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6 May 2003

Disappointment of the day: long years ago, when I was a hopeless schoolboy, my head teacher taught us that the word 'sincere' derives from the Latin sine cero, 'without wax'. Reason being, he said, that in Roman days bad sculptors would disguise bad marble by rubbing wax into the stone of their statues to conceal the flaws. Good sculptors responded by advertising that all their statues were sine cero, a guarantee of honesty, and hence our English word.

I've been meaning to check that out for thirty years. Today, being in the Lit & Phil and nose-deep in the OED (sorry - jargon - the Oxford English Dictionary), I did check it. Oxford says there is 'no probability' in the story, which is a pleasant way of saying, with absolute authority, that it is bullshit. Aw, shucks.

Still, compensation of the day: I took delivery this morning of the first copies of The Devil in the Dust, vol 1 of the US edition of Outremer. There is no feeling quite like the feeling of ripping open a Jiffy bag and seeing a book slide out with your own name on the cover. I've done it a few dozen times now, and it's still a thrill.

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© Chaz Brenchley 2003
Reproduced here by permission of Chaz Brenchley, who asserts his moral right to be identified as the author of this work.