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Archive for January 4, 2021

Jan. 4, 2021 — A hard confession for a journalist

My dear readers, I have made my living in the written word, mostly from my decade or so writing for a daily newspaper, as well as nearly a quarter-century on this website.

In my years of writing, reading, and editing stories, articles, and blog entries, I have done so with a keen eye for detail. I recoil whenever someone leaves the space out from between the words “a” and “lot” to create the error “alot.” I also get internal alarm bells whenever I see someone print the word “definately” instead of “definitely.”

But if there’s one thing that I’ve been finding out in terms of my own journey to self-improvement, it’s that there are certain words with which I have trouble.

One is the spelling of a certain city in Arizona, which I always seem to want to spell “Tuscon” rather than “Tucson.” A friend of mine, an actual Tucsonian, she offers the advice to mispronounce the city name as “Tuck-son” in order to be able to get the spelling correct.

But the other two are words that I seem to have problems conjuring up in the correct context. For years, the word “fulfillment,” as in “fulfillment company,” has been hidden behind some kind of mental block in my own mind. If I was writing about fulfilling a need, I was fine. But if I wanted to describe the company that you send boxtops or proofs of purchase to in order to receive a small prize or a gift card, I was sometimes lost for a few minutes while I tried to find the word.

Another word I have trouble with is the word “whimsical.” Whenever I have to describe something with fanciful flourishes or details associated with it, I cannot seem to be able to come up with the word “whimsical.” For some reason, my mind starts going into disassociation when it comes to the word. I first start thinking about those windmills shaped like geese that are stuck into a home garden, then I get to the word “whirligigs.” Only then do I start getting to the word “whimsy,” which then associates to “whimsical.”

For the last few years, I’ve had the words “whimsical” and “fulfillment” printed in large letters, tacked on a wall in my office. It’s not only a visual reminder of what these words are, but it’s also a reminder that, despite my training and experience, that I’m not always perfect.

It’s something we all should realize, and something from which we all can grow.