Sanction: What Does That Even Mean?!

The word “sanction” has always confused me.  The reader is supposed to understand your word choices based on context clues, but it would be best to avoid contronyms when possible. Below is a list of contronyms from 

Can you think of other confusing words not listed here? Please leave a comment! 

1. Apology: A statement of contrition for an action, or a defense of one
2. Aught: All, or nothing
3. Bill: A payment, or an invoice for payment
4. Bolt: To secure, or to flee
5. Bound: Heading to a destination, or restrained from movement
6. Buckle: To connect, or to break or collapse
7. Cleave: To adhere, or to separate
8. Clip: To fasten, or detach
9. Consult: To offer advice, or to obtain it
10. Continue: To keep doing an action, or to suspend an action
11. Custom: A common practice, or a special treatment
12. Dike: A wall to prevent flooding, or a ditch
13. Discursive: Moving in an orderly fashion among topics, or proceeding aimlessly in a discussion
14. Dollop: A large amount (British English), or a small amount
15. Dust: To add fine particles, or to remove them
16. Enjoin: To impose, or to prohibit
17. Fast: Quick, or stuck or made stable
18. Fine: Excellent, or acceptable or good enough
19. Finished: Completed, or ended or destroyed
20. First degree: Most severe in the case of a murder charge, or least severe in reference to a burn
21. Fix: To repair, or to castrate
22. Flog: To promote persistently, or to criticize or beat
23. Garnish: To furnish, as with food preparation, or to take away, as with wages
24. Give out: To provide, or to stop because of a lack of supply
25. Go: To proceed or succeed, or to weaken or fail
26. Grade: A degree of slope, or a horizontal line or position
27. Handicap: An advantage provided to ensure equality, or a disadvantage that prevents equal achievement
28. Help: To assist, or to prevent or (in negative constructions) restrain
29. Hold up: To support, or to impede
30. Lease: To offer property for rent, or to hold such property
31. Left: Remained, or departed
32. Let: Allowed, or hindered
33. Liege: A feudal lord, or a vassal
34. Literally: Actually, or virtually
35. Mean: Average or stingy, or excellent
36. Model: An exemplar, or a copy
37. Off: Deactivated, or activated, as an alarm
38. Out: Visible, as with stars showing in the sky, or invisible, in reference to lights
39. Out of: Outside, or inside, as in working out of a specific office
40. Overlook: To supervise, or to neglect
41. Oversight: Monitoring, or failing to oversee
42. Peer: A person of the nobility, or an equal
43. Presently: Now, or soon
44. Put out: Extinguish, or generate
45. Puzzle: A problem, or to solve one
46. Quantum: Significantly large, or a minuscule part
47. Quiddity: Essence, or a trifling point of contention
48. Quite: Rather (as a qualifying modifier), or completely
49. Ravel: To entangle, or to disentangle
50. Refrain: To desist from doing something, or to repeat
51. Rent: To purchase use of something, or to sell use
52. Rock: An immobile mass of stone or figuratively similar phenomenon, or a shaking or unsettling movement or action
53. Sanction: To approve, or to boycott
54. Sanguine: Confidently cheerful, or bloodthirsty
55. Scan: To peruse, or to glance
56. Screen: To present, or to conceal
57. Seed: To sow seeds, or to shed or remove them
58. Shop: To patronize a business in order to purchase something, or to sell something
59. Skin: To cover, or to remove
60. Skinned: Covered with skin, or with the skin removed
61. Splice: To join, or to separate
62. Stakeholder: One who has a stake in an enterprise, or a bystander who holds the stake for those placing a bet
63. Strike: To hit, or to miss in an attempt to hit
64. Table: To propose (in British English), or to set aside
65. Temper: To soften, or to strengthen
66. Throw out: To dispose of, or to present for consideration
67. Transparent: Invisible, or obvious
68. Trim: To decorate, or to remove excess from
69. Trip: A journey, or a stumble
70. Unbending: Rigid, or relaxing
71. Variety: A particular type, or many types
72. Wear: To endure, or to deteriorate
73. Weather: To withstand, or to wear away
74. Wind up: To end, or to start up
75. With: Alongside, or against


Keep writing and keep sharing! Cronin Detzz 


Art versus the science of writing

Art versus science
(That’s me, on the right)

I don’t attend writing workshops. I don’t want a book on “Writing for Dummies.”

I do read author blogs and I do educate myself on writing great dialogues and the like – but not TOO much.

The reason? I have this awkward fear it will ruin my writing. Sure, learning more about plots and denouement and killer endings would improve my writing. I know this. But wouldn’t it take the fun out of writing if I tried too hard? Moreover – and here is the crux of the matter – would it change my writing? Would my writing become less like one of my own flesh-and-blood children and more like a grammatically correct Frankenstein?

