A railway station.  A piece of grit in the eye. An unquestionably clean handkerchief. **

Celia Johnson and Trevor Howard in Brief Encounter

Encounter : to come upon or meet with, 

especially unexpectedly, to find by accident


Skip the sitcom rerun, open up a screen, learn something new.  And since brevity is the soul of wit and whatnot, I’ll keep this brief.

1. Week in Words by Erin McKean is a mini-guide to unusual words used in the Wall Street Journal.

I love this just-in-trendy word ~ Litspam. It’s the first mechanized avant-garde spam. In order to trick the filters, spammers embrace litspam ~ an oddly poetic piece of gibberish, auto-composed by mixing literary texts together.  Some turn spam into actual poetry called, you guessed it, Spoetry, where subject lines of spam emails are arranged into ‘spoems’.

What Can You Do in 3 Minutes?
Look out your window
Make a child happy
Groom those bushy eyebrows
Get residency in Panama
Lose 10 lbs.
Remove dents


2.  Ireland’s newest stamp features an entire short story, all 224 words, by a talented Dublin teenager.



3.  Ta-Ta, Terrariums…Hello, Troughs.

These Lilliputian landscapes in psuedo-stone containers are hypertufa troughs.  Gardening at a manageable scale and price with laughably small plants.



4. Won’t U B My Neighbor Online?  Good for the borderline recluse or very shy person. 🙂  Seriously, though, Nextdoor.com is a free website that provides social networks for neighborhoods offering forums, house-by-house maps, classifieds for buying, selling or giving away things, and a database for neighbor-recommended local services.


5.  Tiny Find.  One of the world’s tiniest lizards was discovered by keen-eyed researchers in Madagascar.  B. tristis, named after the French word ‘triste’ meaning sad, was found in an isolated patch of forest close to an expanding city.  The team chose the thought-provoking name as an expression of their concern for the future of the island’s micro-endemic species.



As for the grit and

the handkerchief,

see them in **Brief Encounter,

a beautiful grave black-and-white movie

for lovers of nostalgia.

Toni 5/24/13


    1. Sue,
      Keep an eye out for a new weekly post celebrating one of my favorite author/illustrators. While you’ve been editing your next ShortCuts, I’ve had a few brief encounters with books myself that I want to share, perhaps on Sundays?
      Also, I’ve been reading short stories, since it’s Short Story month, after all, so sample a few. Especially here. These two, Michael and Ann, have dubbed 2013 The Year of the Short Story, see the Project Short Story tab. Their podcasts keep me company on daily treks, they’re a clockwork-perfect pair and so well-read, plus they have lots of behind-the-scenes insights. So I have lots to share with you, Friend! What have you got up your sleeve for me?


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