..if a writer needs a dictionary he should not write. He should have read the dictionary at least three times from beginning to end and then have loaned it to someone who needs it.
Ernest Hemingway

I am not a literary man.... I am a man of science, and I am interested in that branch of Anthropology which deals with the history of human speech.
J. A. H. Murray (1837-1915), English lexicographer and editor of the Oxford English Dictionary, on which he worked from 1879 until his death; it was not published until 1928.

Entropy Gradient Reversals

Another old one we found mining the hard disk...

Reading the Dictionary

Though I had passed the same buildings nearly every day, walked and driven the same streets, they now appeared alien, even threatening, as if some inimical wind had swept away whatever significance I had once attached to shops and intersections, old meeting places, the houses of friends long gone, or worse, unable to be reached. Whatever love I had woven into these scenes was suddenly lost, the town become a cheap tapestry of mistaken memories, unraveling at the edges. I remember standing on a corner that winter day, whatever naive beliefs I'd cradled undermined at last, whatever vague hopes I'd casually entertained finally and completely shattered. The city looked somehow flat, deflated, like a cardboard stage set after the filming's over. Grief hit me like a blow to the stomach, and an aching sadness too exhausted for tears. Yet I was mesmerized by wonder at where I might have been these past five years. Had I really lived in this picture postcard dream-turned-nightmare? Without words to say why, I was invaded by the memory of a place I'd never been, and of a gate repeatedly slamming and swinging open in an empty yard, no longer separating the space it once enclosed from the now abandoned road.

That road was waiting for me when I left the place, first going into the high range 40 miles to the north. For nine months of healing silence, I lived in a a rough frame cabin tilted out over a rocky slope. The Aztec-psilocybin rocks a mile across the valley formed a backdrop to the Buddhist shrine below my south wall window. While the Milky Way burned itself into the winter night, I would fill the shrine bowls and light incense and candles to forces I tried not to imagine. I sat like a mirror sometimes, no flicker, no breath of wind, holding the crystal reflection of flames i