"Voice is an important part of reviewing. While it’s not something you can fake, it’s helpful to define it so your reviews are consistent. When I started out, I read the reviews of writers I admired to let their styles sink in. I tore out pieces I loved, particularly those with beautiful or witty writing, and collected them in a file. Luckily, Gold collected his in a book called Counter Intelligence: Where to Eat in the Real Los Angeles. A former music writer for Rolling Stone, he wrote reviews of neighborhood places for L.A. Weekly in the 1980s that are funny, irreverent, passionate, insightful, knowledgeable, and filled with witty references. At one point he left Los Angeles for Gourmet, and his voice changed. It was no longer irreverent, but more formal, with a kind of hushed tone. Now he was reviewing fancy, expensive restaurants, writing about truffles and foie gras, and his voice had to be appropriate to the publication."
– Secrets of Restaurant Reviewing (p.160), Will Write For Food by Dianne Jacob

I want to travel, again.

"Reporting needs to be aggressive and precise, and it must be based on careful research and interviewing."

"Kettle, plug, fridge, milk, coffee. Yawn."
– A six-word story of Arthur Dent’s morning in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. (I haven’t even gotten to the good part yet.)

The Logic of Strong Trees

"An early morning out, and I don’t believe trees that never shed some and fall some, to rot some and manure some, to stretch some and grow some…

And I emphasize that the rotting is absolutely essential…

Well then, how do you think fruits came about without the help of animals or humans?”

She knew she came to a conclusion that she didn’t like. That’s how she writes in the meandering way with no end in mind. But she didn’t like this one particularly, so she left it at that.

She is self-serving, and incomplete, through any thinking reader should be able to point out what’s wrong.

Who in the world doesn’t live with the help of humans (or animals for that matter)? Who in the world is alone and can live alone? And she knew that all the drudgery will be gone and over for a new episode if there be some help. Rotting takes too long a process. All the adventure will be gone by the time you get there, and a fruit is not guaranteed.

'To rot'
Decay that bites
Bit by bit
A mouthful of flesh
Bite by bite
Reaching a core
The core
Encoded in a language, that
Reads the in-formidable law
Genes that dictate growth
When death has fully bitten
To the core

- Lily in three minutes

“Now let me rephrase myself. Now I am pretty sure what I meant was decomposition, but that’s besides the point… right? But well… I am more in the state of rot than I am in a graceful state of decomposing.”

Finally, she’d started to accept the loathed conclusion – the logic of strong trees – all in a morning prayer walk.

Professor Hugo Alcofrisbas, the muse

Today is a historical day. It’s the day I am done with my first subediting test, the day I’d sent out resumes to ten news/ editorial organisations, and the day I put Brian Selznick’s The Invention of Hugo Cabret to a close. Oh yes, and Hugo the movie has also become my favourite movie adapted from a book. Well, in this case, it is ambiguous; this book can be better described as a graphic novel.

With 500-pages, it took just three idle hours to finish, and has officially became my favourite book. Now I have something to pick up when feeling disillusioned about life, knowing that I will put the book down enchanted about the possibilities of life again. Great. But that’s besides the Holy Bible, of course.

"But before you turn the page, I want you to picture yourself sitting in the darkness, like the beginning of a movie… You will eventually spot a boy amid the crowd, and he will start to move through the train station. Follow him, because this is Hugo Cabret. His head is full of secrets, and he’s waiting for his story to begin."
– A Brief Introduction, signed off by Professor H. Alcofrisbas

Like a film reel on paper, the book translates its readers to 1931 Paris right from the start. It opens with a tight shot of the moon. As you flip the pages, the frame widens and the moon makes its way across the sky over Paris, illustrating the break of dawn through its black and white pencil drawings. The rest of the book is as magical.

You’ll have to buy the book yourself to check out the illustrations, but here’s my favourite quotes as a trailer:

"If you’ve ever wondered where your dreams come from, when you go to sleep at night, just look around. This is what they are made."
– Monsieur Tabard recites what George Melies told him as a boy

On a personal note, the magical part of this whole Hugo Cabret experience lies in book’s very last page:

"The book was printed on 130 GSM Nymolla Wood Free Paper and has been thread-sewn in 16-page signatures and bounded by Tien Wah Press Ltd., Singapore."

My own (feather-veined) publishing dream just made my heart skipped a beat again. My, my. This life is magical. There is no time to lose heart.


"Why aren’t you in school? I see you everyday wandering around."

"Oh, they don’t miss me," she said. "I’m anti-social, they say. I don’t mix. It’s so strange. I’m very social indeed. It all depends on what you mean by social, doesn’t it? Social to me means talking about things like this (old leaves that smell like cinnamon)." She rattled some chestnuts that had fallen off the tree in the front yard. "Or talking about how strange the world is. Being with people is nice. But I don’t think it’s social to get a bunch of people together and then not let me talk, do you? An hour of TV class, an hour of basketball or baseball or running, another hour of transcription history or painting pictures, and more sports, but do you know, we never ask questions, or at least most don’t; they just run the answers at you, bing, bing, bing, and us sitting there for four more hours of film-teacher. That’s not social to me at all. It’s a lot of funnels and a lot of water poured down the spout and out the bottom, and then telling us it’s wine when it’s not. They run us so ragged by the end of the day we can’t do anything but go to bed or head for a Fun Park to bully people around, break windowpanes in the Window Smasher place and wreck cars in the Car Wrecker place with the big steel ball. Or go out in the cars and race on the streets, trying to see how close you get to lampposts, playing "chicken" and "knock hub-caps". I guess I’m everything they say I’m all right. I haven’t any friends. That’s supposed to prove I’m abnormal. But everyone I know is either shouting or dancing around like wild or beating up one another. Do you notice how people hurt each other nowadays?"

"You sound so very old."

– Conversation between Montag and Clarisse, Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury