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Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Why is a raven like a writing desk?

Some riddles don’t have a single correct answer.

For example: Where is the best place for a Knight to write?

On our recent excursion to England, our merry band of Knights of Moleskine, Spirit, and Ale was introduced to such writers as Lewis Carroll, C.S. Lewis, Shakespeare,

(Above: Shakespeare's Garden)

Churchill, Arthur Conan Doyle- Sherlock Holmes, Henry VIII, Jane Austen, Chaucer, Sir Dayvd of Oxford, J. R. R. Tolkien, The Beatles, Lord Alfred Tennyson (just to name a few).

We saw where many were born, lived, and are buried (except the live ones).

(Above: Churchill's grave)

We also saw where they loved to write. Imagine Charles Lutwidge Dodgson (Lewis Carroll) on the banks of the peaceful Thames, C.S. Lewis on a bench overlooking the enchanting Narnia Pond (Below: Lady Suzanne and Sir Dayvd at Narnia Pond)

Shakespeare in a boisterous Stratford pub, Churchill in bed with his favorite beverage by his side…

In the “unity through diversity” spirit, I have to ask: Where is the best place for a Knight to write?

Of course, like the Carroll’s Mad Hatter’s riddle, there is no one correct answer -- just something to think about and comment on.

So, why is a raven like a writing desk?

Carroll wrote his own answer in 1896 for a revised preface to his book:

"Enquiries have been so often addressed to me, as to whether any answer to the Hatter’s Riddle can be imagined, that I may as well put on record here what seems to me to be a fairly appropriate answer, viz: "Because it can produce a few notes, tho they are very flat; and it is nevar put with the wrong end in front!" This, however, is merely an afterthought; the Riddle as originally invented, had no answer at all."

Note the spelling of never as “nevar” (raven backwards). Unfortunately, as I understand it, the joke was missed by most because proofreaders thought it to be a mistake and “corrected” it before printing.

Today’s challenge (and a challenge for a lifetime): Create the perfect “Best Places for Creative Writing” list. Impossible? One can’t believe in impossible things, you think:

“I daresay you haven’t had much practice,” said the Queen. “When I was your age, I always did it for half-an-hour a day. Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”

Sir Bowie “who may finally read Lewis Carroll’s Through the Looking-Glass” of Greenbriar


  1. I can, (and do) write anywhere, but I have a strong preference for writing outside in the morning.

    Lady T. (who needs to find water resistant paper if she's to be productive today) of Pickerington

  2. That list for me is not impossible. It is wherever and idea strikes me with a writing utensil and surface...or computer is at hand!

    Woods, pools, lakes, bathrooms, bedrooms, closets, bars, restaurants, boring board room meetings, car, airplane, etc.

    I dare say that I have three favorite places to write, however. Weather my fire pit in the woods behind my house, in front of the fireplace at the Jesuit Retreat House in St. Louis looking over the bluffs of the Mississippi River, and any bar!

    Sir Hook the Bar Bard of Warrick

  3. Where do I write?

    All my best published stuff will have been carried around in my head for days on end being joggled into place, and finally written up in long hand , in the manner of Marcel Proust, sat up in bed, resting the books on my knees, at dawn or last thing at night at 1 or two in the morning. ( sleep is for wimps i get by on cat naps )...............

    Then lightly re-edited as i type it out, or now a days..put it on the computer.

    Sir Dayvd ( who now keeps his old Typewriter in the wardrobe and pats it wistfully on occasions, in thanks ) of Ox-heaven in the vale

  4. sitting on the floor or in the middle of the bed - same way I used to do homework -
    in pencil on legal pads is still my favorite (sorry moleskine lovers)

    Lady Suzanne,
    who has been know to use a fountain pen even though my fourth grade teacher hated it!