Author: Campbell, Bruce

Thoughts on Campouts, Jamming and Words

Letís see, what shall I write about? Whatís on my mind? More aptly Ė whatís on my mind that I can tell the rest of the world about?

Well, the campout this weekend is on my mind. I am looking forward to heading out to Turlock and enjoying the company of extended CBA family. If youíre reading this, youíre in that family, and I hope to have a chance to say hello and pick some music with you.

I must confess I still have jam anxieties. How will I fit in? Will people let me jam with them? If they do, will I do a good job? Can I help the jam really soar? Will I call all the same tunes as last year, and will someone bring that to my attention? I donít know why I worry about this stuff. My jam experiences have ranged from the transcendental to the merely banal, and never actually approached the humiliation I dread. I fret, therefore I am.

I had a rough day today. I discovered I sent out an e-mail and used the possessive pronoun ďtheirĒ when I meant to use the contraction ďtheyíreĒ. I have met the enemy, and it is me. I had an English teacher in high school (name of Mrs. Cox) who would give an instant F to any paper that mixed up their/theyíre/there or itís/its. She emphasized creative writing over grammar and rules, but she was deadly serious about that instant F. I know. I got one.

I heard a guy on the radio this morning and he said that the English language is up to a million words now Ė far more than any other language. Since most folks only use 7000 or so, it may seem like a waste. Why should there be a dozen choices of words for every thing, action or description? Iíll tell you why: shades of meaning, euphonious rhythms and nuance.

No one knows all million words of course. But if you can learn an extra thousand or two, think how precisely you can express yourself. Think how you can make your own communications sing, whether written or spoken (or even Twittered).
Letís face it Ė you donít even NEED the 7000 word average. You could get by on quite a bit less. But how many ways can you feel? How many moods can you have? How cathartic is it to express an opinion in a way that conveys exactly how you feel, in a way that reveals a certain amount to casual listeners, but a great deal more to careful listeners?

But I fear I am becoming too prolix, loquacious, pedantic or verbose. To each his or her own, I say. Use words to communicate, not to confuse, mislead, evade or obfuscate. Defuse, donít inflame. Propose, rather than dispose. Make love not war. Letís pick and sing up a storm this weekend, and may that be the only storm visible on the horizon. Just donít tell me I sang the same songs last year!

Posted:  4/14/2010

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