Saving Mr. Val

 

The sense of presence slid gently across the cluttered desktop, palpable as sunlight. Nudging past my elbow, it rippled up my spine and chilled my shoulders, staking its claim to my consciousness like a squatter moving into a deserted house.

Suddenly attentive though not yet uneasy I turned, expecting to see my calico scowl of a cat peering at me across the dining table, irritated with my absorption in my work, intent on drawing me away for a bit of play. But the cat was nowhere to be seen.  When her name and a gentle, trilling call brought no response, I stretched and looked, unwilling to move from my chair.  She wasn’t under the table, not hidden in the plumpness of sofa cushions.  No sleeping cat lay draped across the wooden chair, her paws kneading at the air where they rested between turned spindles.  

Perplexed by her absence as much as by the vague promptings that had unfocused my attention, I turned back to the computer, ready to dismiss my unease and settle back into my work.

 
Then I saw it, nearly hidden by the papery chaos overflowing the desk’s half-shelf.   Crouched behind a small stack of notebooks it seemed to be doing a bit of stretching of its own, staring at me with a combination of insouciance and fear.  Accustomed to occasional spiders who seem to enjoy setting up housekeeping in the undisturbed corners of my life,  I barely glanced at the creature before I asked my usual, half-humorous question: “Well, look at you.  What are you doing here?”  “Waiting to introduce myself,” came the reply.

Startled beyond words to discover I wasn’t confronting  a spider at all and wondering if I could smack my tiny visitor into submission if it turned aggressive, I responded as though carrying on a converation with something that had just crawled out of my books was the most usual thing in the world. “Who are you?” I asked. “Vacillatory’s the name,” the word-creature said. “But you can call me Val.”

Despite years of  speaking and writing words, it was unnerving to hear an adjective speak back to me.  I might have thought less of it in those mysterious hours between midnight and dawn, the madrugada, the time when time itself slows and flutters in the night breezes like the curtains of our dreams , but this was full afternoon, and I was awake.  “And why is it you’re here?” I asked. “I saw your last post, about technology, Twitter and texting,” Val grimaced. “I thought you might be able to help me out.”

“What seems to be the problem?” I asked, remarking to myself that if a word could pout, Val would be the poster boy for the practice.  Finally, he got around to his point. “Nobody likes me.”  “Val,” I said, “that’s pure silliness, and you know it.  Vacillatory’s a perfectly good word.  You’ve got a nice balance of consonants and vowels, you’re beautifully symmetrical on the page, and even if you are just a tiny bit obscure, you certainly aren’t archaic.”   

“I know,”  he said. “But I’m too long. I’ve got five syllables and no one wants that many syllables these days.  I’m too long for Twitter and texting, and they can’t abbreviate me.  I’ve suggested vty, but they think that’s short for ‘victory’.  Vcilty gets turned into ‘velocity’.  I really like vsltry, but that ended up making me the hero of a Russian novel, something like ‘Vasily tries’.  I just don’t know what to do.”

“Well,” I suggested, “what about a spelling bee?  Those folks always are looking for nice, long, uncommon words. Couldn’t you pick up some work there?”  “They only happen once a year,” Val demurred. “Even if I got used in practice a good bit, no one would know about it. And they’d never pay attention to me at the contests. Everyone would be cooing over those cute kids.”  

“Fine,” I said. “Then what about National Novel Writing Month?  I don’t know how many people are participating this year, but even if it’s only a few thousand, when you multiply those writers times 50,000 words, there surely would be a place for you.” 

NaNoWriMo – are you kidding?  Val rolled his eyes. “Those are good writers with good vocabularies, but word count’s the name of that game.  I might make it into an edit, when they’re got a little more time to fancy things up, but no one’s going to plunk me into a first draft.  It’s the same with the NaBloPoMo folks.  It’s hard to post every day, so most of them want easy, accessible videos or simple, straightforward posts. They don’t have time for creaky old multi-syllabic geezers.”

Determined not to run aground on his negativity, I tried a different tack.  “What about plain, old fashioned bloggers, then? I’ve used you once, you know.”  Obviously exasperated, Val scrunched forward to make his point.  “Of course I know you used me. Why do you think I showed up here in the first place?  Humans aren’t the only record-keepers in the world.   I happen to know I’ve been used 24 times in the past year – eighteen times written, and six spoken.  It isn’t much, but I’ve done far better than my friends Exuviated and Skirr.  That’s why I dropped by. I thought it might be worth the effort to track you down and see if I could get a little more work.  Being under-employed’s not much fun.”

