Did you know…

Did you know…

… that today is the anniversary of Stephen King’s The Plant? Stephen King became the first big-name writer to self-publish a novel via serialized format on the Internet. He published the first installment of his novel The Plant on July 24, 2000, via his website. He posted the second installment four weeks later on August 21. More than a half a million people viewed the novel.


Today’s Inspirational Quote:

“The place where you made your stand never mattered. Only that you were there… and still on your feet.”

— Stephen King

Famous Lines Written By Women Authors With Male Pen Names

It’s commonly believed that female authors throughout history often chose to write under a male pen name, or at least a gender-ambiguous pseudonym, because the publishing industry was a male-dominated world that simply rejected the work of women. And while an underlying gender bias was certainly the case in many instances, the truth is more complicated.

In some cases, publishers have asked women authors to write under a male name or, more commonly, with initials, to appeal to a specific market — normally boys or men — that might shy away from a female author. Such was the case with J.K. Rowling and her Harry Potter series. Sometimes, it was more a question of anonymity, whereby the female writer simply wanted to separate her public life from the private. George Eliot wrote under a pen name in part to shield herself from what was then considered a scandalous aspect of her love life.

At times, it’s been a simple preference of the writer. Harper Lee, whose full name was Nelle Harper Lee, apparently didn’t want people to mistake Nelle for Nellie and so dropped it completely. Lionel Shriver, author of We Need to Talk About Kevin, was born Margaret Shriver but changed her first name in her teens: “I was a tomboy,” she told The Guardian. “I grew up with brothers. So I chose a boy’s name.”

The famous female authors below had their own individual reasons for writing under a male pen name, whether it was due to sexism in the industry, a desire for anonymity, or personal preference — and in some cases a combination of all of these factors.

I am no bird; and no net ensnares me: I am a free human being with an independent will.
 Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë, writing as Currer Bell

This quote from Jane Eyre displays the titular character’s quest for love, freedom, and being valued, sentiments likely shared by the author. Charlotte was the eldest of the three Brontë sisters, all of whom wrote under male pen names. She explained that their decision was due to “a vague impression that authoresses are liable to be looked on with prejudice.”

I am not afraid of storms, for I am learning how to sail my ship.
 “Little Women” by Louisa May Alcott, who previously wrote as A.M. Barnard

When Louisa May Alcott published the first volume of Little Women in 1868, she did so under her real name. Earlier in her career, however, she sometimes used the pen name A.M. Barnard, a gender-neutral name that allowed her to write more sensational, and at times lurid, short stories that were not deemed appropriate for women readers or writers at the time.

“First of all, I would like to make one thing clear: I never explain anything.”
 “Mary Poppins” by Pamela Lyndon Travers, writing as P.L. Travers

Pamela Lyndon Travers, who was born Helen Lyndon Goff, created one of the most famous female characters in children’s literature: the indomitable Mary Poppins. In 1970, Travers told a Los Angeles Times reporter that she used initials in her pen name because “so often very sentimental books are written by women, supposedly for children, and I didn’t want to be lumped together with those.”

It would degrade me to marry Heathcliff now; so he shall never know how I love him; and that, not because he’s handsome, Nelly, but because he’s more myself than I am. Whatever our souls are made of, his and mine are the same, and [Edgar Linton’s] is as different as a moonbeam from lightning, or frost from fire.
 “Wuthering Heights” by Emily Brontë, writing as Ellis Bell

The Brontë sisters used male pen names because they suspected that female writers were “looked on with prejudice.” They didn’t consider their own writing to be unfeminine, as Charlotte Brontë explained in her “Biographical Notice of Ellis and Acton Bell.” Another great female author, Virginia Woolf, later wrote how much she admired both Jane Austen and Emily Brontë for standing firm in a patriarchal society: “It is another feather, perhaps the finest, in their caps. They wrote as women write, not as men write. Of all the thousand women who wrote novels then, they alone entirely ignored the perpetual admonitions of the eternal pedagogue — write this, think that.”

The law of the land has made you my master. You can tie up my body, bind my hands, control my actions. You have the right of the stronger, and society confirms you in it. But over my will, Monsieur, you have no power. God alone can bend and subdue it.
 “Indiana” by Amantine Lucile Aurore Dupin, writing as George Sand

During her lifetime (1804–1876), George Sand was one of the most popular writers in Europe. She changed her name when submitting her writing to La Revue De Paris, whose editor refused to publish women’s work. The name stuck, and she used it to publish her first novel, Indiana. Some of her friends and family also called her George. Sand became a feminist icon, known for defying the norms of 19th-century society, both in her writing — as evidenced in the passage above — and in the way she lived.

