Coherent

Coherent: (adj) a logical theory

A common weakness in those who take pen to paper (though there actually is no pen or paper anymore), who fancy themselves to be writers is the tendency to become exasperated with the reader when he or she pulls up mentally lame–incapable of grasping a deep point or drooling over a clever turn of words.

Actually, to become a good writer, you must “de-brat” yourself. In other words, have the brat removed without losing the childlike quality of simplifying human truth to concepts which are easily grasped. Therefore, don’t put too many steps in your process.

Yesterday I saw an article that advertised “31 Things to Do to Make Your Life Better.” I, for one, am overwhelmed with the notion of Baskin Robbins having thirty-one flavors, let alone remembering them in any sequential order.

Coherence also demands that we use understandable language instead of historical wording. Some words, phrases and ideas are dead. I don’t know if they will ever be resurrected, but presently they are stinking in a tomb.

Just don’t use them. Avoid getting angry with the populace because they’re unfamiliar with your jargon.

And being coherent certainly requires the grace to adjust your thinking when someone finds the flaw in your figuring. No matter how good you may think you are when putting together a respectable thesis, there will always be something you forget.

Rather than losing your cool over being challenged, warm yourself to the idea of learning from your mistakes.

Coherent is when smart meets flexible and they have a child called wisdom.

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Chapter

Chapter: (n) a division of a book

There are two reasons for being different–and there’s a symmetry to this.

Reason one is to make sure that you’re not the same.

Reason two is noticing that something is not as effective as it once was and deciding to evolve.

When I started writing books years ago, most of them were no more than pamphlets. They were desperately in need of editing because, like most ‘scribers,’ I overwrite. But I often did not edit them, being young, immature and contending that each word had a divine right for existence.

You see, that piece of difference was nothing but different. It wasn’t helpful, and sometimes my readers got caught up in the confusion of one of my sentences, and found themselves begging for a clause to rescue them.

But one thing I did accomplish was renaming the chapter. It had a long and storied history in literature, but it was ready for retirement. So I asked myself, what are people doing when they read a book? The answer came quickly. Normally, they’re sitting.

So I changed “Chapters” to “Sittings.”

It was a small thing, but I think folks found it endearing, and some other writers have since taken up the banner.

You see, it’s not that my new name is better than the old name.

Sometimes all that matters is that it’s new–instead of being so damn old.

 

 

 

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Chap

Chap: (n) A true gentleman

Writers are insane from spending too much time in their own brain–drunk on the intoxicant of finding new words to make great phrases.

Often in writing a story line, when you’ve used “he, man, guy and fellow” so many times that you know the reader must be gagging, you go to the Thesaurus and look for other terms for the same idea.

You often land on a word like “chap.”

No one actually refers to another person as “a chap.” Even in England, you probably would not find many people pointing at others and saying, “Now, there’s a fine chap.”

But in a pinch, a writer who wants to extend his story by one more paragraph and needs a variable to describe a male figure will insert the word “chap,” hoping that the person reading his or her novel will overlook it and move along to the next verb.

It is in that moment when you know the writer has run out of words before running out of ideas.

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Browse

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Browse: (v) to survey goods for sale in a leisurely and casual way.

Several years back, when I had just released a new book, my dear daughter-in-law set me up with a booth at a book-sellers convention in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.Dictionary B

I was excited about my new writings, so I leaped at the chance to go and share with others the stories I had put together, which in this particular case, had a Christmas theme.

I had never been at a book sellers convention before. So I was a little taken aback when I was just one of several hundred tables set up in rows, where people could amble by, peer at my book cover and then at me, to determine if they had any level of interest.

Yes. They referred to it as browsing.

I quickly learned that there were three different kinds of browsers:

There were a few souls who came to the convention legitimately interested in books–even possibly to the point of purchasing one.

There were many more authors, who came by my table to try to talk to me about their book, hoping that I would abandon my foolish cause of self-promotion and become enamored with their endeavor.

And then there were the professional browsers. These were people who hung around for a while. They picked up my book. They scanned it for a few minutes. Sometimes they even giggled, connoting that they had enjoyed something.

I foolishly tried to interject my feelings to engage them in conversation.

It was at that point that I realized they were hoping I would solicit their opinion, so they could calmly set my book down, smile at me, turn on their heel and walk away.

I fell for this about ten times, until I realized it was a game.

After that, when people came up to my table, unless they were determined to get my attention, I sat very still…acting like I was recovering from a stroke.

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Beatnik

Beatnik: (n) a young person in the 1950s and early 1960s belonging to a subculture associated with the beat generation.Dictionary B

Trends and fads have one thing in common: they have a commencement with no graduation, also having a beginning minus destination. For that reason, it’s difficult to assess their genesis, or comprehend their exodus.

But if you take a moment and think about it, every movement goes through three stages:

  1. Purity
  2. Parity
  3. Paltry

Our new ideas often begin with purity.

Like beatniks.

I believe the purpose of such a social awakening was to become more introspective and discover our inner selves and how we relate to the world around us.

Quite noble.

But for an idea to become popular, you have to be able to market it without promoting its more cerebral aspects. So eventually the beatnik generation sought parity by wearing black berets and turtlenecks. It was an easy way to identify a fellow beatnik.

Yes, often our greatest movements are shrunken to a simple fashion statement.

Then, once they became tired of wearing their costumes, they decided to just maintain the angst. Thus, the 1960s and 1970s.

We ended up with a paltry representation of self-realization–actually merely an adolescent temper tantrum to anything our parents did.

After all, there would have been no objection to the war in Vietnam if there weren’t a draft blowing young men into military service.

So how is it possible to keep the purity without insisting on parity and ending up with paltry?

I don’t know.

But I think it is the job of writers, who detour their material through the brain, to insist on considering such idealism.

 

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