Friday, March 13, 2015

Confessions of a Logophile

They had so many more words in the nineteenth century, didn't they? Apparently the goal of Victorian literature was to take a simple concept and expand it to use up as many words as possible. No wonder rebellious Hemingway used so few. English class must have driven him up the wall. I, on the other hand, have been having a grand old time with the nineteenth century novels I've been reading. They remind me of how much I loved words as a child. Multisyllabic, unpronounceable, incomprehensible words. A book wasn't worth reading unless it required a dictionary standing by. Each book that challenged my vocabulary felt like the step of a staircase in a castle with a treasure room at the top. Of course, now I realize the staircase was the treasure.

A Rewording Life is a wonderful logophilish project by author Sheryl Gordon to raise money for the  Alzheimer Society of Canada. She has compiled an anthology of "beguiling, bemusing words." The one thousand contributors include Terry Fallis, Miriam Toews, Yann Martel, Margaret Atwood, Brent Butt, and yours truly (I got cuneiform). The anthology will be released in the fall of 2015 but you can pre-order a copy at