If I know too much about themes, antagonists, and symbolism, will the fun be sucked out of stories like the vampires that my English teachers proved to be? To put it in Hollywood terms: if I know how the special effects crew create a compelling scene, the magic of the movie is lost forever.

What do you think? I’d love to hear from you, even if you are an English teacher, as long as you promise to refrain from biting my jugular.

Keep writing & keep sharing! – Cronin Detzz


This teenage boy I know says, “I have a great idea for story: Batman goes into this virtual reality game in a contest against Ra’s al Ghul, only Batman doesn’t know that the game actually creates real events. At the end of my story, Batman must be the one who goes back in time to kill his own parents.”

3 Tips for Fragmented Writing

So this boy writes the best parts of his juicy, action-packed story but get’s writer’s block when it comes to storyline rules, such as writing a compelling first page, creating masterful segues and crafting spine-tingling page-turners.

This type of writer’s block is okay, and very normal! Don’t let it stop you!

Go ahead and write all your favorite parts. You can fill in the gaps later. Your favorite portions are the heart and soul of your masterpiece. If you find that you are lamenting over fragmentation (how to string the pieces together), just have some trust in yourself and give it time.

Three key tips on fragmentation that I have found to be useful in overcoming writer’s block include:

  1. Before you go to sleep, write down your problem on a piece of paper. You can phrase it in the form of a question, such as: “How do I get Batman to accept a challenge from Ra’s al Ghul?” This allows your subconscious to contemplate the issue.
  2. Many writers have fragments of other stories in their treasure chests. Why not incorporate elements of your other stories into your current endeavor?
  3. Use real events. Although we have never played a virtual reality game against a villain, we have had to deal with bullies at some point in our lives. How did you meet that bully? How did he make you feel? What elements in the bully’s life formed him into such a tyrant?

I don’t normally create an outline until the primary sequence of events are clear. You may find that writing an outline is helpful at some stage, and I’d love to hear from you on this topic.

Keep writing and keep sharing! – Cronin Detzz


Feed me!  Anagram Poetry by Cronin Detzz
Feed me! Anagram Poetry by Cronin Detzz

A new challenge for your inner poet! Tackle your poetry writing block with an anagram of your name. The longer your name is, the more words you might find, but this is not always the case.
1. Start by choosing the name you’d like to anagram. I recommend starting with your own name. If you’d like to write an anagram for your ma (nice Mother’s Day or birthday gift!) And her name is Jane Doe, you might want to also use her maiden name or make an anagram from a short phrase, like:”Jane Doe, the greatest mother ever.”
2. Make a list of words. Give yourself extra points if you can create a word without using the same letter twice. For instance, Jane Doe only has one “d,” so challenge yourself to use words that require only one “d.” “Jane Doe, the greatest mother ever” contains words like an, and, are, as, dart, dear, do, don’t, even, emote, gem, go, great, has, hath, heat, meager, mood, more, neat, nod, node, need, never, one, ogre, onto, over, read, remote, rev, she, so, some, son, stand, tart, tear, test, them, there, ton, vest. I’m sure you’ll find more, as well.
3. Expand your word list, remembering word prefixes and suffixes. It is similar to playing a game of Scrabble or doing a good old fashioned word search. For example, many words end in “-tion,” “-est,” and “-ly.” Many words begin with “pre-,” “in,” or “re.” Our example contains retest, greater, greatest.
4. Look for short articles such as “in” or “the.” You may find different insects or animals as well. This example has a doe, a dog, a deer and a moth. Keep your mind open.
5. Finally, see what you can string together. Don’t worry if it doesn’t rhyme. If you need a few more words, try rewriting all the letters in a jumbled order and your eyes will pick up new combinations.
Jane, a dear mother, a gem
Great to meet, she is neat
Never a greater heart
Most others never even start
She stands the test
Dare to meet the greatest
A hero, she has the “mostest”
Psychics say that our names have a vibration that is unique to each of us. Guess that makes me “so cozy!”
Keep writing and keep sharing!
– Cronin “Suzy” Detzz


FIBONACCI – not your father’s haiku

General Motors tried to inspire a younger demographic with the catchy tagline of “This is not your father’s Oldsmobile.” I’d like to think that a Fibonacci poem is not your father’s haiku! A Haiku has a mathematically metered number of syllables in three lines, using a count of 5, 7, 5. Similarly, a Tanka uses the measure of 5-7-5-7-7. Below is an example, written when I was about sixteen years old:

the wound is so Deep
it will scar your Memory
alone and Empty.
even after she leaves You
her unwanted stench Lingers

The Fibonacci sequence adds each subsequent number as the sum of the previous two numbers: 0 + 1 =1, 1 + 1=2, 1 + 2 = 3, 2 + 3 = 5, and so on. This mathematical sequence occurs in nature, music, science, geometry, and art, and has also been applied to poetry. The Fibonacci poem uses the following number of syllables per line: 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, etc.

