quite literally enchanted."
—Amy Wygant, The Meanings of Magic (2006)

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Spellbound = Aphasic?

Is to be spellbound to experience aphasia?

"She stood silent, motionless, spellbound. Words had lost all meaning."
—Mary Stewart, Unspotted from the World (1897)

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Beauty, Inspiration, Magic, Spellbound, Enchantment, Serenity, Silence, Intimacy, Amazement

Self-taught architect Luis Barragán (1902-1988), whose colorful work was described as poetic, once "apologized for not having done justice to the concepts of beauty, inspiration, magic, spellbound, enchantment, serenity, silence, intimacy, and amazement" (Dwell, May 2009).

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Three Crucials

the magic word
the perfect time
the proper voice
—Russian Red, "Perfect Time"

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Great Powers

"Over the whole scene . . . had loomed the commanding magic of the words ‘the Great Powers’—even more imposing in their Teutonic rendering, ‘Die Grossmächte.’” —H.H. Munro, The Complete Saki (1976)

Monday, August 2, 2010


In Literature:

“[Treasure] is a magic word, conjuring ‘riches beyond measure,’ troves of wealth, chests of gold coins, hoards of precious stones, jewel-encrusted reliquaries, crowns and crucifixes, sovereigns and states, pirates and plunder. The word arrived on the shores of the islands of New Zealand in 1840 with centuries of English history behind it and millennia of Mediterranean history behind that.” —Malcom McKinnon, A History of the New Zealand Treasury (2003)

“During a conversation over several rounds of iced rum, Caesar spoke the magic word that has fired the human mind into insanity for five thousand years and probably caused more grief than half the wars: treasure.” —Clive Cussler, Cyclops (1986)

“‘It’s as if—as if the key to the treasure is the treasure!’ As soon as she spoke these last words, a genie appeared from nowhere right there in our library-stacks.” —John Barth, Chimera (1972)