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Photo title: For God’s Sake, Get Your Head Out of the Sand, Man!
Tulum, Quintana Roo, Mexico.
Quote of the day: “It’s ever so much more satisfying to get into a blissful place and attract a blissful person and live blissfully hereafter than to be in a negative place and attract a negative partner and then try to get happy from that negative place.” – Abraham
The garage band that I actually saw playing in a garage today.
Taking the long way home from work once in a while.
Incredibly furry llong-haired llamas.
The mountains that I get to see every day.
Hawks that skim the tall grass without flapping their wings.
I’m not a grammar Nazi, like one of my colleagues. I don’t have Strunk and White memorized, but I do know what someone is talking about when they refer to Strunk and White. (Do you? If not, go look it up. Go on…I’ll wait.) I do not subscribe to the Chicago Manual of Style or the AP Stylebook online. Although for the current job, I do have to be familiar with all these tomes, and so I find myself referencing them from time to time.
No, my grammar bibles are more along the lines of those authored by the fabulous Karen Elizabeth Gordon, who brings us such reference guides as The Deluxe Transitive Vampire: The Ultimate Handbook of Grammar for the Innocent, the Eager and the Doomed, and Torn Wings and Faux Pas: A Flashbook of Style, A Beastly Guide Through the Writer’s Labyrinth. She’s educational and entertaining, just as any good teacher should be.
No….I can take or leave grammar. Even if I sound dumb saying something, you’ll probably still get my point.
What I love, however, is a good thesaurus. And what I find myself running up against time and again, are not good thesauruses. Not good at all.
It seems as if the powers that be expect us to be getting dumb and dumber. The new and “improved” updated Roget’s Thesaurus for the 21st century has pitiful few synonyms for the words it contains, and contains only the core words that one might need if one wished to write something at a 6th grade level. Severely dumbed down. And I won’t stand for it. I get annoyed every time I try to use the hardcopy thesaurus in the office. It’s just so frustratingly lame. I think I’ve explored every online version available and find all of them almost equally useless.
And so, when I am at home, and struggling for just that word, I turn to my own thesaurus … and I breathe a sigh of satisfied relief.
Yes, it’s old. Yes, it’s dust jacket is tattered due to use and moves and general hard-living. Yes, I bought it at a second hand bookstore about 30 years ago. And yes, it’s still the best thesaurus since sliced bread. It’s still packed, or else I’m sure I could use it to find a synonym for “sliced bread”. It’s that yummy.
This image is essentially what mine looks like. As I have been working on proposals, blogs, articles and the book, I have found this dusty old gem almost as valuable as a grande unsweetened iced green tea. Not as tasty, to be sure, but when I’m sucking down tea and swirling word choices around in my head, its tender pages have provided much needed mental refreshment, along with moments of calm clarity and sparks of rollicking brilliance.
Its original author, Peter Mark Roget, was also a medical man, and also invented the log-log scale, which is essentially a slide rule. Smart guy. But he had an overwhelming fascination with making lists, which was well manifested even in his early childhood. He used list-making as a tool to cope with tragedy and depression. From the modern psychological standpoint, I would say he had a pretty severe obsessive disorder. But his psychological flaw is the rest of the world’s gain. I doubt I would ever have had the patience to put into creating a book like the thesaurus, so I am surely glad that someone else did.
I think the man (who died at age 90 in 1869, a remarkably old age for those days) would be turning over in his grave if he knew how his book of lists has been tampered with over the past century. Dumbed down indeed. So if you have even the slightest inclination to write, I strongly recommend that you trot off to your local used book purveyor and purchase a hardcover copy of the afore-imaged thesaurus, not one of the new-fangled ones they sell at Barnes & Noble.
Get one just like mine. It’s like dipping your brain into a grande unsweetened iced green tea. Trust me.