WORDS: Aisling (Ash-ling or Ash-leen): Vision or Dream




Aisling is a word of Irish origin and is interesting for both its lyrical qualities and as an inspiration for writers.

The heavenly image of a woman appearing to warn people of impending disaster appears in many cultures. The Aisling is a form particular to Ireland.

According to Wikipedia it was a popular poetic device in centuries past.

Aisling (Wikipedia)

“In the aisling, Ireland appears to the poet in a vision in the form of a woman: sometimes young and beautiful, sometimes old and haggard. This female figure is generally referred to in the poems as a Spéirbhean (heavenly woman; pronounced [ˈspʲeːɾʲ.vʲanˠ]). She laments the current state of the Irish people and predicts an imminent revival of their fortunes, usually linked to the return of the Roman Catholic House of Stuart to the thrones of Britain and Ireland.”

Unfortunately, the word “Aisling” is behind the paid wall at the online Merriam-Webster dictionary, but Wikipedia provides some interesting insights making the word as a name.

Wikipedia: Aisling (name)

“Aisling is an Irish language feminine given name meaning “dream” or “vision” and referring to an aisling, a poetic genre that developed during the late 17th and 18th century in Irish language genre poetry. Aisling was not used as a given name before the 20th century.

“There are many variant forms of the name, including Ashling, Aislin, Aislinn and Aislene.[1] Pronunciation of the name also varies, with the most common pronunciation being /ˈæʃlɪŋ/ ASH-ling; other forms acceptable to Irish speakers are /ˈæʃlɪn/ ASH-lin and /ˈæʃliːn/ ASH-leen.”

The first Wikipedia entry above goes on to say that this type of poetry was so popular that it eventually became a subject of satire and parody. It seems to me that most supernatural or paranormal stories these days fall into that category. The TV series Supernatural and movies like Michael come to mind. In this age, we tend to camp up our supernatural stories because our cultural is uncomfortable with ideas of life beyond death. And yet, a good portion of humanity today believes strongly in supernatural visions of a woman (Marian Apparitions).

For a writer, there are worlds, both psychological and spiritual, to explore and expand on.  😉


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WORDS: Chronophobia (or Memento Mori)


I was watching an episode of Jonathon Creek the other night called Time Waits for Norman. The mystery revolved around a character who was described as “temporophobic.” This was defined as a person who is “terrified of the relentless passage of time.”

An internet search turned up another term “Chronophobia,” but a dictionary search on either word proved fruitless. Apparently, it’s an old term for a specific type of phobia that now is classified along with other phobias into general classes of disorders.  See the Free Medical Dictionary entry for Chronophobia.

There is a Wikipedia entry for  Chronophobia  which has some interesting links that might be worth investigating for writers.  There are a number of citations about the condition affecting the elderly and prisoners.

I recently read Memento Mori, by Muriel Spark, in which a group of elderly friends receive mysterious phone calls with the message: “Remember you must die.” How each character reacts to these calls makes an interesting tale.

Aren’t we all just a little afraid of time passing and with it our mortality? Isn’t that what the middle-age crisis is about? And what about the elderly? How often do we think that time is running out? How do we deal with it?

So, while I think that a morbid fear of the passage of time may be unusual, we are all  affected by Chronophobia. Worth pondering and writing about, don’t you think?  😉

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WORDS: Quotidian

“Quotidian” is on the list of words every (working writer) should know. I find this amusing as I can’t remember hearing it in years.

It’s one of those words that could get you into trouble if you use it in quotidian places of business. Are you praising or belittling something when you call it quotidian? How do you work that into a phone conversation without sounding pretentious?

I ask you, is the word “quotidian” quotidian?  😉

However, if you want to be an art critic, political commentator,  opinion maker, or just sound like you know what you’re talking about, I suggest you add this word to your writer’s box of tricks.

Bing’s definition:

quo·tid·i·an [kwōˈtidēən]

of or occurring every day; daily:
“the car sped noisily off through the quotidian traffic”

ordinary or everyday, especially when mundane:
“his story is an achingly human one, mired in quotidian details”

synonyms: daily · everyday · day-to-day · diurnal · ordinary · average · run-of-the-mill · everyday · standard · typical · middle-of-the-road · common · conventional · mainstream

denoting the malignant form of malaria.


If you want to learn more about this word check out the online dictionary link below:

Merriam Webster : quotidian



I chose “fey” as my first word in this new Feature (Words) because I’ve always loved the lyrical and mysterious quality of it and because it’s a word on the brink of disappearing from our vocabulary.

Many people think fey means odd or eccentric in a mentally deranged way – and it can be – but it can also indicate a supernatural connection. The Scottish meaning is also mysterious and full of our darkest fears of death and dying.

I prefer the first meaning over the second, but however you use it in writing, it usually indicates your character is of Celtic ethnicity.

Bing definition:
Fey [fā]

feyer (comparative adjective) · feyest (superlative adjective)
giving an impression of vague unworldliness:
“his mother was a strange, fey woman”

 having supernatural powers of clairvoyance.

fated to die or at the point of death:
“now he is fey, he sees his own death, and I see it too”

For more on this word see also:

Merriam Webster : Fey