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Wednesday, October 6, 2021

October 2021 - The Words I Wear Out


Welcome readers, writers, authors, and bloggers!

Happy October! It's the First Wednesday of the month, the day we celebrate IWSG Day, in the form of a blog hop featuring all of the members of the Insecure Writer's Support Group. Founded by Alex Cavanaugh and fostered by like-minded associates, IWSG is a place to share the fabulous views and exciting news that occurs along our fascinating writing journeys. So pull up a chair and join us!

Our awesome co-hosts for this month's posting of the IWSG are: 

Jemima Pett, J Lenni Dorner, Cathrina Constantine, Ronel Janse van Vuuren, and Mary Aalgaard!

In observance of American Libraries Day, I didn't have to look very far for one with a sizeable distinction:

McAllen, Texas, is the home of the largest single-story library in the United States! Since 2011 a former Walmart Big Box store has served as headquarters for McAllen's (3-branch) Library System. It features a computer lab, a café, a spacious auditorium –and even a used book store - in addition to 376,310 system-wide items and books for use or sale.

If on your way to an interview you suddenly feel unprepared, you can always duck into the New York Public Library and borrow just the right necktie or briefcase to complement your professional ensemble.

There are roughly 116,867 public and academic libraries across America today. There are more public libraries than Starbucks (can you believe it?) in the country, nearly 100% of which offer free computer access and WiFi.

"The only thing you absolutely have to know is the location of the library" ~ Albert Einstein

One of my personal favorite offerings for Random Acts of Poetry Day:

"Only lovers
see the fall
a signal end to endings
a gruffish gesture alerting
those who will not be alarmed
that we begin to stop
in order to begin
again."  ~ Maya Angelou

As to this month's IWSG optional question: In your writing, where do you draw the line, with either topics or language?

You may recall I was once a Swing Singer before I learned to write. Through trials and many errors (grin), I learned from a young age the power of words, the reactions they could elicit. What I realized in writing is an opportunity to influence those reactions with carefully chosen words. That being said, I don't draw lines, but I do make decisions, much like choosing an outfit for a special occasion. Do I want to entertain or compel? Regale or repel? Desired reactions determine which words I choose to wear out in public (or on paper). I don't always hit the mark ;-)

Does anyone else feel this way? Have you ever been surprised by reactions to something you've written?

Happy Writing!


  1. That's a lot of libraries.
    Swing singer - wow!

    1. Hi Alex!

      You know that's a play on words, right? ;-)

  2. Hi diedre, the libraries you mention sound wonderful. I love the idea of borrowing a tie or briefcase! In this world of home computers, it's good to know such places are still going strong and that they outnumber overpriced coffee shops. ☺ Regarding the language used in writing, IMO, it should match the character and be realistic. You have a good point about choosing words carefully to elicit specific types of responses. Have a lovely fall season!

    1. Hi Debbie!

      Happy autumn to you!
      The first time I encountered a cafe in a bookstore I wondered why they couldn't do the same thing in a library. I was amazed and amused to learn they offer last minute business attire - and coffee nowadays ;-)

  3. Yes, we have to be careful of our word choices. And I so agree with Albert Einstein's quote.

    1. Hi Natalie!

      Indeed. I can't imagine a book of apologies being on a bestseller list ;-)

      The location of the nearest library was always a consideration when we moved into a new neighborhood. Of course, back in the day, school libraries were pretty cool too.

  4. I enjoyed your tribute to the Texas library and learned something I didn't know. That building must be huge! Loved your answer to the question.

    1. Hi Lee!

      I enjoyed learning about the McAllen library. I appreciate the use of old buildings, rather than tearing them down.
      Thanks for your comment!

    2. Absolutely! We need to reuse and repurpose. That's what makes for interesting towns rather than sterile ones. Some U.S. towns are beginning to understand that. Hope more do.

    3. Especially border towns. In addition to make-shift facilities, an eighty year old (former) monastery now houses migrants in my town. We seem to come together in remarkable ways while falling apart in others ;-)

  5. Very interesting blog bit, dIEDRE!

    >>... There are more public libraries than Starbucks (can you believe it?)

    Actually, that surprised the bezonkers outta me! And I would say (seriously) that's probably the best bit o' news I've heard thus far in 2021. Maybe there's a tiny shred of hope left, after all.

    >>... You may recall I was once a Swing Singer before I learned to write.

    Ha! OK, are we talking about singing while swinging? Or are we talking about you singing 'Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy (From Company B)'? Or perhaps we're talking about both: you singing 'Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy (From Company B)' WHILE swinging(?)

