Miss Pelican's Perch

Looking at my World from a Different Place


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Z is for Ba-ZINGA!

Z is for Ba-ZINGA!   Thank goodness for Sheldon who popularized this expression.  It is the perfect statement of personal triumph.  I finished the A to Z Blogging Challenge and overcame a writer’s block!  Ba-ZINGA that, you Inner Critic!

In January, I was in the middle of a writer’s block so I started working through a creativity recovery program.  I did not finish the program because I realized a few things about myself as a writer:

First, I am not a novelist.  I am a blogger who likes to write short essays and fiction.   Second, I need an audience, and plugging along by myself on some novel that probably will never be published is a stupid waste of time.  Third, I will not make a living as a writer, so I cannot give up the day job.

These considerations I embraced and now I feel free to write to my heart’s content and spread it out in the blogosphere.

Thank you for joining me on this semi-autobiographical Wandering Journey through so many unrelated topics.   Someone commented that striving to be a polymath is an ambitious goal.  It was never about that.  It was about the journey.    I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did.

One more thing before I close this project:    Z is also for “zzzzzzzz.”  That is the sound I am now going to take for the next month or so as I take a little break.

My best to you all.

 

 

 

 

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My Barbaric Yawp

“Yawp” is one of those old words that does not come up in everyday conversation.   It means “to cry out” in a loud voice, and  is akin to the more modern word “yelp.”   Walt Whitman used the word in his poem Song of Myself:

“I too am not a bit tamed—I too am untranslatable;
I sound my barbaric yawp over the roofs of the world.”  (Verse 52)

Sometimes we all need to act a little untamed so that our true selves can burst forth with a mighty “yawp!”  When we break through creativity happens.

This “crying out” is illustrated in my favorite scene in one of my favorite movies

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Xochitl, Nahuatl and the Evolution of English

Xochitl is a girl’s name and means “flower” in the Nahuatl language.   Nahuatl is one of the indigenous languages of central Mexico and is spoken today by about 1.5 million people.

The name Xochitl is a bit uncommon, but there are plenty of other words in Nahuatl that we frequently use:  chili, chipotle, avocado, Aztec, tomato, jicama, chocolate, guacamole, coyote, mescal, and tequila.

I know I’m weird, but I enjoy studying the etymology of strange words that make their way into English.  Actually, what is English really but a conglomeration of words from other languages?   The breakdown of English is:  29% French, 28% Latin, 24% Anglo-Saxon/Germanic/Old Norse, and the rest from other languages around Europe.  Less than 1% come from outside of Europe right now.

As we become a more global society, it is fascinating to watch words from non-European cultures entering the language.

How will English evolve in the next 500 years?

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If I Had Lived in the Salem I Would Have Probably Been Hung as a Witch

I have an interest in the infamous Salem Witch Trials of 1692 because I had direct ancestors who live in that town at that time.*  As a result, I have done a lot of reading on the topic.

Aside from the genealogical connection, another reason I am intrigued with this historical event, and similar ones throughout the middle ages, is the question of why a certain segment of a population was so stigmatized that it resulted in executions or imprisonment.    From what I have read on the subject there are many things that those accused had in common:  most were single middle-aged women, were low on the social ladder, and had sharp wits and even sharper tongues.  And it did not matter if they might have been upright in their behavior and even helpful to their communities (quite a few were healers and herbalists).     There was something about such women that so disturbed the dominant strata of a community that they had to be removed.

Of course we know that the age of persecuting women who behave outside the box is not over, and that such persecution is no longer aimed at marginalized women.   Today powerful, mainstream women in the public eye are vilified when the speak out.  So powerful are their words that some have become rallying cries.  For example:   “Nevertheless, she persisted.”

And not just older women are being persecuted.  Young girls are shot and left to die or are kidnapped and sold into bondage simply because they want an education for themselves and other girls.

Women are sexually assaulted every day all over the world.   Powerful men, even some who have finagled supreme positions of leadership, have boasted of their part in such assaults.

No, the age of persecution is not over.   Will it ever be?

*I am pleased to say that in an act of defiance against the prevailing powers-that-were one of my ancestors stood up in defense of the Salem accused.

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Vintage

I came across a definition for the word “vintage” that appeals to me.  It went something like this:  vintage is anything that is too old to be modern and to new to be antique.

That’s how I feel sometimes.  I don’t think I am old yet, but I am sure as heck not young.   At one point a few years ago, I was a little ambivalent on the whole aging thing.  So on a significant birthday, I signed up for belly dance courses just to feel young again.  No, it didn’t really work.      Then, ten years later on another milestone birthday I decided to embrace my inner crone and let my dyed hair grow out silver.  I got a lot of grief for that, especially from a lot of other women with dyed hair.

But “vintage”…. that’s the ticket:  classy, useful, elegant, good lines and form (well, maybe for cars– but still..)

Yes, I will call myself “vintage”  because I am still young enough to experience life but old enough to know how to handle it.