Friday, September 30, 2016

Words Matter

Trigger words exist.

Words we now know are politically incorrect are real.

And this matters.

Words cannot be swallowed back.

Words tossed out casually or flippantly have consequences, mostly mild and in accumulations severe.

Posts like this one from the Huffington Post matter.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

A Word on Wednesday

Here are two related facts: (1) my eighth grade teacher gave out copying dictionary pages as a punishment.  And (2) in eighth grade, I broke classroom rules during social studies.

Therefore, I copied plenty of dictionary pages.
Was that what made me want to be a writer? No! It made me want to pay more attention to the current event lessons and participate more in class and do my homework so I wouldn't have to copy dictionary pages.

Was this what led me to a career in journalism? Probably not.

However, as a teenager, I did declare I wanted to be a writer. And my sister gave me a hardcover Tenth Edition of Merriam Webster's Collegiate Dictionary for my 20th birthday.

I treasured it and her inscription: "May you write many stories, poems, thoughts … "  

Ironically, I didn't use it for writing. I had spell checker by then, later discovered, and then the Look Up feature on Word. The thick tome with gold letters on a red cover did come in handy for Scrabble games, but now it is outdated and excludes many currently-acceptable scrabble words. So the relic is really just one of those nice-to-have things for this word nerd.

I came across the a book rest at a thrift store about five years ago; I bought it for fifty cents thinking it would make a great display for my dictionary. Yes, some people would think it more appropriate for a bible, and others use similar ones for cookbooks in the kitchen.

But for me, I think the dictionary is the good book in the house.

I'm launching "A Word on Wednesday" weekly feature here to draw attention to words — not words, which are obscure or snobby or hard to pronounce or complicated to spell. Each word will be selected because I think we should examine it more closely or use it more frequently or use it less flippantly. I may even dare to suggest some words to obliterate.

Next week, I'll share my thoughts on "mining."