Monday, April 1, 2013

A to Z Blog Challenge: AAAAAAA

I was just minding my own business at 430 this morning when a tweet sang out on my phone. I don't always wake up, but this one did wake me. From my online friend, @Cynthia__Reed: "I'm doing the April A to Z Blog Challenge 2013. Today: "A"! One down, 25 to go!" plus a few hashtags.

Ooh, I thought to myself, tell me more! And in no time, I had joined the blog roll (#1780) of bloggers who are taking the challenge. Today's topic: "A."

While I lay there still MMOB, I thought of Australia, Anna-Jessie, Able, atheism, art. Later, assumptions, Alaska. My blog has been about a lot of different topics, but ultimately, most of the posts are my musings. This month will continue in that vein ... unless it changes.

That dictionary (right up there) has been with me since college. It may have been Greg's originally, but college it was. I am writing about the Actual Dictionary. Wait! Don't fall asleep yet!

Ione Skye's character in Say Anything had a large dictionary in her room. John Cusack's Lloyd Dobler sees the dictionary and is even more intimidated by her intelligence when he thumbs through the dictionary and sees notes she has made on every page, learning the words. (None of those ACT flash cards back then!) I love that scene, because I have always appreciated the dictionary.

Every entry has the word in bold, divided into syllables right there, then followed by those cool little marks to illustrate the pronunciation. And then the fascinating etymology of the word. Although i rarely, if ever, commit the etymology to memory, I always find it illuminating to see how it has made its way through several languages to its present form. And, finally, the definition(s).

You know what it doesn't have, my old dictionary that has "hackle" through "phosphate rock" separated from the binding, the one that doesn't even have an entry for "email," let alone phishing, iPad, sexting, man cave, or energy drink? About twenty five extra complications on the page (see below). does come in handy all the time. Percent of time I have my phone in my pocket: 100%. Percent of time I have my dictionary in my pocket. 0%.

The Actual dictionary is a treasure. No matter how many new-fangled words they come up with, my old dictionary fills a need. I can look up any of the newer words on my phone app (as if there is much need to look those types of things up these days when we are bombarded on every side with information), and I'll keep my dictionary as a reminder of something basic, something simple, something that still works in the original format.

I'll close with this quote by Steven Wright.

I was reading the dictionary. I thought it was a poem about everything.


Joe Richardson said...

Ha! Love this!

How many times have gone to the dictionary to check the spelling of a word, only to walk away 20 minutes later because you stumble, repeatedly, into more interesting words? That never happens at It's the bane of being too precise. No room for wandering. Pity, that.

Anyway, thanks for writing one of the niftiest posts I've found on the AtoZ!


Bob Sanchez said...

Hi, happy to meet you on the A-Z Challenge!

Anonymous said...

Oh my goodness - look at that well loved (and well used!) dictionary! What a treasure!

I can't believe at 4:30 am you started contemplating doing this A-Z Challenge (and yes, I realize it was because of a tweet!) - although that's about the time I'm usually finally falling asleep so who am I to say anything about thinking about such things at that hour?! Ha!

I'm glad I'm not the only one 'auditioned' multiple words...but darn if I don't know I'm already in trouble with V, X, and Z (Q I have ideas about, Y I can work with) but I might be scouring a dictionary for ideas for those other three...and I've done this before. I really think it should be a Z-A Challenge - go backwards so you have more creativity for the harder letters ;-)

I look forward to reading more!

Moonwaves said...

Haha, that's too funny. I mentioned exactly that scene from Say Anything in my first A to Z post, too (although only briefly). Gotta love dictionaries. :)