Welcome to the website woven for wordaholics, logolepts, and verbivores. Carnivores eat meat; herbivores eat plants and vegetables; verbivores devour words. If you are heels over head (as well as head over heels) in love with words, tarry here a while to graze or, perhaps, feast on the English language. Ours is the only language in which you drive in a parkway and park in a driveway and your nose can run and your feet can smell.

writing

 

In the world of popular music, it’s not unusual for famous people to be better known by their nicknames than their birth names. Rock bassist Gordon Matthew Thomas Sumner wore a yellow and black striped sweater when he played with the Phoenix Jazzmen during college vacations. They thought he looked like a wasp. You know him today as Sting.

Bono was born Paul David Hewson. The rock guitarist and singer received a series of nicknames as a teen and finally settled on Bono Vox, Latin for “good voice.” It was later shortened to Bono.

Bruce Springsteen is nicknamed the Boss, Frank Sinatra Old Blue Eyes, Elvis Presley the King of Rock and Roll, Michael Jackson the King of Pop, Benny Goodman the King of Swing, Aretha Franklin the Queen of Soul and  Jenny Lind the Swedish Nightingale. Opera sopranos Beverly Sills and Maria Callas were respectively nicknamed Bubbles and La Divina,

There is even a category called “Jazz Royalty.” Think Duke Ellington; Count Basie; Nat King Cole; Ella Fitzgerald, The Queen of Jazz; Bessie Smith, The Empress of the Blues; Oscar Peterson, The Maharaja; Charles Mingus, The Baron and Billie Holiday, Lady Day. Closely related are those who acquired “Jazz Divinity”: Thelonious Monk, The High Priest of Soul; Nina Simone, the High Priestess of Soul and Sarah Vaughn, the Divine One.

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This evening, at the Admiral Baker Club, the San Diego Writers & Editors Guild will be celebrating the group’s 40th year “dedicated to promoting and supporting the writing art.” Last week in this space, I shared the passion of three Guild members, who explained why they so love to and have to write. Here’s my statement:

For me, writing is like throwing a Frisbee.

You can play Frisbee catch with yourself, but it’s repetitious and not much fun. Better it is to fling to others, to extend yourself across a distance.

At first, your tossing is awkward and strengthless. But with time and practice and maturity you learn to set your body and brain and heart at the proper angles, to grasp with just the right force and not to choke the missile. You discover how to flick the release so that all things loose and wobbly snap together at just the right moment. You learn to reach out your follow-through hand to the receiver to ensure the straightness and justice of the flight.

And on the just-right days, when the sky is blue and the air pulses with perfect stillness, all points of the Frisbee spin together within their bonded circle — and the object glides on its own whirling, a whirling invisible and inaudible to all others but you.

Like playing Frisbee, writing is a re-creation-al joy. For me, a lot of the fun is knowing that readers out there — you among them — are sharing what I have made. I marvel that, as you pass your eyes over these words, you experience ideas and emotions similar to what I was thinking and feeling when, in another place and another time, I struck the symbols on my keyboard.

Like a spinning, gliding Frisbee, my work extends me beyond the frail confines of my body. Thank you for catching me.

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We are smack in the middle of 10 days whose numbers read both forward and backward: 9.10.19, 9.11.19, 9.12.19, 9.13.19, 9.14.19, 9.15.19, 9.16.19, 9.17.19, 9.18.19 and 9.19.19. I have dubbed these numerical palindromes “calindromes.”

One of the days above is our first Friday the 13th of 2019. If you’re a trifle queasy about years, days and hotel floors that include the number 13, you are displaying triskaidekaphobia, cobbled together from the Greek word parts tris, “three” + kai, “and” + deka, “ten” + phobia, “fear.”

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Pig Latin is a language game in which English words are tweaked by relocating initial consonants to the end of each word and adding -ay.

On the TV game show “Jeopardy” this past Tuesday popped up this challenge:

“Word Maven Richard Lederer Points Out That This Is Pig Latin For ‘Trash,’ But It Is Also An Apt English Word.”

The answer was “What is Ashtray?”

Other Pig Latin favorites of mine include beast/East Bay, devil/evil day, lover/overlay and true/outré.