They had entered the thorny wilderness, and the golden gates of their childhood had forever closed behind them.
 “The Mill on the Floss” by Mary Ann Evans, writing as George Eliot

The close of the second book of The Mill on the Floss marks the end of Maggie and Tom Tulliver’s childhood. Here, the siblings pass from youthful innocence into the “thorny wilderness” that they will face going forward. Writer George Eliot brought a complexity to themes such as growing up and falling in love. She used a male pen name partly to ensure her works were taken seriously in a time when female authors were typically associated with romantic novels, as well as to hide her problematic social position — she was living as an unmarried woman with a married man.

Up in this high air you breathed easily, drawing in a vital assurance and lightness of heart. In the highlands you woke up in the morning and thought: Here I am, where I ought to be.
 “Out of Africa” by Karen Blixen, writing as Isak Dinesen

Karen Blixen’s memoir, first published in 1937, recounts her 17 years living in Kenya, then called British East Africa. At the beginning of the book’s first chapter, the Danish author makes it clear that her farm was a place of harmony and freedom, a place of purity where she truly felt at home, where she “ought to be.” Blixen wrote under a number of pen names during her career, sometimes depending on the country of publication. In Denmark she was known by her real name, while in Anglophone countries she used Isak Dinesen (Dinesen was her maiden name), and Tania Blixen in German-speaking countries. No one quite knows why she did this, but it created some strange anomalies between the various translations of her work, with passages as well as situations differing widely in the Danish and American editions of her texts.

What women do is survive. We live by ones and twos in the chinks of your world-machine.
 “The Women Men Don’t See,” a science fiction novelette by Alice Bradley Sheldon, writing as James Tiptree Jr.

In science fiction circles, the name James Tiptree Jr. is well known. The prolific writer, however, was in reality a woman by the name of Alice Bradley Sheldon, and she kept her true identity hidden for 10 years. Robert Silverberg, the acclaimed sci-fi author and editor, likened the style of “The Women Men Don’t See” to Ernest Hemingway and noted that the novelette was “a profoundly feminist story told in an entirely masculine manner.” Only later did he find out that Tiptree was a woman.

To Have and To Hold: 24 Quotes About Marriage

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Marriage is an enduring and evolving tradition, and one that each married couple redefines for themselves. While matrimony takes different forms around the globe, it remains one of the most significant personal milestones and universally honored cultural practices in the world. And, slowly but surely, marriage is becoming more inclusive: There are currently 29 countries where same-sex marriage is legal.

Every day, engaged couples recite their vows and become newlyweds, establishing a commitment to one another that they hope will deepen and grow throughout the years. Many philosophers and writers throughout history have tried to describe this courageous and loving practice of pairing up for life. Some have compared marriage to a ship at sea or a garden passing through the seasons. Passion, friendship, laughter, and the ability to maintain both closeness and individuality are often cited as some of the most important components of a lasting union. Here are 24 quotes that speak to the love and appreciation that underlie and uplift marriage.

A successful marriage requires falling in love many times, always with the same person.
— Mignon McLaughlin, writer

That we have become
as one, deep rooted in the soil
of Life and tangled in the sweet growth.
— J.R.R. Tolkien

However important it is that love shall precede marriage, it is far more important that it shall continue after marriage.
Samson Raphael Hirsch, Jewish theology writer

Marriage is the fullness of time.
— Søren Kierkegaard

So close that your hand on my chest is my hand,
so close that your eyes close as I fall asleep.
— Pablo Neruda

To have and to hold from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness, and in health, to love and to cherish, till death us do part.
— Book of Common Prayer, Solemnization of Matrimony

May this marriage offer fruit and shade like the date palm.
May this marriage be full of laughter, our everyday a day in paradise…
I am out of words to describe how spirit mingles in this marriage.
— Rumi

I hold this to be the highest task of a bond between two people: that each should stand guard over the solitude of the other. For, if it lies in the nature of indifference and of the crowd to recognize no solitude, then love and friendship are there for the purpose of continually providing the opportunity for solitude.
— Rainer Maria Rilke

She’s talkin’ to me with her voice down so low, I barely hear her,
but I know what she’s sayin.’
I understand, because my heart and hers are the same,
and in January, we’re gettin’ married.
— The Avett Brothers

Give your hearts, but not into each other’s keeping. For only the hand of Life can contain your hearts. And stand together, yet not too near together: For the pillars of the temple stand apart, and the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other’s shadow.
— Khalil Gibran

Here’s the advice I give everyone about marriage — is she someone you find interesting? … Does she make you laugh? And I don’t know if you want kids, but if you do, do you think she will be a good mom? Life is long. These are the things that really matter over the long term.
— Barack Obama

can i picture us in old age
conquering the world
like we’ve got young blood
running in our veins
— Rupi Kaur, poet

What is called for is an ability on the part of the couple to “see” each other, to constantly apprehend the essence of the other.
— David Whyte, poet

