Saturday, April 23, 2011

A Word In The Hand Is Worth Two In The Bush

Words.  They are my stock in trade, the tools of my occupation, the foundations of all my writings.

I choose them and use them.   When inspiration strikes at odd times, I scribble them down.

I have a lifelong love of words.  I learned the lure and power of story early in life from verbal tales as well as books.   I learned to read early and dived headfirst into a world where words created stories.

When I was eleven, my Granny gave me a pocket Merriam Webster dictionary for Christmas.  That was a year that my uncle Roy Sontheimer did her shopping and I don't know if the idea was a joint one or if it was hers - or even his.   I loved that dictionary however and carried it with me almost everywhere, reading it like most kids would a paperback novel.   I delighted in looking up new words, defining words that I knew, and making discoveries.

My fascination with the dictionary earned me new nicknames at school like nerd and geek but I didn't care.

A few years later, long before I was a college student, my other grandparents gave me a very fine hardbound collegiate dictionary, a Websters, that I still have and still use.   Because it was much larger than my first dictionary it included many additonal features, a gazeteer of places around the world and more.

I lugged that thing to school on occasion, used it through college and beyond.

I discovered Roget's Thesarus along the way and added that to my collection.  I have several different editions now.  I also use the online versions of both dictionary and thesarus including the thesarus that is part and parcel of Microsoft Word.

Even before I owned a dictionary, one of my cousins gave me his discarded fifth grade English book as a birthday gift.  It still has his name scrawled in pencil inside the front cover but everything I really need to know about grammar is in that volume.   Just in case, however, I also have a Harbrace College Handbook of grammar with easy reach at my desk, that volume being one of my dear friend and beloved pastor, Fr Roger Leveilee's books, given to me after his death.   I treasure both.

I get inspirations at odd moments so I carry a notebook just about everywhere.  If I don't have it, I may scribble notes and ideas on just about anything including the palm of my hand on rare occasions.   I often get a great idea in the middle of the night and get up to jot it down before I lose it.

A word in the hand is worth two in the bush is one of those wolf hour thoughts so if it's strange, chalk it up to the hour and maybe the vodka I drank before retiring!

And now, without ado, it's off to make those words in the hand count for something!

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