Monday, June 20, 2011

Words



“I need this dictionary like I need another hole in my head.”

“Yes, but it’s in perfect condition.”




Webster, James, and Williams

[click to enlarge]






22 comments:

erin said...

and to think i believed dictionaries filled those holes in the head.

xo
erin

William Michaelian said...

They fill the smaller ones, certainly. At the moment I’m concerned about the hole where my head used to be.

Tess Kincaid said...

That is one deliciously fat dictionary, the kind meant for browsing slowly, stretched out on the floor.

Conrad DiDiodato said...

Ah, Henry James

I think I've read everything he's written (though the temptation to give up mid-way thru "The Golden Bowl" was overwhelming at times)

William Michaelian said...

That it is, Tess. And to serve as an anchor for this wayward ship of words.

Conrad: Sometimes, in our defeat, we prove ourselves better than our adversary.

Old 333 said...

I love dictionaries. Everyone needs at least five, and none of them should ever be a Scrabble dictionary, because those are full of bunkum and festooned with errors.

William Michaelian said...

Peter, I count fifteen dictionaries in this room, and some are in languages I can’t even read. Well, I mean, as they were intended.

Hard-scrabble farmers.

Aleksandra said...

Wehehehehe :D Good for you!! I got myself on secondhand book market a set of Chinese dictionaries, have no clue which of Chinese languages but I thought it would come handy one day ....nice photo William!

William Michaelian said...

Thank you! Chinese? Then you will enjoy the photo in this entry, I’m sure....

nouvelles couleurs - vienna atelier said...

a tresoure

William Michaelian said...

Hello, Laura. Yes, and so is the painting behind them....

Aleksandra said...

Indeed! I enjoyed it very much! :)

Gary B. Fitzgerald said...

.

I Am

I was showing off my brand new
old unabridged dictionary, huge,
nearly two hands thick.
Over fifty years old. Paid two dollars
at a garage sale up in town.
We all agreed that a ‘51 UD was worth at least
a couple of bucks, but what the hell for?
Who needs that many useless obsolete words?

I said nothing is more important than words.
They teach us and nurture and lead.
They led us to civilization, right?
And what was it that God said
about words?

William Michaelian said...

Still Life

This old dictionary,
in full bloom
on my work table.

A petal falls:
solitude, noun.


*

Thanks, Gary.

Gary B. Fitzgerald said...

Beautiful! You're the best, WM.

Sincerely,
Johnny Appleseed.

:-)

William Michaelian said...

That just earned you a slice of pie, my friend.

Two Tigers said...

William you are one who knows so well that words carry weight - and the weight of words is nowhere better appreciated than in an absurdly and beautifully large dictionary! It cannot be belittled, it cannot be denied, it must be touched - and those insets for the letter divisions are like natural handholds or footholds in the face of a mountain as we climb...that serious, that necessary, that uplifting.

William Michaelian said...

Even as a kid, Gabriella, I was fascinated by those handholds and footholds. I first encountered them at the old Carnegie library in my hometown — on a stand right next to the card catalogue, which is another of my favorite book-and-word-related things. And everything you say about it is true, right down to its glorious absurdity and its very command of a room. While every book is worthy of admiration, not all of them demand to be opened the way a dictionary does. Such wealth and abundance.

Two Tigers said...

And now I have an image of every library I have ever visited that featured just such an imposing bookstand with an oversized dictionary lying open on it - a book so heavy one cannot be expected to lift it and carry it away - one must seek and approach it and stand before it and CONSULT it. I remember the feeling of reverence, of answers sought and given!

William Michaelian said...

The hush — oh, yes. There’s a stand and an open dictionary on the top shelf of my mother’s bookcase. We’d be sitting and talking and a word would come up that we’d have to check on, and of course that led to a discussion of its neighbors on the page and the one across from it. Another thing I like about these massive books is their encyclopedic illustrations. The older the dictionary, the more intriguing the images. Well, then! A deep breath now. Ahhhh......

Stickup Artist said...

Kind of off topic, but we usually say I need another fill in the blank, like a need a hole in my head. You said "another hole" in my head. I just found that extremely funny! Anyway, I'm sure the illustrations, probably pen and ink, are amazing...

William Michaelian said...

Now it’s my turn to laugh. In my family, we’ve always said “another hole.” No doubt this indicates our true mental state and why we’re so proud of it.