You are a language I have learned by heart.
— Dana Gioia, poet

When marrying, ask yourself this question: Do you believe that you will be able to converse well with this person into your old age? Everything else in marriage is transitory.
— Friedrich Nietzsche

Happy and thrice happy are they who enjoy an uninterrupted union, and whose love, unbroken by any complaints, shall not dissolve until the last day.
— Horace

To be fully seen by somebody, then, and be loved anyhow — this is a human offering that can border on miraculous.
— Elizabeth Gilbert

What greater thing is there for two human souls, than to feel that they are joined for life — to strength each other in all labor, to rest on each other in all sorrow.
— George Eliot

Will you still need me, will you still feed me,
when I’m 64?
— The Beatles

There is no more lovely, friendly, and charming relationship, communion or company than a good marriage.
— Martin Luther

A happy marriage is a long conversation which always seems too short.
— André Maurois

The secret of a happy marriage is finding the right person. You know they’re right if you love to be with them all the time.
— Julia Child

What counts in making a happy marriage is not so much how compatible you are but how you deal with incompatibility.
— Leo Tolstoy

Marriage is a risk; I think it’s a great and glorious risk, as long as you embark on the adventure in the same spirit.
— Cate Blanchett

11 Turns Of Phrase Commonly Misused

11 Turns Of Phrase Commonly Misused

It’s not always easy to hear things correctly the first time. Sometimes common phrases get bungled in transit, and we’re stuck saying them wrong for years. Here are some of the most common phrases that people say wrong — see how many you’ve been using incorrectly.

Nip it in the butt

It’s not a pleasant image when you put it that way. The actual phrase is “nip it in the bud,” meaning to end something before it grows and gets out of hand. No butts involved.

On accident

It’s correct to say “on purpose,” so naturally “on accident” is the opposite, right? Wrong. The correct usage is “by accident.”

I could care less

If you could care less about something, that means you still care about it. If you really want to tell someone how few rat tails you have to give, tell them you “couldn’t care less.”

Could of

Yes, it may sound like “could of” when said out loud, but it’s spelled “could’ve.” It’s a contraction of two words — could and have.

Worse comes to worse

If worse comes to worse, isn’t that just the same thing? But if “worse comes to worst,” then you can worry. Get in your bunker and prepare for the worst.

Deep seeded

This one kind of makes sense — a seed is planted deep in the ground. But the metaphor is still wrong. The correct phrase is “deep seated,” to mean it’s rooted in place and likely hidden.

Do a 360

If you’re trying to change yourself, a 360 will land you right back at the starting position, as it’s a full circle. If you’re trying to be different, try doing a 180.

Statue of limitations

While there’s no “statue” dedicated to limitations, there is a “statute (law) of limitations” that dictates how long justice can legally be served after a crime was committed.

Pawn off

This one is tricky because you could indeed get rid of unwanted items in a pawn shop. Except the correct usage is “palm off,” and it means to trick someone into doing something so you don’t have to.

Hone In

Skills can be honed, but you can’t hone in on something. The term is “home in,” like a homing pigeon bred to find its way home. If you’re homing in, you’re getting close to your goal.

Extract Revenge

If you want revenge on someone, you don’t want to extract it. You want to exact it. “Exacting revenge” means you demand your desire for revenge is satisfied.

