Tag Archives: blog

Year of the Nymph

On March 31, 2010, I wrote my first blog post, questioning the value of blogs. My premise was that no one wants to read anyone else’s innermost thoughts—and blogging seemed to be the place where innermost feelings become outermost feelings. But I went ahead and started Word Nymph anyway.

My one-year anniversary post isn’t going to be anything spectacular, so if you’re reading this blog for the first time today, please dig deeper into the archives before you form a first impression.

If you’re among the small but potent community of regular readers and commenters, thank you. Thank you for your faithfulness, even on days when your basket is brimming with reading matter. Thank you also to the four or five people who advised me in the beginning of this undertaking. And thank you to my husband, who kisses me good night as I sit in the late hours staring at a blank screen and panicking about what I will write about the next day. Three hundred nine times, so far.

Over the course of the year, I’ve heard from people that they want more personal stories of my childhood or of the careless foibles of my adulthood. Others believe I should stick to my knitting; one reader said he was going to unsubscribe because I wasn’t doing enough on language and grammar. At times I’ve wondered how I might satisfy everyone in this regard. But, as Ricky Nelson once sang, “You can’t please everyone, so you’ve got to please yourself.”

Some readers tell me they can’t keep up with my six-days-a-week schedule,  that they get behind and struggle to catch up. I don’t want people feeling like they’re drinking from a fire hose, so maybe I should slow down, pace myself so I don’t run out of ideas, or worse, generate forced content for the sake of adhering to a self-imposed schedule. On the other hand, some readers call me when I’ve posted late or missed a day, wondering where their Word Nymph is.

As I struggled with these questions, a friend and supporter sent me a link to another blogger’s ideas. These very usefully address my very conundrums. If you’re contemplating starting a blog yourself, or if you’d like to join me in contemplating Word Nymph’s future, you’ll find these thought-provoking—and a good read all around.

I know one thing for certain. Your comments–good or bad, serious or funny–are what make it worth the effort.

That’s it for today. Still thinking about the future. I welcome your ideas.

Thanks again for reading. Must find cake.

20 Comments

Filed under All Things Wordish, Family and Friends, Foibles and Faux Pas, Reading, Technology and Social Media

Oh happy day

Greetings, salutations and best wishes for the most festive of National Grammar Day celebrations.

How will you honor the occasion, after digesting your daily dose of Word Nymph, of course?

My personal observance of the day involved entering a copy editing contest sponsored by one of my favorite resources, Copyediting, whose tagline is “because language matters.” Amen.

The contest closed at 9:00 a.m. yesterday. Now I wait for winners to be announced. Make that “Now I wait for Copyediting to announce the winners.” Active voice.

This past year we have celebrated National Punctuation Day and National Dictionary Day together, so it’s only fitting that we be together online today. Be, present subjunctive.

We come to this place throughout the year to ask questions, admit our faults and, yes, occasionally, to preach. We laugh at the idiocies of language, at each other and at ourselves.

This reminds me of the motto of my church, which begins with “We welcome the faithful, the seeker and the doubter.” At the risk of being irreverent, and/ or breaking the eighth commandment, I think it applies in this place as well.

Word Nymph invites you to honor this day by celebrating the notion that language does indeed matter. None of us is born knowing language. Is, singular. We learn to communicate as children and we continue to learn as adults. We believe, we seek, we doubt. And I like to think we have good fun in the process.

Happy National Grammar Day. May the occasion bring us all continued thirst for delightful language.

Oh, and if I win that copy editing contest, I’m taking my Quick Check Editorial Reference Cards and heading out for a wild time.

6 Comments

Filed under All Things Wordish, Holidays, Technology and Social Media

Feed me

I’ve been at this blog experiment for almost 11 months now and I’ll be honest, there are times when utter panic sets in.

Within my six-days-a-week writing schedule, anxiety over coming up with a topic takes hold about three times a week. Usually, after taking a pause and deep breath, sometimes walking away, the light bulb comes on—sometimes a really dim bulb—and the writing flows.

One of my greatest concerns about writing so frequently is that the content will become diluted or seem forced. And often it does.

When Word Nymph was born in March of last year, it was fun. It was new. The ideas and the writing flowed effortlessly. Today, I’ve sat here for hours, staring at a blank screen, having scoured newspapers, magazines, my bookcase, my imagination and all my online sources. Nada.

Just as my palms got clammy and my heart raced to a frightening clip, I remembered a blog post my cousin pointed me to earlier in the week. It made me feel better and worse at the same time.

This remarkable blogger, writing under the name of The Digital Cuttlefish, articulated graphically the challenges of keeping up with a daily blog. In a post entitled The Care and Feeding of Dragons, the writer first puts forth an unattributed quote:  “A blog is like a dragon. You have to feed it all the time and sometimes you get burned.”

