A Love Affair with Words*

All around the world, people are playing Wordle. The popular daily word game has become a must for me (at least until a paywall presents itself), as it has for many of my friends, relatives and acquaintances.

Thinking about word games reminded me of a post I wrote ten years ago this month, not long after I started this blog. I spruced it up a little and added a couple of photos:

As far back as I can remember, I have had a penchant for words, especially the written word.  Whether that love was instilled in me by a father who himself had a strong interest in language and books, or because I genetically inherited from him, I do believe he deserves most of the credit.

A familiar scene from my childhood was seeing Dad enjoy a little “light reading” before bed—devouring such tomes as War and Peace and The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich. On more than one occasion he was known to take an atlas to bed, to study up on the world geographically in relation to the news of the day.

Remembering my father that way always makes me smile. If only I could talk to him more about the books we’ve read. If only we could watch one more episode of Jeopardy together or play one more game of Trivial Pursuit as a family. He would have been eight-eight years old tomorrow (March 21), but we lost him nearly twenty years ago at sixty-nine. I’ve missed him every day of my life since.

I usually read about a book a week, but my passion for words doesn’t stop there. When I think of games, word games have always been my favourite.  Give me a competitive game of Scrabble any day over other board games.  I also delight in solving a difficult crossword puzzle, anagram, cryptogram, or jumble.  And if playing Jeopardy, what is my favourite category?  You guessed it:  Word Origins!

When I think of word origins, one particular book comes fondly to mind, recommended and owned by our father, and now in my possession.  Our Marvelous Native Tongue – The Life and Times of the English Language by Robert Claiborne, is probably the best book ever written about the origins of our language.  Thorough in its examination and encompassing the first intonations of our caveman ancestors to the many dialects of today, I found it hard to put down, even on a second reading.  Particularly notable are the many words we ‘borrowed’, and then kept from other languages, making English a true amalgam, and the rich, colourful and ever-evolving tapestry of words and speech we know today.

“To me, the greatest pleasure of writing is not what it’s about, but the music the words make.”  ~ Truman Capote

Readers and writers:
Do you play Wordle?

What—or who—instilled in you your love of words?
Do tell!

*Most of the above is from an Evergreen Post written in March 2012.

29 thoughts on “A Love Affair with Words*

  1. I played Wordle for a while, but got bored with it. My father also used to indulge in light reading like ‘The rise and fall of the Third Reich’. It was his copy I read many years ago, riveted to every word.

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    1. Sorry for my tardy reply. I think it will take a while for me to get bored with Wordle, probably because my husband and I have a bit of a competition going. I’ve yet to read The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich but I might one day. Speaking of my husband, he read it and thought it was quite interesting too.

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  2. Hearing about people like your dad makes me smile. I think book nerds like us make the world a better place! Just bought a good friend a bday gift that included a book of obscure but wonderful words and a “Word Nerd” bookmark. Us bibliophiles have to stick together:).

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Words are magic. That’s all there is to it. And words connected together create so much magic that they can create people, new lands and settings, and true stories that began as …. words. Each book of fiction is true, when thinking of the magic it makes in creating reality. So, yes, I agree with you wholeheartedly. And what a wonderful way to remember your dad. I don’t do Wordle! I have so little time to either sit and read, or sit and write, that I’ve ignored the temptation. But fun to see how many are appreciating the magic of words – through Wordle.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Pam, please forgive me for my tardy response to your lovely comment. I’ve been away from my blog lately.
      Words are indeed magic, and the stories we devour and create have a place in our lives that add to its richness. I know my dad would wholeheartedly agree with both of us. ❤️

      Liked by 1 person

  4. This is a delightful post. Who inspired my love of words? I suppose nursery rhymes and records and maybe my maternal grandmother. Once I learned how to spell ice cream, I was off and running on my own. My mother read, but I don’t associate her with a love of words. My father found words difficult. He used to mix up the letters and make other words sometimes. He read magazines and newspapers, but not books.
    About Wordle: Have you tried Wordle2 yet? octordle? Kilordle? The last has 1000 puzzles at the same time and is the most boring thing I’ve ever encountered. But Octordle is perfect. I really love it.

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    1. Thank you, Luanne! I thought it was worth a reblog. 😊
      Ice cream started it all for you, hey? Yes, nursery rhymes and fairy tales got me interested too. I haven’t tried the Wordle spin-offs yet but you do make Octordle sound intriguing !

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  5. That was my dad’s favorite book, Jennifer. At age 91, he still reads passages to me. I can relate so clearly to your love of words and how your family instilled that in you. Lovely post… and I haven’t done my wordle today! Heading over.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Like you, I find myself remembering my father whenever I read or play a word game. I’m not into Wordle yet, but loved Hangman so perhaps I’ll go try Wordle one of these days. My father’s work was in the printing and publishing industry. LIke your father, my dad found certain books good bedtime reading, or perhaps it was the newspaper after dinner, or reading with me sitting in his lap. My cherished gift from him is a set of Anne of Green Gables, one on my birthday and another at Christmas until the set was complete. Sometimes I think his genes are responsible for my fascination with words, somewhat like printer’s ink running through my veins. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Sherrey, thanks for stopping by! Your story sounds very similar to mine, it’s true. My dad liked his newspaper too. How lovely that he gifted you with the Anne of Green Gables books. I would cherish them as well. 💕

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  7. Yep! I am a recent addict to Wordle and long time lover of Scrabble and Words with Friends!
    I’m heading to Scotland tomorrow and will enjoy nightly word and general knowledge tv shows. 🥰

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I LOVE Wordle–just played it right before I read your post. I also play ‘hello wordl’ every day. My parents were not readers, so no idea where my love of words/books came from, but I have loved both from a very early age. Must be part of my ‘introvert’ gene. That Capote is wonderful, Jennifer.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Hi Lois. The first time I saw the game I couldn’t see what the big attraction was, but I soon overcame that! Remember the Hangman game? It reminds me of that a bit.
      I’m not surprised you love words and books too. 😊

      Liked by 1 person

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