Distracted by the cat, who’d heard our conversation and come out to explore, I turned away from Val and leaned down to scratch her ears while I thought. Finally I said,  “Well, Val, I’ll do my part. I promise. I’ll use your full name – Vacillatory – once a month, and do what I can to get you out there in front of the public. How’s that?”

There was no reply. While I’d been tending to the cat, my adjectival friend had slipped away, leaving nothing but silence, the soft hum of the computer, and a last sliver of sunlight fading through the glass.

Later, in the darkness, I wondered. Had I imagined Vacillatory’s visit?  Had I been conversing with a multi-syllabic elf with a bit of an attitude?  Had my Muse come calling, or perhaps some weird, word-obsessed version of Marley’s ghost?  Whatever the truth , it was impossible to deny the message written across my experience.  There are words which long to be spoken.  No longer content to languish inside a dictionary or thesaurus, unwilling to be consigned to pages of dusty prose, they seek us out, longing to discover new friends who still might be willing to give them voice.  Obscured by a blizzard of acronyms, fallen from fashion, thought to be too difficult or arcane for daily use, they are irreduceable and irreplaceable, resonant with meaning accrued over the centuries. They are the elders of our language: filled with wisdom, able to heal and ready to speak to those inclined to hear.

Anne Lyken Garner

A lover of the  Madrugada, poet Stephen Dunn captures the magic of its nightspell in a line from his poem of the same name:

“I love how life nags
and language responds.

But sometimes it is language that nags and life which is called to respond.  If the best of our words are to be preserved, if our sentences are to shimmer with meaning and paragraphs entice our readers with kaleidoscopic beauty, we are the ones who must commit ourselves to remembrance, understanding and use. 

Val and his friends are depending on us.

Comments are welcome.  To leave a comment or respond, please click below.

16 thoughts on “Saving Mr. Val

  1. Nicely done, a fun read.

    I have mixed feelings about words like vacillatory. (And why is spellchecker underlining it in red?) While I admire erudite writing on some level, another part of me just wants to cut to the anglo-saxon single syllables. It’s a style thing, I guess. Although I did pull out ‘pulchritudinous’ in my last post.

    But what I really want to know is, did you create that last image??? It’s wonderfully mesmerizing. I’m dying to know how you or someone else created it!

    Ruth,

    You got here while I was still trying to figure out the html to get that image link to work. It wasn’t “taking”, so I had to do it manually, and I’m the original techno-klutz. Now you can get to Anne Lyken Garner’s site, where I found the image, but I don’t have a clue how it was done. I suspect a program like Photoshop, of course. In any event, it’s beautifully rendered.

    As for Vacillatory and his friends… Months ago I wrote a post called Longer Sentences, Bigger Words, devoted to this same issue.

    As I mentioned there, I’m no lover of incomprehensible paragraphs, misused words or pretentious grammar. On the other hand, while little words and short sentences have their legitimate role to play in everything from daily journalism to great literature, there’s no reason less-common words and more complex sentences can’t be chosen and structured in such a way that they communicate clearly and memorably.

    We live in a world that tends toward either/or, but a writer isn’t called to choose only little words over big words, or long sentences over short. The writer is called to search for the right word and the right sentence ~ the right language to discover and communicate meaning – whatever form those words and sentences take.

    Improperly used, a big, fat word can be funny or even embarassing. But sometimes a string-of-syllables word is just what’s needed to set us dreaming. The trick is not to be vacillatory when deciding on the most pulchritudinous word ;-)

    Linda

  2. Thanks for voicing out the hidden reason for my coming back to your blog and wanting to read more. It’s that kind of ‘plain, old fashioned’ writing. I confess I’ve needed to look up words while reading your posts, and I’m glad you’ve offered me such learning opportunities. Keep them coming, Linda, all the syllables that give language their identity and character.

    I consider myself in your category of ‘plain, old fashioned bloggers’, albeit I do throw in some photos which are all selected after careful weighing and consideration. As an ESL speaker, I’m not too fluent with colloquial slangs and idioms, so it’s the old-fashioned style that I’d learned under some British influence back where I grew up.

    With all the new forms of communication, tweets and bits, it’s great that someone boldly speaks for words and language in their full-fledged beauty, and strives to prevent them from going into oblivion.