Main photo credit: busracavus/ iStock

Newsletters I subscribe to: Intelligence Fusion

Here’s your weekly rundown of the global security landscape, highlighting key incidents that have taken place from each region in the last seven days; 
Intelligence Insight Weekly - What's Happening in Asia?
MIDDLE EAST & ASIAKhuzestan Province, IranProtesters gathered in multiple locations in Iran’s Khuzestan Province earlier this week over chronic water shortages in the area. Authorities responded to the protest with force and cut off internet connection in certain regions to limit communication. Despite internet blackouts, multiple videos have been released online showing clashes between security forces and protesters, with security forces firing live rounds and tear gas at protesters leading to unknown numbers of casualties. Protesters have also been seen in possession of firearms and are reported to have engaged in shootouts with police. Casualties from armed clashes are unclear, but Iranian media has reported the death of a police officer during a shootout with unidentified gunmen. In response to the protest, the Iranian government has attempted to resolve the underlying water shortage issues which have plagued the region for decades. However, the harsh response to protests and accusations of shortages being worsened by government mismanagement and corruption will likely broaden the divide between the government and the region, raising the likelihood of similar protests in the future.
Insight Weekly - Europe Image
EUROPEProtests Across EuropeOver the last seven days there have been numerous protests across France against government moves to introduce a ‘Pass Sanitaire (Health Pass) requirement as well as a riot in Syntagma Square in Athens, Greece following government efforts to impose mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations. While France has large-scale, nationwide protests on a regular basis and Syntagma Square protests often descend into riots, the potential for mandatory vaccination regulations has featured in numerous countries across Europe; the UK government is currently mulling the possibility of mandatory vaccinations. In addition, this weekend will see another effort at Worldwide Rally for Freedom protests in major cities. These recent developments surrounding mandatory vaccination will provide a potential rallying call for these protests. Given the numerous occasions where anti-lockdown protests have descended into riots, these upcoming protests have the potential to attract large numbers of attendees due to recent developments surrounding mandatory vaccination regulations; which will increase the potential for rioting to break out.
Intelligence Insight Weekly - What's Happening in Africa?
AFRICATunisiaWith cases of COVID-19 rapidly rising in Tunisia, President Kais Saied has put the military in charge of managing the crisis after Prime Minister Hichem Mechichi sacked Health Minister Faouzi Mehdi. Lockdowns have been imposed in the country and a number of hospitals have also reported shortages of oxygen supplies. Before his sacking, the Minister of Health called on public and private health establishments to ration oxygen use. In parallel to the COVID-19 crisis, political tensions also remain high with the “July 25th Movement” recently calling for protests in Tunisia. Among their demands is the dissolution of Parliament. Since the start of 2021, there have been anti-government protests and general strikes have also been called to condemn marginalisation in some regions of the country, living conditions, unemployment and poor development. The resurgence of COVID-19 cases will put further pressure on the Tunisian government and the economy, and add to deteriorating living conditions.
Insight Weekly - North America Image
NORTH AMERICAMexicoOn the 17th July, four armed members of the Gulf Cartel (Cartel del Golfo) rescued a military deserter who was under guard at the Reynosa General Hospital. The suspects allegedly threw caltrops on the road leading from the hospital to impede the pursuit of authorities. It was later reported that the Special Operations Group detained the men, including the injured military deserter, several hours after they fled the hospital. The incident follows on from an encounter on the 13th July where a group of 30 armed men wearing military uniforms rescued a leader of the Gulf Cartel known as “Metro 27” from the State Attorney’s Office facilities. The leader had been detained the previous night in the municipality of Diaz Ordaz. It was during the initial operation to rescue “Metro 27” that the military deserter had been injured; reports suggest he was amongst the group of Gulf Cartel members who stormed the State Attorney’s Office facilities. The Gulf Cartel has a history of involving military personnel, with Mexican Special Forces soldiers recruited to form the military armed wing of the cartel in the 1990s. Despite in-fighting between factions of the cartel, individuals associated with the group remain responsible for a large proportion of drug trafficking and migrant smuggling activities at the U.S.-Mexico border. Significant profits gained by cartel associates from such activities, alongside accusations of poor pay amongst state security personnel across Tamaulipas has contributed to high levels of corruption and involvement in illegal activities amongst the military.
Insight Weekly - South America Image
SOUTH AMERICAComplexo do Salgueiro, BrazilOn the morning of Friday 16th July, Brazilian police responded to reports of a hostage-taking in Complexo do Salgueiro, a neighbourhood just outside Rio de Janeiro. Police shot and killed four suspects, including two local leaders of the criminal group Comando Vermelho (CV), or Red Command. The alleged hostages have not yet been located. Red Command has a significant social leadership role in many of Rio de Janeiro’s marginalised neighbourhoods, including in Complexo do Salgueiro, where the group ordered residents to stay indoors and close their businesses following the incident. Although continued gunfire was reported in the area, no significant retaliatory attacks have been reported so far. Earlier in June, Red Command unleashed a wave of violence after one of their leaders was killed by police in Manaus, when retaliatory attacks were reported in eight different cities across the state of Amazonas.
📽🎙🖥️ THE INSIGHT: An Intelligence Fusion Video Series  A video series that takes a closer look at key incidents and events, providing you with wider analysis on security trends, evolving patterns and unexplored geopolitical themes from every corner of the globe.
How is the Libyan civil war impacting the oil and gas industry in 2021? In the latest episode of The Insight video series, Intelligence Fusion’s Senior Intelligence Analyst for Africa, Viraj Pattni, explains what’s happening with the Libyan civil war in 2021 and the current and future threats facing the country’s vital oil and gas industry.
Watch now


Ensconce en-SKANSPart of speech: verbOrigin: Unknown place of origin, late 16th century
1Establish or settle (someone) in a comfortable, safe, or secret place.
Examples of Ensconce in a sentence “The top government officials were safely ensconced in a windowless office.” “Barbara ensconced herself in the world of academia.”

Did you know…

Did you know…

… that today is First Female Space Flight Commander Day? On July 23, 1999, space shuttle Columbia blasted off with the world’s most powerful X-ray telescope and Eileen Collins, the first woman to command a U.S. space flight. Collins, a retired NASA astronaut and United States Air Force colonel, was awarded several medals for her work.


Today’s Inspirational Quote:

“I don’t think of myself as being a woman and having anything to prove.”

— Eileen Collins