Know Where to Begin

Day 29: Musings

When there is no path to tell you where to begin, how do you start?

A machete seems like a grade-B movie prop. Overkill for such delicate work.

But … is it delicate, what you are doing?

Define delicate and I might answer.

At which point, pronouns crowd the page to confuse the reader – Dear Reader, have patience! – but we continue to ponder with our fingertips and our weapons of choice.

For instance, she pulls her copy of Roget’s Thesaurus of English Words and Phrases (1946 edition) off the bookshelf. Why not a dictionary? Because her dictionary is the size of a small car and Roget is intimately close and accessible.

roget spine.jpg
My slightly battered but somehow noble edition of Roget’s Thesaurus

But, annoyingly, in this instance, uncooperative. The word delicate appears only in support of the ear: as in delicate ear.  A brief scuffle ensues until we find ourselves in Class IV: Intellect. Division: Formation of Ideas. Further subdivided into several sections which bewilder even me, and I have the book in front of me. So we’ll pause for a commercial break (which in our case, Dear Reader, is some white space and a new paragraph).

And a brief droning on, which you can skip, as this is only a smattering of breadcrumbs along the way: Words Relating to the Intellectual Faculties; Formation of Ideas, Communication of Ideas,  Degrees of Evidence, Results of Reasoning: IV. (I.) v: Page [163].

page 163.jpg
View of bracketed page [163]
Note to anyone still reading: the page numbers are in brackets to differentiate from the headings, which are bold, both in word and number.

Page [163] consists of two columns:  The left-hand column is headed 494. (Object of knowledge) Truth.  The right-hand column is headed  495. Error.

We find Truth and lots of other words

Under Truth, I find one trembling word: Orthology. For a moment, I think that Mr. Roget and all of his publishers have made an error – how ironic! – but it was only my mind playing tricks. Not Ornithology, child. Orthology. The study of the right use of words in language. A lovely word to find in a Thesaurus, don’t you think?

But Error has its own reward: mists of error.  Add the letter ‘t’ to the third word and you’d have a Grade-B movie, wouldn’t you? Possibly involving machetes.

Error is a ripe fruit for exploring on so many levels, don’t you think?

How amazing that I have scattered so many words across your path. And told you nothing. But I will give you one truth, plucked from the proper column: I do not know where to begin. No, correction:  I do not know when to begin….



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