    Arti,

    After writing my previous post, I thought a good bit about the number of communication tools we have available to us. Eventually, it occurred to me to wonder – how many people now consider words themselves to be nothing more than tools, little linguistic gadgets more closely related to our Blackberries, iPods or Kindles than to the human spirit they’re meant to express?

    Of course we “use” words to accomplish this or that. But words are far more than tools. There’s a certain life to them, and that life can be extinguished by neglect, poor usage or contempt. I firmly believe the relationship between words and reality is so deep and so complex that when we lose a word, we lose the bit of reality that word is meant to communicate. As language goes, so goes our world – and I wonder on a daily basis whether the poverty of our public discourse isn’t a direct result of our diminishment of words.

    As for speaking for words… While I was still in grade school I began carrying a “Word Book” with me. Every time I found a new word, I put it in my book. I learned the definition and tried to find ways to use it. In those days, I collected words the way some people collect rocks or butterflies. Now, I’m enjoying going back into the collection and rummaging around for some of “the good stuff”. Every forgotten word is a new treasure to admire and enjoy.

    Linda

  3. Linda,

    Fantastic post, in more ways than one! You had me gripped to my computer screen from the first sentence to the last. I even shuddered a bit at the mention of spiders.

    I wanted to thank you for fighting the good fight, spreading the word (pun fully and shamelessly intentional).

    Earlier this year I discovered that Oxford Dictionaries created a site called Save The Words, which is dedicated to the “lost words” of the English language. You can adopt the words (receive an email certificate and everything!) and promise to keep them alive.

    Rachel!

    I found the site, and amused myself for fifteen minutes just on the home page, moving the screen around and looking at all those words. Some I knew and some I didn’t – but what a wonderful idea. I’ve now officially adopted “vacillatory”, and plan on adding a word a week. Thanks for the link!

    I’m really glad you enjoyed the story. It’s my first foray into plot/character/dialogue, and while it’s not going to bump anyone off the best seller list, it’s a first step toward figuring out whether “I don’t want to write fiction” is code for “I’m afraid I can’t write fiction”. ;-) Besides, being able to move around comfortably in various forms means any choice will be more solid.

    I’ll tell you two words I particularly liked in your comment – “gripped” and “shuddered”. Engaging the reader is a good thing!

    Linda

  4. Two things about your marvelous visitation. One: I used to caution the CS–and sometimes my former students–never to use a ten-dollar word when a ten-cent one would do; to save the gems of language for their proper time in an essay because they were so valuable, and overuse would dissipate their power. Two: during one of my walks a few years ago, a word I had never used and did not recall ever seeing slid into the spaces in my head and stayed. It fit what I had been mulling over perfectly. Who knows what vocabulary lies within the dark recesses of our minds (or dictionaries or thesauri, and no, I do not mean the electronic kind)?

    “Vacillatory” came to you–without hesitation–because you summoned him. And that is because, to paraphrase Mr. Yeats, you have come into your own and “words obey [your] call.”

    I love that final image, too. Well chosen, and well done!

    ds,

    I’d forgotten that sage advice about $10 and ten-cent words – from Mrs. Deutsch’s lips to your ears, apparently. She had that emblazoned at the top of our 8th grade blackboard, and pointed us to it each time we were called to write an “expository essay”.

    And yes, I’ve had that slightly weird experience of finding an apparently unknown word lodge itself in consciousness. Much more commonly, I’ll go to bed at night, wondering where to go with this sentence of that phrase, and when I wake in the morning, the first thing to cross my mind is a clutch of words. It’s strange but fun, rather like going to bed with my wheels spinning and waking up with traction.

    Did you use Yeats Words as the basis of a post? While I don’t remember ever reading the entire poem, it’s so familiar. Perhaps it was Arti. In any event, those paraphrased lines are wonderful, and my experience of writing this post has given me my first glimpse into what must be experienced by the real writers among us. I surely enjoyed this experience, but it puts me in complete awe of the ones I’ve always admired: Faulkner, O’Connor,
    Durrell, Eliot – and the whole clutch of others.

    Ironically, it’s the last lines of the poem that left me breathless. Life being what it is, circumstance and decision bring us to this place or that, and I could just as easily paraphrase those lines:

    That had [I] done so who can say
    What would have shaken from the sieve?
    I might have thrown poor words away
    And been content to live.

    Linda

  5. Fabulous, fluid post Linda! For some reason, the whole time I was reading it Lewis Carroll was on my mind. Funny how that happens, I guess Mr Val just seems to belong with Alice, in Wonderland.