In the post, Mr. or Ms. Cuttlefish hit the nail on the head. Blogging is easy at first. But, like the dragon, this beast must be fed, preferably a meaty and steady diet, or it will eat you alive.

I took a tiny bit of comfort in Cuttlefish’s words because I no longer felt alone in my anxiety. Also, Cuttlefish put a face to my fear with this hungry dragon.

Once I finished reading the Dragon post and scrolled down to get a feel for Cuttlefish’s other writings, my jaw dropped. I could no longer put myself in the company of this blogger. Yes, he/she too posts about six days a week. But every post—every single post—is written in rhyme.

I must know: What does the Digital Cuttlefish eat for breakfast?

4 Comments

Filed under All Things Wordish, Reading, Technology and Social Media

Three-quarters of a year in review

As another year draws to a close, we see psychology and behavior experts appearing in great numbers on the news and talk shows to advise us on our New Year’s resolutions.

On the last day of 2009, one example seemed a little odd amongst the goals of losing weight, finding a job, getting out of debt and repairing relationships. One particular expert said, “for example, if your New Year’s resolution is starting a blog, . . .” I recall thinking, that’s odd. Who would start a blog as a New Year’s resolution?

I suppose the idea percolated within my mind for a month or two, because around the end of February, I started thinking more about it. I launched this one on March 30th and today marks my 233rd blog post of 2010.

After I first had the idea, it took me a while to settle on subject matter. I envisioned a quirky blend of Erma Bombeck and William Safire, who probably were never in the same room together, nor had much in common while they were alive. I tried to define themes within the About Word Nymph page, which still lacks proper cohesion. When people ask me what my blog is about, I tell them it is about language and life. I should probably squeeze that into a tagline somewhere.

If you are new here and are trying to figure out what this place is about, try going to that sidebar over on the right, and searching Topics. Perhaps you like the posts having to do with language but have no use for stories of the blogger’s life stories, or vice versa. If you’re a wordie, look under “All Things Wordish” and read my spin on pleonasms, mondegreens, portmanteaus, bdelygmias, oronyms, toponyms and absolute adjectives, or my gripes about malapropisms, mispronounced words and misunderstood song lyrics. If you want to read about my clumsiness and stupidity, “Foibles and Faux Pas” is for you.

If you are just now stumbling on to Word Nymph, might I suggest starting with a few of my favorites:

On Language:

Not very nice
Not a mute point
Let’s talk for a moment about momentarily
Did you want to ask me that again?
The ants are my friends
Repeat redundancy

 On Life:

Blink and you’ll miss it
Golden Girls
Woof it down
Joined at the unbelted waist
The other woman
Not the end of the world

Crossovers:

Fashion nonsense
Little old lady who?
Justice I am, without one plea
Character study

My personal jury (composed of 12 of my personalities) is still out as to whether Word Nymph was the wisest project for 2010. I will say, however, that the best part by far has been the interaction I enjoy with readers. So, please, everyone, keep your comments, compliments and criticisms coming.

May you wake up tomorrow feeling well and inspired to take on something worthwhile in the New Year.

Cheers.

3 Comments

Filed under All Things Wordish, Foibles and Faux Pas, Holidays, Technology and Social Media

Purgatorio over the Potomac

If you’re a regular blogger, you may have noticed that, just when you think there can’t possibly anything left to write about, material happens.

It’s odd that yesterday, as with last Sunday, blog fodder presented itself on my way from church. Some might say this is reason not to go to church. My husband argued that today’s little happening is reason to never go to Virginia. He hates Virginia. Even more so, he hates Tyson’s Corner, Virginia.

Long story short, we had to run an errand in Tyson’s Corner after church. The latest round of infernal traffic redesigns would qualify the Tyson’s area as the Ninth of Dante’s Circles of Hell, which is Treachery.

We thought we would make it home with our sanity (and the important item we purchased) when, halfway home, a very large, brand new Cadillac smacked into our car on the Capital Beltway, right in the middle of the American Legion Bridge. Fender benders happen all the time; but the Beltway, which everyone and his brother takes to the Redskins’ FedEx Field, is not the place you want to block a lane of traffic on a Sunday afternoon, especially midway across the Potomac River. I dare say, a few of the motorists who were none too pleased with the delay could use a little churching themselves.

No one was hurt, except my beloved red Nissan, so the event amounts to little more than an inconvenience. But my husband spent Sunday afternoon dealing with insurance companies, which he might equate to both the First Circle of Hell (Limbo) and the Fifth (Wrath and Sullenness) wrapped into one.

