I have been so caught up with writing other stuff that my blog has taken a bit of a back seat this last week. I have been busy with a couple of proposals, ideas for new things keep popping into my head (and I have to write them down, however obscure they are, in case they have some value or resonance later on) and I have been preparing a presentation that I am giving at the Limmud seminar this weekend.
The truth is, I love writing. I love words. I can’t always get them to do what they should, like Humpty Dumpy could by paying them at the end of the week, but I enjoy trying to get them to say how I feel and what I mean. I practice saying words and making up weird titles for things at gym on the stair master machine. I have taken to using my crappy cellphone as a dictaphone when I don’t have a pen and paper or Mac-a-tiny with me, like when I am walking the dogs. And I am practicing my writing. I think it’s good practice. But here is how Humpty Dumpty sees things. I will take my cue from him I think.
`I don’t know what you mean by “glory,”‘ Alice said.
Humpty Dumpty smiled contemptuously. `Of course you don’t — till I tell you. I meant “there’s a nice knock-down argument for you!”‘
`But “glory” doesn’t mean “a nice knock-down argument,”‘ Alice objected.
`WhenÂ I use a word,’ Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, `it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.’
`The question is,’ said Alice, `whether youÂ can make words mean so many different things.’
`The question is,’ said Humpty Dumpty, `which is to be master – – that’s all.’
Alice was too much puzzled to say anything, so after a minute Humpty Dumpty began again. `They’ve a temper, some of them — particularly verbs, they’re the proudest — adjectives you can do anything with, but not verbs — however,Â I can manage the whole of them! Impenetrability! That’s whatÂ I say!’
`Would you tell me, please,’ said Alice `what that means?`
`Now you talk like a reasonable child,’ said Humpty Dumpty, looking very much pleased. `I meant by “impenetrability” that we’ve had enough of that subject, and it would be just as well if you’d mention what you mean to do next, as I suppose you don’t mean to stop here all the rest of your life.’
`That’s a great deal to make one word mean,’ Alice said in a thoughtful tone.
`When I make a word do a lot of work like that,’ said Humpty Dumpty, `I always pay it extra.’
`Oh!’ said Alice. She was too much puzzled to make any other remark.
`Ah, you should see `em come round me of a Saturday night,’ Humpty Dumpty went on, wagging his head gravely from side to side: `for to get their wages, you know.’
(Alice didn’t venture to ask what he paid them with; and so you see I can’t tellÂ you.)