Wednesday, April 9, 2008

What's in a word?

My first big speech writing gig was in a Texas gubernatorial campaign. Heady, yes. But my main job was to find a seat in the front row – so I could lead the spontaneous standing ovation.

My two favorite writers: L. M. Boyd, author and syndicated trivia columnist, and Verlyn Klinkenborg, author and NY Times editorial board member. Boyd was best at twisting words into a funny sentence. Klinkenborg excels at stringing words together for fun and feeling.

Lately, Mr. K. says, he has been thinking about the word "vang." It’s a sailing term. And a delightful romp from his keyboard to the editorial page.

He wraps it up: “I look back and wonder what it is I’ve been doing innately since childhood and I can think only of this. I’ve been picking up words one by one, feeling their heft, wondering who’s used them before, and slowly adding them to my permanent collection.”

More good words. In reviewing the documentary “Young@Heart,” writer Stephen Holden describes a chorus of about two dozen singers whose average age is 80. To them, Holden says, the Bee Gees song “Stayin’ Alive” is a blunt survival anthem. And music is oxygen.

And in conclusion…

Three years from now, more or less, the digital universe of ones and zeros will be ten times the size it was in 2006. That’s huge. But digital data degrades over time.

And technology is changing daily. Do you remember what’s in those old floppies or the old tape drive? Can you still open these relics?

Books will still be books 100 years from now. Electronic data may be merely whiffs.


Ken Martin said...

Attaboy, George,

Like fine wine you're getting better as you age.

Anonymous said...

Great post today, George. Today's youth are not only somewhat reluctant to learn, they are also obstinate about it. I had a young lady argue with me that her sentence, "They were dirt pour" was correct. Sigh. Keep 'em coming, George! -- Denise

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