Friday, March 29

More words on words from Nan and Liz

Continued from our conversation in Nan's post on Tuesday...

Back to you, Liz...

Thanks, Nan. We’re just a pair of etymological losers, aren’t we?

Photo by Bruce Clark
I haven’t played Scrabble in years. I know a couple in Washington—hey, Cathy and Bruce!—who play Scrabble and have made it into a science. If either of them ever offers to let me play, I’m going to run far and fast the other way!

Speaking of words—which we’ve been doing for quite a while now—a new attendee at the Black Dog Writers group in Logansport, IN used a phrase in a song last night that has been in my head ever since he sang it. Tom Blackford’s a former pastor and within the lyrics of the song were the words “underneath the steeple.”

It’s made me think of phrases or even full sentences that I love or just remember. Some of my own, like “You don’t grow old without having lost…” Some like Marmee’s “Don’t let the sun go down upon your anger. Forgive each other. Begin again tomorrow.” Some like the infamous “Love means never having to say you’re sorry.” What kind of BS is that? Doesn’t matter—it’s still an ongoing earworm.

So, what phrases stick in your mind, Nan? Go ahead and look them up—your memory’s no better than mine is! 😊

Nan here again...

Hmmmm, good question. For some reason, all I can think of off the top of my head is my friend Dee telling me once that someone was “meaner than a striped (pronounced stripe-ed) snake.” And my mom saying, long before any other famous TV psychologist ever said it, “How’s that workin’ out for ya?”

Words that stick with me and warm me every time I hear them? ee cummings’s “i carry your heart with me (i carry it in my heart).” Man, I love that. And so many of Anne Shirley’s words are golden, like “Tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it... Yet.”

Your quote, “Love means never having to say you’re sorry...” always makes me giggle and think of Peter Bogdanovich's screwball comedy, which happens to be one of Husband and my very favorite old movies, What's Up, Doc? When Barbra Streisand quotes the line to Ryan O’Neal, he retorts, "That's the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard."

I adore just about everything Dorothy Parker ever said or wrote: “I don't know much about being a millionaire, but I'll bet I'd be darling at it.” Amen to that, Dot! And something I’ve said in my own head at least a million times since we started this whole decluttering, sorting, packing, moving thing, “What fresh hell is this?”

We could do this all day, I’m sure, but we’d probably better wrap it up, so why don’t do that with some words about writing ... you know, words about words. Author Terry Pratchett says, “The first draft is you just telling yourself the story.” How true is that? And my last words come from AA Milne: “It is more fun to talk with someone who doesn't use long, difficult words but rather short, easy words, like 'What about lunch?”

Wrap us up, Lizzie! (Oh, and what do you say? How about lunch?)

Liz, on the flip side…

Oh, gosh, Dorothy Parker--her voice was a gift to all of us, wasn't it? I'd have loved to have been at that table at the Algonquin!

Words about words...hmm. Okay, back to Louisa May Alcott. “I like good strong words that mean something…” And from Anne Shirley, "...a Jonah day..." And my forever favorite from Milne, “What day is it?” asked Pooh. 
“It’s today,” squeaked Piglet. “My favorite day,” said Pooh.” Even Jonah days can become your favorites if you work at it. :-)

Okay, wrapping us up! And yes to lunch! Any other Wranglers want to continue the conversation? We’ll hold the table for you.

In case anyone was ever curious about Nan’s and my writing
retreats, this was pretty much it. Oh, minus the wine. We usually have that, too. And food.

Speaking of words, mine for this year was try. It has been a good one so far. I seem to be beating up on myself less for failure because I am still trying. If you chose a word, I hope it’s working out for you, too. If not, give thought to the words that are your favorites, that speak to you in more than one way, and hold them close.

Have a great day. See you next time!


  1. Last night we introduced our 7-year-old grandson to the game. He didn't win but did an amazing job of holding his own, far better than I would have ever done at that age.

    And while we do pretty good at Scrabble, you can note that my math sometimes suffers :-)

  2. no magic word for the year, but persevere would be a good one for me


  3. So many things I want to say. First of all, Scrabble always reminds me of my sweet mother-in-law. She used to kick our butts at Scrabble because she knew all those weird little words in the Scrabble dictionary that were worth a bunch of points.

    Liz's phrase "You don't get through life without having lost" took me way back. When they were 18, my brother and my cousin were in a car accident. There was a fire and my cousin was burned. He carries the scars to this day. I remember an aunt of his saying "You don't get through life without a few scars" and it's a phrase that has stayed with me. As I got older I realized those scars could be on the outside or on the inside.

    My word last year was determination and I think I choose it again for this year (I'm going to have to check our posts!) But whether I formally choose determination as my word or not, it's definitely one I feel. I'm nearing the end of the first draft of my WIP and the pieces are finally starting to fall into place. I'm determined to make that happen!

    1. Oh, and "Love means never having to say you're sorry" is the stupidest thing I've ever heard. The people you love are the ones you should apologize to! And Ryan O'Neil probably thought it was dumb because it was the big catch phrase in the movie "Love Story" that he starred in with Ali McGraw.

  4. Thanks for joining the conversation, Jana! Yeah, that was the big thing in “Love Story,” which I actually loved other than that and it’s sucky ending!

  5. Yeah, the whole heroine dying thing really put a damper on the movie!