A Bucket List Dream Come True

The Oxford English Dictionary

This week a dream I thought would never come true, is going to come true. The party who is making this dream come true has asked to remain anonymous, and so I shall call this party, the angel. 

If I was offered a brand new Jeep Wrangler or a new Porsche, neither would stand a chance against the full 20-volume set of the Oxford English Dictionary

The OED is, without question, the summit of all English Language Dictionaries. Work began on it in 1857. For a time the project was called, “A New English Dictionary on Historical Principles; Founded Mainly on the Materials Collected by The Philological Society.” It was not until 1884 the dictionary began to be published in installments. It was then referred to as, “The Oxford English Dictionary,” though the name of the publication was not formally changed until 1928.

For one who writes in English (or gives it a go), the OED is an absolute feast of knowledge. Language is the material I use to create, report, observe, make a fool of myself, and, at times, not.

The angel had asked me a couple of months ago, or thereabouts, if there was anything the angel could do for me. The underpinning to the offer was the angel’s belief that I had done a lot for others, and so, is there anyway the angel could help me?

Finally, a week or two ago, I wrote to the angel and asked if the angel would consider starting a go-fund-me page to raise the funds for purchasing the full OED set. It runs around $1,200 to $1,400. In less than 24 hours, the angel let me know the angel had covered the cost of the OED, and it was on its way. 

I cried when I learned this; tears of joy you can be sure. There was even a moment when I nearly shook my head to make sure I was awake, and I was!

There are no words to adequately express how moved and grateful I am to this angel for making this dream of mine come true. Then again, if there are words to fully thank them, I will soon have the right dictionary in which to find them!

Writing no matter what

I wish, no matter what, I could write for hours, no matter what, every day, no matter what. I know this to be near impossible for me.

For more years than I will think about I’ve hoped for that moment when I could get myself to sit down and write for hours at a time, every single day. I’ve read about writers who can tuck themselves away in their writing space, and pen away or tap keys for hours on a daily basis.  I keep wondering, what am I doing wrong? Or, am I a fraud as a writer? A fake of some kind? Something like that.

As true as it is that I’m not able to write for hours at a time with any kind of consistency, it’s equally true that I’d likely be a dead man if I did not write at all. It is near fact to say, I wouldn’t know how to function. It’s also stone-cold fact to say that in my darkest moments, writing and books have prevented my suicide.

I often write because I want to, I always write because I have too.

The page is your world

This may be the most efficient way of writing. Simply put words on a page, and have done with it. This is your page. These are your words. Here, of all places, you need answer to not a soul, living or dead. This is a statement of fact, friend. This, the page, is your world. Doesn’t matter whether others read this or not. I know ache fills you at this. It’s only life, each sentence, word, one movement closer to the end.  

One writer’s internal dialogue

  • It’s time to do some writing.
  • Fuck me.
  • I’m serious.
  • I can tell.
  • You just –
  • One word down, then another –
  • And another, exactly.
  • You know what gets me?
  • What?
  • It sounds so easy. Just sit down, or stand, whatever works, and then just start writing anything. Just set words down and pay attention and the words will just come of their own accord.
  • That’s not so easy.
  • What – ?
  • “Words will just come of their own accord.” That’s an act of faith on your part. Faith that if you begin the words will follow. The weight’s on you to begin, then it’s pretty much stay the hell out of the way. It can’t be the same experience each time you write, is it?
  • Now that you mention it, no.

In All Emotional Weather

It is beyond hard to write the book sometimes. It is as if the pages are on another planet and I am here. The distance between me and the act of writing can feel like a lifetime. Is it the subject matter? The fact it is a memoir and as such brings me face to face with things that are not always easy to face? All of the above? Perhaps.

The thing with writing is to do it in all emotional weather. If you have to walk to the store to get food, you will ultimately walk in any weather. Hunger is a harsh master. It is, I think, the same with writing. If you write, you write daily, in all weather. If you are waiting for those sunny days, those polished with color and light fall days, you won’t get much writing done.

I think too that writing is like breathing. For writers anyway. You have to do it. If the weather is bitter cold you may wrap a scarf around your face to warm the biting air, but you still breath. And so, maybe, when the emotions are cold and distant, scary, you bring a nice cup of tea to your worktable and begin the day’s work.

I am not so far from the end of this book, this memoir. And seeing the end approach saddens me. This morning I woke up in deep sadness, missing so many who have left the world, my family. Knowing I need to get to this worktable and have at it. Knowing that when this book is done I will in some way be saying goodbye again.

I am not looking forward to that. But I will keep breathing.