I hadn’t planned to share my exploits so early, but sometimes necessity forces us to abandon our schedules, and move beyond them, for the purpose of clarification.
About that war I mentioned in my previous post…
Someone just now brought it to my attention—as if I hadn’t noticed—that there is a typographical error on the poster I designed for this war of mine, the one I declared in July of 2009. And to explain the story of that typographical slight I am forced to say something about the business of making words—new words—and how they reach the level of acceptability.
Don’t know about you…
But I was raised on the streets. And the streets provided with me an exemplary education—one usually scrubbed from the halls of academia—as well as the tools I need to survive as a human. Because, as far as I’m concerned, that’s where everything happens. That’s where everything begins. On the streets. That’s where new ideas are barreled to their destinations. And that’s where language begins, where new words are assembled, and sent on their way… Eventually reaching those things that are printed.
Not in dictionaries.
I was so tickled last September when I discovered a new word—a most important word—in, of all places, Urban Dictionary, online. I don’t even remember now how I came across it, what I was looking for, or where I was exactly, before I stumbled on the word Elginism. It was my turn to be giddy with excitement. I attempted to find out the source of this new word, its author, but met with no success when I queried urbandictionary.com. “Who was its author?” I said. “I wanted to meet him!”
So I kept moving. And hoping that one day I would find the author of this spectacular word.
I just hoped I hadn’t missed him.
You know, too late.
And then, as though the hand of Fate had decided to lick me, I stumbled upon the author while going full speed ahead on the Internet. Maybe I goggled the word. Or googled it. Not sure now. Probably. But my memory fails to give me a full accounting of this ripe find now. Because of the giddiness, I am guessing, I experienced then, back in September. Maybe Mnemosyne doesn’t like it when people are giddy. Who knows?
Matthew is my kind of hero. And I adore him. Because Matthew is brilliant. And I had decided early on that I just had to meet him. Had so many questions to ask him. Perspectives to share and distribute and exchange.
Matthew is a soft-spoken guy somewhere in his 30s. An architect. Of buildings—his profession. And of words— Hm… But what to call that? To call that a hobby diminishes his contribution and its importance to history of words. WAIT! I know. It’s called PASSION. Most definitely a passion, not only for words and the ideas they suggest, but for egregious acts of injustice, moral corruption, deceit and lies, theft.
Theft of cultural property.
As in the now famous Lord Elgin. Thanks to Matthew, the lord now lives in Infamy. A miserly and greedy soul who thought… “Wouldn’t it be sweet if I could add a Classical touch to my castle back on the Island? Why not simply help myself to Athena’s beauty and loot her temple?” And that’s exactly what he did. I hear he died heavily in debt. Indeed he was forced to sell his precious possession to the British Government who then entrusted the care of The Parthenon Marbles to the British Museum, where they have sat for over 200 years, patiently waiting to go back where they came from.
But the British are a peculiar people sometimes. And have peculiar ways of justifying the things they do to other cultures. Still I love them for what they have offered to civilization—for their writers. For they are the ones I read from greedily and at an early age and then went on to study them in further detail when I reached University level.
(As you may well imagine, being in a University was not at all easy for me. Why once I was escorted from those great halls of learning for being disagreeable. They wanted me to think one way. And I refused. So they threw me out the window. But that was much later. I had managed, despite enormous obscurity, to procure a degree for myself in English Literature in 1984. The literature I loved. And still do.)
Anyway, back to Matthew.
So Matthew—I imagine—in his quiet manner, one day had an insight that would change the way we looked at things from thereon… Forward. And into the future. And such a simple — But brilliant stroke! — He went ahead and added an “ism” to Elgin. Pure genius. And I think I spent months thanking him for his wonderful contribution to The Kingdom of Words. To Knowledge. And I still thank him. I thank him every day.
And so the war was gaining steam now that I had found an ally and kindred spirit. But as Matthew is busy building other concrete structures—such as real buildings—I don’t bother him too much. Because I respect how he uses his time. But we remain connected.
As For That Typographical Error
I wouldn’t put that woman on the same page as Matthew. Ever. And so that is another story. A story which begins with a letter I wrote to the Oxford English Dictionary wordsmiths, shortly after I had found Matthew, their response to my question, and then finally the introduction of yet another word, which I suspect shall live in infamy— CUTURAL. (I have just added it to my dictionary.)
So now I must write yet another letter to OED!
Like I have the time, huh?
Still, the war is going exceedingly well.
And the hubris of a desert woman who goes by the name of Astrid shall be dealt with as well.
But not here.
(First I must wash my hands.)
One can never tell, however, when soon will come around.
Highly speculative proposition.
Just like its sister…