Monthly Archives: March 2012

midland


midland n. the middle part of a country

“It’s middle earth, you dumb ass…not midland earth,” she said with a mocking grin.

“But technically shouldn’t Tolkien have called it Midland Earth since it was in the middle of the country? Isn’t that really what he meant?,” I said trying to sound intelligent having never read any Tolkien.

“No, not at all. Tolkien used the term Middle Earth as a reflection of time in the earths history, not a physical place on the earth. If he meant the midland of earth it would have been somewhere in the Atlantic…the nearest country being Ghana”, she said matter-of-factly. “To clarify, the midland of North America would be Nebraska or Kansas, roughly.”

“Also the “midland” of nowhere,” I laughed. She smirked and giggled slightly with her face quickly returning to a serious expression underneath her horn rimmed glasses and ruddy face. We went on pulling out the lawn and staring down.

It was an unusual March. I say unusual because the seasons seemed to have mixed themselves up and instead of Lion marching in, the Lamb lounged in the unseasonable 70 degree heat. Short sleeves and flip flops abounded as we enjoyed the uncanny weather that hinted at the splendor the Spring and Summer had in store. School was out early for conferences and we sat on my front lawn tearing out the grass my father had toiled so hard to cultivate yet remained patchy nonetheless.

I never pretended to be smart nor did I want to be. If I could really be anything it would have been athletic or popular, by no means smart. Smart was for people like Agnes with her library of dog eared Tolkien stories and coke bottle glasses. I could have been smart. I had the genes…I just always strove for the unattainable…the intangible quality that I had no chance of attaining. So at the age of 12, I achieved a profound level of mediocrity striving to be something special. If mediocrity was a country, I most certainly would have been it’s midland…

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My Triumphant Return to Literacy


As I grow older it seems that my vocabulary and mastery of the English language grows younger. I increasingly find myself unable to speak intelligently or searching for words. Maybe this is due to too little reading and too much mindless television. Nonetheless, I came up with an idea to help me return to literacy.

The other day when I was walking past the library and listening to my iPod too loudly, I reminisced back to my college days as an English major and immediately remembered the OED. It was the gold standard of dictionaries for all references in college. Merriam Webster was just not up to snuff. Yet somehow I don’t own an OED…possibly because it is huge, possibly because the web has taken over the literary universe. So the idea for this blog was born. Today I am venturing out to the Barnes and Noble to purchase an OED of my own (OED stands for Oxford English Dictionary) and each day flip randomly with my eyes closed through the pages to pick out a word for the day. I have discovered that you cannot access the OED online without paying $30 a month for  and you can’t randomly find a word either. Buying the book is cheaper and I want my son to someday know what the original OED looked like.

Now here’s the big idea. Instead of just taking note of the word and memorizing it uselessly, or simply writing it down, I am going to force myself to use the word in a creative way on this blog. The idea is to create a short work of fiction with the word or perhaps even find a photo or video illustrating the word to help burn it into my memory. I am going to attempt to do this everyday for as long as I can…until I am less illiterate. Hence, OED a Day. Technically, it should be Word a Day or OED Word a Day. OED a day just had more pizzazz.

I don’t really care who reads the blog…it’s really for my own edification. However, if you want to read my posts and learn a word a day, by all means, join me. Even write your own examples or pieces that you come up with. Stay tuned for my first word!

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