Just words
Thursday, October 05, 2006

A lot of people seem to look down on writing as a non-profession. As in, "Why don't you get a job that pays you regularly and doesn't make you drink?"

There is also a subtle bigotry, the Jungian universal thought:
"What's the big deal with putting some words together?"

After all, they are just words.

Here in South Carolina, our Governor is recovering from a "slip of the tongue". Just some words, but might cost him the election.

You see, when talking about the budget, he declared "It's like dancing with a tar baby".

Now, I'm not from the South, and was unfamiliar with the expression. Of course, I recognized tar baby from the Brer Rabbit stories, and so my first impression was that it was racial.

It's not. I checked Merriam Webster; they have one definition:
Main Entry: tar baby
Function: noun
Etymology: from the tar baby that trapped Brer Rabbit
in an Uncle Remus story by Joel Chandler Harris
: something from which it is nearly impossible to extricate oneself
I also checked the Urban Dictionary, which does list it as a racial slur, but that's the FOURTH definition. The first three are here: Tar Baby
Just words.

Reminds me of the person (was it a college professor?) who had to apologize and resign for using the word niggardly, which also is not a racial slur and doesn't even share an etymology.

So, here's my advice for all those "It's just words" folk.

Write 100,000 words. Yes, you can use them more than once. Actually, better make it 200,000. Then, edit out all the words that don't make a good story.

Way to go! You just finished your first novel.
posted by Milehimama @ Mama Says at 8:14 AM | Permalink |