One day we’ll look back on this as Divine Comedy.

4 Comments

Filed under Family and Friends, Foibles and Faux Pas, Reading, Technology and Social Media, Travel

More holiday greetings

Have you realized that Christmas is exactly three months away?

Have you begun thinking about what you’ll put in your Christmas letter? Or gearing up to read the dozens of letters you will receive during the holiday season? 

I am often well into Christmas preparations by this time of year. My goal is usually to have everything done before Thanksgiving, so I can deal with our family’s onslaught of birthdays and anniversaries that fall between the two holidays, and also so that I am able to give the Christian season of Advent its due solemnity.

Ha. Even with all the advance preparation, it seems I still crash into Christmas like an overheated stock car having lost two wheels.

My tradition has been to have hand designed Christmas cards in hand in time to address them by hand while I am answering the door Halloween night. Then over the next four weeks, I write the notes inside at a civilized pace, and actually give thought to the family and friends I am writing. We send out more than 250 cards every year, so pacing is key.

Every year, the dilemma of a Christmas newsletter presents itself. Do I really want to burden my loved ones with 12 months of minutia when they barely have time to count two turtle doves?

I’ve always been a fan of photos. A picture is worth a thousand words, so I like one or two that say it all. I prefer they be larger than a thumbnail and illuminated by a flash, so we don’t need magnifying glasses when we sit down for the card-opening ritual.

Now that I write a blog, you already have more details about my year than any holiday letter could reveal. You know about my speeding ticket, my ills and diet woes, my husband’s amnesia, my favorite song lyrics and my son’s college graduation, as well as way too many stories and true confessions from my childhood. You know we are getting central air, and that I have a clean basement. You’ve read my travel stories and know which airports I’ve been in, what books and magazines I read, what concerts and plays I’ve attended. You even know my favorite smells and how many weeks I have been off coffee.

Egad, I’ve already written the world’s longest Christmas letter, more than 150 pages! How can you stand me?

I still plan to hand address 250 envelopes this year, but there is nothing left to put inside.

Please remember there’s no Word Nymph on Sundays. I may still be recovering from National Punctuation Day.

1 Comment

Filed under Family and Friends, Holidays, Technology and Social Media

Plane folks

Do you think airlines intentionally seat well-known people beside people who don’t know them? Sometimes I wonder.

I don’t think this is the case with politicians. I’ve been seated beside former Secretary of State Alexander Haig, former Ohio Senator Howard Metzenbaum and current Texas Congressman Lamar Smith and I knew them all. There’ve been more, but these are the ones who made memorable impressions.

Many years ago, I was making chitchat with my neighbor on a flight from Dallas to Washington. We exchanged pleasantries and I asked what took him to Washington.

“I have some interviews,” he said.

I asked, “Job interviews?”

“Press interviews.” He went on, “I wrote a book.”

“Oh, what’s it called”?

Run, Bullet, Run.”

“What’s it about?”

‘It’s about football.”

When I got home I told my husband I met a man, and something about a football book, bullet something.

My husband gasped. “You met Bullet Bob Hayes?” Only a two-time Olympic Gold medalist, Super Bowl winner and once considered the fastest human being on the planet.

By the way, I still don’t know what hockey legend I met in an airport in April.

Now that I’m a more seasoned traveler, I rarely take airplane conversations past the hello half-smile as I am squeezing into the seat and reaching under my neighbor’s cheek for my seatbelt.

Yesterday I walked into it again. Just a little.

About midway into the flight, after she and I rolled our eyes at each other over some boisterous passengers behind us, my neighbor thanked me for having been quiet during the ride.

We started talking, I asked what took her to the cities she was visiting and she said she was a musician.

Later in the conversation (which she probably regretted starting), I mentioned I wrote a blog. She asked the usual, what do you write about, I said language and life, and then somewhere in there I said I enjoyed writing about song lyrics.

She said she enjoys writing song lyrics and she shared how she approaches putting her lyrics with the music she writes. She shared with me some of her language peeves and gave me some ideas for future blog posts.

She was lovely and I can’t remember when I’ve enjoyed a plane chat more. I hope she felt the same.

She gave me the name of her group and I gave her the name of my blog.

You may have noticed Word Nymph typically doesn’t mention people by name. I will say I had never heard of my neighbor and chances are you haven’t either. Maybe one day we all will. Perhaps she’ll read my blog and introduce herself by way of a comment.

Granted, in my opening I mentioned four people by name. That’s all right because they’re famous and three of them are dead.  Now if they comment…

Leave a comment

Filed under Foibles and Faux Pas, Music, Reading, Sports and Recreation, Technology and Social Media, Travel