    Jeannine,

    Well, living in this country right now feels rather like we’ve all fallen down the rabbit-hole, so maybe that influenced me! I went back and read just a bit about Dodgson/Carroll and found his writing described as populated by “peculiar and anthropomorphic creatures.” I do tend to anthropomorphize everything in sight, including inanimate objects like rocks, so perhaps I’ve found a use for that little quirk.

    It didn’t occur to me until this very minute – that’s what I did with Godot and Godette, too. Hmmmm…..

    And “fluid” is a wonderful word. Thanks for that. And I’m really glad you enjoyed it!

    Linda

  6. I check into your blog daily and it’s always a delight to discover the gift of a new entry.

    In my 67 years I have NEVER used the word “Vacillatory” either orally or on the printed page. This is, in fact, the first time and even now it was “cut and paste.” In fact, I don’t think I even KNOW anyone who would know the meaning of vacillatory let alone use it. Though I spent quite a few years making a living putting words on paper it’s always been small words and an emphasis on verbs over adjectives.

    Richard,

    Truth to tell, I’d never used “vacillatory” until my recent post called Furnishing Our Stories. I’ve used “vacillate” a good bit, but suddenly I came to a point where “vacillatory” popped to mind as the perfect word. The funny thing is, I had to look it up to check the spelling and meaning, to be certain it was a real word. So I learned a new one, too!

    The wonderful thing is there’s a time and place for every kind of word. Poetry is different from fiction is different from newspaper writing, and even in a newspaper op-ed pieces are written differently than straight reporting. Much of the best reporting I’ve read has been filled with strong, direct and “verb-ish” writing.

    You may get a chuckle out of this. When I was living in Berkeley in the 70’s, it was bumper-sticker heaven. There were a number of them I still laugh about, but one of my favorites was, “Don’t Send an Adjective to do an Adverb’s Job“. I suppose only a lit-and-linguistics geek would find that funny, but that was part of Berkeley’s charm. There was something for everyone ;-)

    Linda

  7. Your post is like a Pixar film. It attends to both my adult-self as well as my inner child, all at the same time.

    My inner child loved your entire coversation with a word that pouts and that your cat came in to check on you.

    Then the adult kicks in — and I wonder — why this word? Why vacillatory? What if anything, could Linda be wavering about? Then I find in one of your responses a few words on novel writing. Is this the wishbone – to pull it is to risk breaking the wish? If so, I know that wishbone well. When I write that bit about “giving up my best dream for whatever may come”, the best dream is writing a novel.

    But let me end run from that last confession and close with another line of thought — I love how your stretched YOUR writing muscles and MY writing muscles (the challenge to use my elder’s words) at the same time.

    It was marvelous.

    Janell,

    This is a wonderful comment, because it gives me a glimpse into an entirely different aspect of this thing we call “writing”. Nearly everything I’ve seen posted on the web, and most of what I ponder, has to do with the process of writing – what takes place BEFORE publication. However, your comment runs us straight into the area of criticism – what happens AFTER publication. You know – all of those super-serious questions that get asked: what did the author intend? Is “this” a symbol for “that”? What aspects of the author’s life does the story reveal? Or, in this case, why “this word”? Why “vacillatory”? What might I be wavering about? As luck would have it, I have answers :-)

    The original title of the piece was “Saving the Syllables”, and I assumed it would take the form of an essay. I needed a word to help me make my point, so I went searching through my previous posts to find a nice, multi-syllabic word. It happened to be “vacillatory”, which I’d used in “Furnishing our Stories.”

    So there’s the answer to the first questions: vacillatory was plucked out for use in this post not because I was wavering about anything, but only because it had the right number of syllables! If I’d run across xenophobia, hippopotamus, renunciation or monosyllabic (!) first, any of them would have done just as well. So much for authorial angst.

    But then, on the way from a premise to a nice conclusion, something strange happened. I started to feel a little sorry for all those unusable words. I wondered if they could get unemployment benefits. I began wishing the Modern Language Association would start running public service spots on behalf of big words and…. well, it was down the rabbit hole with me. Mr. Val took on life, and away we went.

    As for novel writing – I did have a reader ask, When is the novel due out? I told him I assume there are three important variables here: inspiration, money and time (for writing, and then for re-writing, and re-writing, and…). With just one, not much is going to happen. With two, it could be made to happen. With all three, it’s inevitable. So there you have my wisdom on that ;-)

    For now, I’m just glad you enjoyed this. I certainly enjoyed writing it!

