Sharp things: words, metaphors, and stone.

Not long ago, a guy named Corey (no, the other Corey *shakes head*) suggested that I trade in my Red Pen of Doom (DOOM, I tell you!) for an editing scalpel. This, for dark and twisted reasons, appeals to me. Y’see, I’ve intended for a while to eventually acquire an obsidian-bladed scalpel to display right next to my small collection of antique iron keys… I’ve even asked my clone to keep an eye out for unpigmented obsidian (’cause that kind is nonferrous, which is important) with which to make the blade itself. (The clone learned to make blades the way people in Stone Age cultures did — flint knapping, it’s called, but flint isn’t the only kind of stone used.)

Why obsidian, Weaver? you may ask.

Well, let me tell you…

*picks up coffee mug, sees that it is empty, thinks this may be for the best*

Obsidian is much sharper than steel or any other metal because it can form an edge only one molecule thick. Now, you might think (if you know anything about some of the people who populate my fiction) that a nonferrous surgical tool is a Very Good Thing. However… there’s a very nasty science word that some people don’t know because they use dissect to cover that word’s definition, too. That nasty word is vivisect. (Remember when I blathered about how the main character from the television series Forever should have known the difference in terms? Remember how I complained about having to feel not just understanding but sympathy for the series’ Big Bad? Yeah… I’m really gonna have to write a thorough blog post about all that one of these days.) Vivisection is like dissection, except the subject isn’t dead. The subject wants to be dead, though. So cutting tools that are less likely to make the subject dead just from contact are not a good thing at all…

(Yes, thank you, Alex, but sometimes Weaver needs to write about unpleasant things, and also, you’re in Florida, soon to be on your way to another planet, so maybe this isn’t your problem anymore, ‘kay? *rolls eyes* Fictional people — what can ya do with ’em? Tell stories, maybe?)

Anyway. “The scalpel of editing is sharp,” said someone on the other Corey’s blog. (Some day I will have to explain to him why he’s “the other Corey.” Not fair to let someone I communicate often with remain ignorant of the fiction I frequently reference in my bloggish blathers and editing tirades.) I liked that metaphor, and then I felt bad for liking it…

Y’know what’s ironic (sorry if that looks like a pun) about obsidian scalpels? Although very much not a good thing in one situation, such a surgical tool ends up helping the same character who feared it earlier. (And don’t think this is lost on him, either.) Sometimes the only viable disguise requires physical alteration… Only temporary, and more temporary than the character expects it to be, but you do what you gotta do.

EDIT (March 21, 2019): This post continues to get a lot of views, so it must be interesting to someone. If you’re one of these people, please leave a comment and tell me what you think. Or ask for more information. Or something.

About Thomas Weaver

For several years, I’ve been putting my uncanny knack for grammar and punctuation, along with an eclectic mental collection of facts, to good use as a Wielder of the Red Pen of Doom (editor). I'm physically disabled, and I currently live with my smugly good-looking twin Paul, who writes military science fiction and refuses to talk about his military service because he can’t. Sometimes Paul and I collaborate on stories, and sometimes I just edit whatever he writes. It's worked out rather well so far. My list of non-writing-related jobs from the past includes librarian, art model, high school teacher, science lab gofer… Although I have no spouse or offspring to tell you about, I do have eight cats. I currently spend my time blogging, reading, editing, and fending off cats who like my desk better than my twin’s.
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9 Responses to Sharp things: words, metaphors, and stone.

  1. For some reason obsidian blades sends my mind straight to Skyrim…. maybe it’s time to admit I have problems?

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Quintessential Editor says:

    Some day I will have to explain to him why he’s “the other Corey.”

    You know, I’ve seen my doppelganger (or am I the doppelganger?) mentioned on your blog page multiple times now. I was always curious if it was me, or the other one, you were referring to. Now I know.

    I also had no idea an obsidian blade could be honed to the point of being one molecule thick. I wonder how you stumbled across a piece of information like this. It seems to be far from common knowledge.

    Observations. You have moved your desk to face the door. Your desk is covered in antique iron keys. You would like to have obsidian scalpels on your desk. You are often consuming large quantities of coffee causing a state of heightened awareness. I imagine when people would come to visit the house you would be quiet the sight as they come in…

    Liked by 1 person

    • There’s a fictional character named Carl Corey. Not a figment of MY imagination, though — he’s the main character in a series of novels. ( I have never discussed editing with him, obviously.

      My desk isn’t “covered” in keys — there’s just the three of them in a small wooden frame off to one side of the monitor. IF I had an obsidian blade, it would be kept under glass in a frame of its own. On the other hand, my clone does have a real sword standing next to HIS desk. 🙂

      When people ask me, “Where did you learn that?” I usually have no ready answer. I don’t know how I first learned about the fracture properties (or whatever it’s called) of obsidian — I just know that it was many years ago. On the other hand, I do remember my clone telling me a couple of years ago about obsidian surgical blades being used sometimes by veterinarians. (“They’re not approved for use on humans, but that’s hardly an issue,” he said.)

      Liked by 1 person

      • Quintessential Editor says:

        You have mentioned this series multiple times now, perhaps I should take the hint and get the books ordered. I find when mysterious sages leave breadcrumbs, you should scoop them up and make bread pudding.

        Did you see they are adapting this series to film? I better read the books quick or I won’t be able to complain about inaccuracies and blather on about how the books were better.

        As for the obsidian surgical blade being under glass (when you get one), I hope you write on the glass, “In case of emergency break glass.”

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Terra Vance says:

    I love reading your posts. It’s like they’re pulled from my own brain sometimes, but with a distinct flourish. I like your neurostripe.

    -Terra from the Aspergian

    Liked by 1 person

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