The Magical Power of Words, Holiday Edition

I’m swamped by a bunch of behind-the-scenes stuff now, so I’m going to keep this blog post short and sweet. And I’ll be back again next Friday with a bonus post you don’t want to miss. Mwah-ha-hah!

Without being too precious about it (although I did say sweet), reading and writing—the conjuring and sharing of worlds that otherwise wouldn’t exist—have always felt magical to me. Of course I’m not alone. If you’re looking for a satisfying way to pass as much time as you’re willing to spare, just google quotes about  the magical power of words. I’ll limit myself to one that caught my eye in my Twitter feed earlier this week and has lodged in my mind: from Neil Gaiman’s lovely The Ocean at the End of the Lane, “I lived in books more than I lived anywhere else.”

Cover of The Lost Words by Robert MacFarlane and Jackie MorrisIn that vein, I wanted to share a couple of gifts I received from my husband (my own Merlin) this Christmas. First, The Lost Words by Robert McFarlane and Jackie Morris made it all the way to Hawaii from the U.K. in time for Christmas. So why are they lost words?

I recently shared a fun site on Facebook that lists words that were added to the Merriam-Webster dictionary by year, say the year of your birth. But that process goes both ways, with many concise or abridged dictionaries eliminating words to make room for new ones. The 2007 edition of the Oxford Junior Dictionary dropped a few dozen words about nature that children were no longer using. This book is an effort to bring back those words and our connection with the world they evoke. In fact, its full title is, The Lost Words, A Spell Book. The illustrations are gilded and gorgeous, and it’s worth buying a new coffee table to display it! You can see a few of them and read an interesting interview with the writer and illustrator here.

A skeleton key on a chain, resting on a copy of Prodigal, by Judy K. WalkerNow for the second gift I alluded to, but in the way of literary magic it won’t mean anything to you if you haven’t read the book it’s resting upon. If you have, your eyes may have lit up as much as mine did. I’m afraid it’s not something you’ll find for sale on my Merch Page. My husband went old school and tracked the key down through an architectural supply company. I should add that the key is heavier than it looks, which might explain why Adam is always getting into trouble… he can’t lift his head to see it coming. 😉