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  • Writer's pictureDaniel Fox

Spirit of the Staircase

Updated: Feb 2, 2019

Have you ever thought of the perfect response to someone's comments, long after the conversation was over? Perhaps you thought of a clever reply, or maybe something more truthful. Maybe it was an argument, and you thought of a witty comeback.

There's actually a phrase for this scenario, and it's called "Spirit of the Staircase". It comes from an 18th-century French philosopher named Denis Diderot. Apparently, he was at a dinner party and lost a debate with a colleague. He's quoted as later saying "a sensitive man, such as myself, overwhelmed by the argument leveled against him, becomes confused and can only think clearly again [when he finds himself] at the bottom of the stairs". This was in reference to the staircase leading down from the building where the argument took place.

I was recently in a radio interview (thanks again 1520 WBZW!). During the show, I was asked many questions about my writing and such. Although the interview went great (and was really fun) in listening to the Podcast later, I realized that I would have answered a few questions differently, if I had the chance to redo the interview.

Nothing major, but little things like "What other types of books do you read?". I answered something about time travel, when in reality, I read more Biographies than anything.

Anyway, "Spirit of the Staircase" sounds interesting ...and maybe even a little scary. I might use it for a story title at some point (although it's surely been done by now). Speaking of scary, have you heard about The Man In The Pink Sunglasses? No? Then pick up a copy of Lies That Bind...

...but don't say I didn't warn you.

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