Monday, June 23, 2008


From Mirriam-Webster's Eleventh Edition: lo-gom-a-chy: a dispute over or about words.

The debate continues to rage. While I'm firmly on one side of the issue, well-meaning others . . . are simply wrong.

(My husband will get a chuckle over that statement. Between his gorgeous, immensely talented and intelligent wife ;-), and his good friend Robert, my husband can't decide who most fits this statement: "Often wrong, but never in doubt." Of course, that somehow makes my husband superior, and I have a problem with that picture.)

I'm a writer. I'm a reader. Those two pieces of information logically lead me to the conclusion that I love words. And I do. But I'm not a linguist. I can only guess roots, and ask my critique partners . . . my grammar is often by the seat of my . . . er, ears. (Thanks again to my parents.)

One of my favorite authors does not write suspense. Anne Rivers Siddon. I love the low-country feel of her stories. The ebb and flow of life and lessons. I also love the fact that when I read one of her books, I need to keep a pen and paper handy so I can make note of words I want to look up later. She engages me not only in the story, but in the words. She stretches the definitions from time to time, but she makes our language matter. It has value. The words paint.

Dean Koontz (who I want to be when I grow up) does the same thing.

I read something a while ago about how heavily the English language has borrowed from all other languages. Isn't that wonderful? Don't you think we must have some of the best crafted words in the world? Expressive. Decisive. Emotive. Perfect.

So what I can't stand is when people want me (or others) to simplify their words. Sorry, no can do. I write suspense. My audience are people who have progressed beyond fourth-grade reading levels. I will not stoop. I will feel honored if they at times need to make note of a word to look up later. (NOT IN THE BOOK. ON A SEPARATE PIECE OF PAPER.)

Currently reading: Silent Thunder, by Iris Johansen and her son, Roy Johansen. Look for my review (in about a week) at Armchair Interviews.

It's all better with friends.

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