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Sunday, October 2, 2011

Words and Word People

I love words, so it's no surprise that I love other people who love words. In last month's issue of The Writers Network News, I reported a discussion I had with a member about the use of "sneak" versus "snuck" and the fact that "snuck" is used in spoken English, but it is considered substandard in written language, except in dialogue. This kind of stuff fascinates me.

Having discovered Scrabble on Facebook and then adding it to my iPhone as well, I've become a complete addict of Scrabble, playing with friends and strangers alike. In case you think I'm some sort of master at Scrabble because I'm a great editor, it's not so. I am not a master at the strategy of Scrabble, and worse, I am not the best at looking at a jumble of letters and making long, point-scoring words out of them. I often miss excellent opportunities and end up losing, yet I get right back in the game, with the same friends or with strangers. Why? Because I love words.

My fascination with words began when I was young. My father read books to us kids at night, acting out the dialogue and adding emphasis to the narrative. He made me long to learn to read, and I eagerly grasped the skill when I finally entered first grade. Kindergarten was not available at the time, or I would have learned earlier, I'm sure.

I certainly hope that everyone with children will read to them when they are young. It gives children a boost for life. Even after I learned to read, my teacher used to gather us cross-legged on the wooden floor and read about Jane, Dick, Sally, and Spot and their adventures, reading to us at a much higher level than we could yet read, and it made me want to read even better, so I could read more intricate stories. My father and my first-grade teacher made me yearn to learn, and I did.

As an adult, I read to my son even before I was sure he knew what I was saying, but he sat quietly in my lap and helped me turn pages when he was small, and once he began speaking, he was able to finish my sentences when I read him his favorite books. Children learn by repetition, and while it may annoy adults to read the same stories over and over, doing so is the best thing we can do for children.

By the time my son was five, he was sight reading signs that passed by quickly on the highway, and when he reached grammar school, he excelled in all his courses, because he so easily read his textbooks. He breezed through college and veterinary school, and it comes as no surprise that he is also an excellent writer. In addition to practicing veterinary medicine, he writes a veterinary column for a regional magazine.

My daddy has passed on, but his legacy lives on, in me and in all his children and grandchildren, all of whom have done well in life. What started all this success? Words. No wonder I'm a word person!
Oh, and by the way, because I bought and paid for a house strictly from my income as a writer and editor, I call it "The House that Words Built."

Yes, I love words, and I would wager you do, too, because you are reading this blog.