Per the comments below, there were two questions. First, what is a Fowler dip? That would be we two nerds sitting around at cocktail hour on Saturday (before heading to a small dinner party) with our respective editions of H. W. Fowler’s Dictionary of Modern English Usage (1926 British edition for him, 1944 American edition for me, but essentially the same) and opening at random pages to read passages to each other. For those of you unfamiliar with this wonderful book, an example:

Pedantry may be defined, for the purpose of this book, as the saying of things in language so learned or so demonstratively accurate as to imply a slur upon the generality, who are not capable or desirous of such displays. The term, then, is obviously a relative one; my pedantry is your scholarship, his reasonable accuracy, her irreducible minimum of education, & someone else’s ignorance.

Poetry! By the way, my Fowler was Will’s first gift to me, I believe.

Regarding my work existence, the welcome treats were cookies baked by my supervisor’s mom (so much for corporate impersonality), I’m back in my clean, bright space, computer issues have waxed and waned, and I finished paginating my first book today (900 pages, I’m cross-eyed!). So things are going well.

In other bookish news, I’ve begun reading Heavy Water by Martin Amis (a collection of short stories filched from Will’s bookshelf) and am enjoying it a lot, especially the first story, which reverses the cultural roles of poets and screenwriters. In Amis’s world, poets meet with Hollywood execs and talk about sonnets being multimillion-dollar summer blockbusters, while screenwriters hope desperately to publish in obscure yet prestigious literary journals for little or no money. I’m slowly working through it on the train and over my daily bowls of soup in the Arbitrary House (with apologies to South Park) cafeteria.

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