    >>... In your writing, where do you draw the line, with either topics or language?

    I draw the line at taking The Lord's Name in vain. I take that Commandment quite seriously. I will never write (or say) "G*d damn it!" or "Jesus Christ" as an expletive.

    When it comes to profanity, I absolutely hate the word "m.f." and NEVER write or say it! That's just a despicable word!

    Those are probably my only real personal taboos when it comes to language. Everything else is pretty much fair game, depending upon circumstances. Although I try to avoid profanity *most of the time*, when a better word will do. (And, like my Pa did, sometimes I just invent my own words.)

    So, you know I have a great deal of respect for you as a wordsmith. Therefore, I want to ask you a question, just out of curiosity. Please answer if you can. And if you can't narrow it down to a single word, but can give me a few different words, that'll be cool, too:

    If you had to select ONE WORD as your very favorite in the English language, which word would it be?

    I'll tell you mine if you tell me yours. :^)

    ~ D-FensDogG

    1. Howdy Stephen T.,

      Ha! I would have added a link explaining the bit about swing-singing if I wasn't in the process of moving my website. But you are half right. I used to stridently sing - about everything I knew - from my backyard swing (:

      I'm certain many would agree, and I do as well, about words you just don't use. The surprise is how few admit it.

      Although subject to change, my current favorite word is Serendipity.
      Your turn!;-)

    2. Howdy, dIEDRE ~

      >>... my website

      Hey, cool! I just now added it to my 'Reading List'. How long have you had that hidden website in operation?

      "Serendipity" -- yeah, that's a good word and it seems like one that would appeal to you because it has a positive meaning and it is fun to say.

      Currently my favorite word is COUNTERINTUITIVE.

      I like the strongly accented way it sounds: coun-TER-in-TU-i-TIV-e - that triple-T effect.

      I also like how the first half of the word undermines or cancels the second half of the word. That's somewhat unusual. I guess a couple more words that are kinda-sorta that way would be reverse-engineer and devolution.

      Another word that's somewhat similar, and high on my list, would be that word I invented for myself: goldenshadow.

      Plus, let's not overlook the fact that the six-syllable 'counterintuitive' is pretty fancy-sounding and helps to improve my poor reputation every time I manage to slip it into some conversation. And I need all the help I can muster.

      ~ D-FensDogG

    3. Hi again!

      Streampebbles has been streaming since at least 2011. Of late I'm attempting to simplify the ever-changing posting process. In fact, counterintuitive is a good description for current website circumstances ;-) Good word!
      Ha! I almost mentioned goldenshadow! Which is also a very good word ;-)

  6. Love the library tidbits. Our library has art work that can be borrowed. I've always believed that access to a library is access to the world.

    I think we don't always hit the mark because not everyone sees things in the same light. And some people are just looking to be offended, no matter how carefully you choose your words or outfit.

    1. Hi Lee!

      I've never thought of borrowing art work. Interesting!

      "...access to the world" How true.

      That not everyone see things in the same light is something I remind myself of often. I appreciate your reinforcement.

      Enjoy the cooler weather!

  7. Good to know that there are still lots of libraries even though I haven't been to one in a number of years. We've got two in our town that are both part of the greater Los Angeles library system. For a while I was getting a lot of things online from the library that I'd pick up when they came in. It was very convenient.

    I try to keep a fairly wide vocabulary though I don't always put it to best use. If I can I make an attempt to appear to be at least somewhat more articulate than the average person.

    Arlee Bird
    Tossing It Out

    1. Hi Arlee!

      I was only vaguely aware that our neighborhood library offered online ordering. Probably because I (used to) use any excuse to go there in person. A couple of years have passed since I've been there.
      The writer in you will always have you sounding like a professor, my friend ;-)

  8. Nice post on libraries. Like someone else in your comments indicated, I avoid using very profane language because there are people who are always offended by something. The last thing I need is a host of bad reviews. :)

    1. Hi Judy!

      No kidding, right? Some are even offended by what we don't say ;-)
      Thank you for coming by and commenting.
      Have a terrific October!

  9. Hi Diedre - interesting about your library - it sounds a wonderful place to visit. I tend to keep my words in order, but occasionally burst out - nothing too serious. Take care and all the best - Hilary

    1. Hi Hilary!

      I think we all "burst out" at one time or another. It shows we're human ;-)
      Have a sweet Halloween season!

  10. "I don't draw lines, but I do make decisions"

    Very well put! I like it1!


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