    Linda

  8. My first impulse was to think of a word that needs saving, one that I might offer up for you to add to your list. But now it is the madrugada, and my mind is logy. Some unreckoned time ago I fell asleep in my chair before the computer screen, and only now have I roused to ponder your words through bleary eyes. No doubt I started awake still panting from celeripedean efforts to elude leopards on blue lawns. The strategy worked; there are no leopards here!

    Under the circumstances I’m afraid the best I can do is to offer a selection from my hoard of Uniform Resource Locators: Luciferous Logolepsy. Though its venerable interface cannot compete in the same league with Rachel’s fancy Save the Words, the site is not without a certain charm. The words listed there are certainly better mannered.

    Bogon,

    That is one terrific site you cited. I did laugh a bit when I saw their definition of logolepsy (an obsession with words). I’d come up with my own definition as soon as I saw the word – “a form of narcolepsy induced by encounters with incomprehensible, archaic or obscure words”. For all my love of words, even I recognize some of them are better left for…. well, for sites like Luciferous Logolepsy.

    I did notice the inclusion of “skirr” in their introduction. I’d run across that one in another save-the-words article. A dictionary (I can’t remember which and can’t find the link now) was eliminating several thousand words in order to make room for new words. I believe it was an ornithologist who’d chosen “skirr” for his word – quite appropriate, since it means “whirring or grating sound, as of the wings of birds in flight”.

    Wishing you a continued leopard-free day!

    Linda

  9. Well, you asked. If someone handed me this with no name on it and asked me to describe the writer, I would say, “A beginner, one with a lot of talent and promise, but who also makes the mistakes most beginners make. I certainly did.”

    Keep writing, shore. You’ve got the soul for it. And remember that hard writing makes for easy reading!

    ella,

    Thanks for the response! Now you’ve got me curious beyond belief and scanning my post like it’s a literary version of “Where’s Waldo?”, trying to figure out where the mistakes might lie.

    There’s not a thing wrong with that – learning to read critically’s a skill, too, and one I suspect can be tough to learn. But it’s necessary. After all, pieces of writing are like babies. You can think yours is the most beautiful in the world, but if it has four legs, it might be useful for someone to say so ;-)

    Linda

    EDIT: Three googled articles, three writers in agreement, and one issue is right there in front of me, in the dialogue. Something else has occurred to me. By its very nature, blogging precludes limits the ability to re-write. The task is to post new material, not to re-work existing pieces. I think I’ll take this as my first re-writing project, and see what I can do with it while I move on with the blog. ;-)

  10. I’m relieved you read my comment in the goodwill spirit it was offered. Communicating with the written word can be difficult sometimes, with things seeming harsh perhaps that wouldn’t seem that way at all if chatting face to face.

    A favorite saying among pros is “Everybody needs an editor” and it’s 100% true. Whether it’s a fresh eye, a different set of life experiences, skills, whatever.

    I can tell you the least helpful feedback a writer can ask for is to hand a draft to a friend or colleague and ask, “Do you like it?” Usually they say they do, even if they don’t and it’s not fair to the reader. The rare times I solicit feedback from non-writers, I also hand over a specific question or two. That is fair and is extremely helpful.

    ella,

    Despite what some folks think, straightforward and honest aren’t equivalents for mean-spirited ;-)

    I’d never thought of it until this exchange, but I’ve experienced the “editing process” a good bit in my varnishing. I can work and work to lay down a perfect final coat, inspect it a dozen times, fuss over the detailing and be convinced it’s my best coat ever. Then, down the dock comes that new pair of eyes that walks over, takes one look and says, “Missed a spot….”

    One of the qualities a varnisher needs (or any good craftsman, I suppose) is the ability to continually refresh his or her vision. I suppose the same is true for a writer.

    Piles of thanks!

    Linda

  11. I enjoyed it.

    You’re quite right. While vacillate knows its way around, vacillatory and his ilk can’t seem to make it to the parade. Spell-check isn’t happy with these long fellows either, and I can’t afford to get on the bad side of spell check.

    Lots of fun here.

    Bella,

    That’s so interesting, about spell-check. Ruth had mentioned the same thing. I don’t use it because I’m a fairly good speller, but I did run a few words from Bogon and Rachel’s lists through it, and sure enough – no love for the long words!

    Glad you enjoyed it. It’s going to be double fun to go back through and see what I can do with it.