Below is a great example, used with permission by poet Narendra Rai:
It’s born
Brings with
Itself your aroma
That gives me hope
To hold you in my arms one day

Another mathematical approach to poetry can be found in an etheree, which contains lines of syllables in numerical sequence from 1 to 10. I tried my hand at a reverse etheree:
1 In
2 my dream,
3 I reach out
4 Wailing, weeping,
5 the darkness creeping
6 heart beating and bleeding
7 growing numb as senses pale
8 Blackened by burning betrayal,
9 You enjoy my screaming as I drown
10 You even help the demons hold me down
9 But wait, here is the craziest twist
8 you let me live to make it last
7 pulling me into your past
6 you laugh as my blood drips
5 licking fingertips
4 luminous scream
3 ruinous,
2 haunting
1 dream

Writing in this style is more difficult than it looks! Many poems typically have four to eight syllables per line, and in poetry, each line stands alone to allow the reader to pause. Challenge yourself and try this art form. You can share your poetry on this blog or you can share on my Facebook wall, just search “Cronin Detzz.”

Keep writing and keep sharing! – Cronin Detzz


If you have a sudden rush of inspiration, where do you record it?  We often get great ideas while brushing our teeth or while sitting in traffic at a red light.  If you are anything like me, you know that you have to record your inspiration before it flutters away from your brain.

To prevent writer’s block, I make sure that I record inspirations as soon as possible.  A quick inventory shows me where my inspirations are sitting right now:

  • On a yellow sticky note on my car’s dashboard, and two more floating around in the bottom of my purse
  • On a tiny notepad next to my toothbrush
  • In a journal in the back seat of my car, and another journal in the trunk of my car (that journal is full)
  • In a journal next to the easy chair, and another journal on a chair in the dining room
  • In my gratitude journal, located on my nightstand
  • On virtual sticky notes in my smart phone, using an app called Color Note
  • On the backs of recycled envelopes, which have been stuffed inside a manila envelope entitled “Blog Ideas”

I clearly need to simplify!  I try to remember to stuff blog ideas into a manila envelope entitled “Blog Ideas,” but with life moving so fast it is difficult to stay organized.  On days where my eyes are tired from working on the computer for hours and hours, I go through my journals and tear out pages and organize them into categories.  If I already have a book title, the journal notes are stuffed into the back of a folder or manila envelope. 

Once I’ve used my latest delicious idea, I put a large checkmark next to the sections that have been used.  This helps me remember which ideas have already been put to use.

Writers, what systems do you use to capture all of your ideas?  Do you have a special app that you like to use, or do you have other systems?  Let me know!  The more we share, the better we can all become.  Writer’s block can be frustrating, so anything that you can do to stay organized can only help.

Keep writing and keep sharing!  – Cronin Detzz



“Friends, Romans, Countrymen, lend me your ear…”   Those few, simple words written by William Shakespeare are well-known to casual readers and bookworms alike.  Similarly, “Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou, Romeo?” has been drilled into our heads by our beloved English teachers.  (By the way: wherefore doesn’t mean “where,” it means “why”.) 

Banal quotes and trite cliches make us wonder why certain phrases are so easily recognized.  Why do some lines have sticking power in our brains?  We are bombarded with clever turns of scripts every day, from Facebook posts to television shows to radio ads; yet, certain quotes are indelible.

Certainly, some famous quotes stick in our gray matter due to pure rote memory.  I had a Latin teacher, Mr. Paris, who began each class by making say aloud the opening line to Caesar’s Gallic wars:  “Gallia est omnis divisa in partes tres.”  Mr. Paris added a few more words each day, and promised us that we would probably remember this for the rest of our lives.  After the Christmas break, a 30-year-old student popped in just to say hello to Mr. Paris.  That adult could recite the entire first paragraph, and we were amazed.

Besides rote memory, there are other tricks that our brain uses to remember these kinds of phrases.  If we see a parody on television that makes us laugh, our brains will ease and we will absorb what we are hearing.  If we are very sad or angry, we might identify with a particular phrase or song lyric and subconsciously think about it.  If we are celebrating a holiday, our hearts can quickly recall moving sayings like Dr. King’s “I have a dream” speech, or Tiny Tim’s gleeful, “God bless us, every one!”

In your writing, remember that a heartfelt phrase can have real staying power.  We don’t always know which phrases will resonate with a fellow bookworm, but chances are that if you are sincerely writing from your heart, readers will take notice.  It takes some confidence and a willingness to be vulnerable enough to share your innermost thoughts, but isn’t this what writing is all about in the first place?

Keep writing and keep sharing!  – Cronin Detzz