    Linda

  12. What a lovely story! And I’ve learned a new word (which is not that uncommon when I read your texts – don’t get me wrong, I love the way you write)

    I’ve never had a word talking to me. I’ve only heard the screams and the pleading from the letters killed by the delete button. And I tell you, that kind of imagination I can live without.

    Désirée,

    Oh, my goodness. That’s a kind of murder-at-midnight I’d never thought of! No wonder my kitty keeps looking around when I’m sitting at the computer writing and deleting. She’s hearing all those screams and pleadings that I’m oblivious to. I’ll never use the delete button with quite so much casualness again.

    I’ve been so glad to read of your recent successes. Here’s to many more to come!

    Linda

  13. What I loved most about this post, Linda, was humanizing a word…anthropomorphizing language. Since humans are the main ones who speak words, this is even more delightful to me. This is the kind of thinking that makes me feel…sparkly…all over! :)

    Ginnie,

    You can’t fool me – I know why you’re feeling sparkly. But I’m glad you enjoyed the post. It was such fun to write, and now I’m wondering if there might not be another creature lurking around – a woolly-word, perhaps ;-) I can see it now – and certainly length would be a virtue in such a creature.

    As a fellow-word lover and linguist, you certainly understand the battle for words. It’s a shame when they’re diminished, unappreciated or denied their true meaning.

    Thanks so much for stopping by in the midst of all your excitement! I’ll be over to see if we have photos of all the activity.

    Linda

  14. You know Linda, speaking from the view of an educator…this way of writing you have would be a wonderful intro lesson to younger students about the value of language and learning words to convey meaning (and not using ‘ordinary’ vocabulary). Your story just captures the attention of the reader, and by the end, the reader has learned a new word. Perhaps if vacillatory is used enough, it may become mainstream. When I was going to school to become an educator I would constantly hear the word paradigm, and I hadn’t really heard it used all that much up until then. Now I hear it all the time! So – you just never know!

    I also had visions of Alice in Wonderland…as someone else suggested! Great read!

    Karen,

    You may have noticed ella’s comments and my response. I am going to spend some time revising this one, turning it into more of a “story” and perhaps making it a little more accessible to younger readers. When I get it done, I’ll send it along to you, just for fun.

    I nearly died when I saw the new “word of the year” – unfriend. As in, dropping someone from your Facebook list. I don’t have a thing against new, hip words being selected, but I’m not too sure about that one. The funniest thing is that there was quite a squabble among Facebook users – some were contending that “defriend” refers to taking an individual off your list, while “unfriend” refers to cleaning out your whole list. I haven’t a clue, myself, but I suppose I’m glad so many people are interested in the word of the year ;-)

    I remember when “paradigm” popped up. It’s such fun to watch language develop and change. But there was that discussion with Humpty Dumpty in Alice that’s worth remembering:

    “When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said, in a rather scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean – neither more nor less.”
    “The question is,” said Alice, “whether you can make words mean so many different things.”
    “The question is,” said Humpty Dumpty, “which is to be master – that’s all.”

    Linda

  15. Linda, what a clever foray into fiction – and with such an unusual protagonist! Very much fun. As you mentioned to one reader, I think this could be a wonderful piece for young people facing a blank page in English class. When I was in the classroom, I became exceedingly tired of hearing the F—word, and those limiting few in the same vein. I titled a corner of the chalkboard “Acceptable Vulgarities” and the students latched on to these exciting new words that no one else knew, e.g. “Hey dog, don’t give me none of that b…balderdash!” and, “What the f…fiddlesticks you talkin about?”

    I think about words a lot, besides working with them every day in one written form or another. I lately realized I do not use my Roget’s Thesaurus or my Webster’s Unabridged any more; online sources have become so much easier for lazy me. Very sad. While I do listen to books on tape (and now disk) in the car, I swear I will never own a kindle. At least, I hope it never comes to that.

    And on the Facebook note concerning defriending and unfriending, I think you might enjoy this site: The Word Detective – http://www.word-detective.com/

    My mom cracks up when we have a conversation like this:

    Mom: I understand your cousin told your sister he is moving to Florida. Did you know that?
    Me: Nope, didn’t know. He’s not my ‘friend.’

    So even ‘friend’ now has a new meaning – someone you accept on Facebook!

    Write on! And happy Thanksgiving, Linda.

  16. Oh, my, this is fun! And not to mention, I learned a new word today!

    jeanie,

    Isn’t it a great way to learn? Telling stories, narrative — far more fun than vocabulary flashcards!

    I’m glad you enjoyed it.

    Linda

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