I think my love affair with words began with the first story my mother read to me. Okay, maybe not quite that far back, but she is responsible for planting the seed. No matter how many times I heard the same story the words were always magical. Friday or Saturday nights were for snuggling in together with a chapter book. She would read a chapter or two, pausing to make sure I understood big or strange words. With an actor’s skill she wove magic, gave the characters voices and expressions and emotion, all the nuances that were embedded in rich vocabulary.
What is the point of my trip down memory lane? Bear with me I’m going to rant just a bit.
Why would any modern day author be required to simplify language before a book will be published? I understand that we live in an age that is geared toward keeping things more streamlined. Our society values the quick and easy. I’m busy, you’re busy, things are hectic and there are never enough hours in the day. Okay for a lot of things but I don’t agree that it applies in this instance.
Whether reading books or writing them, every individual brings something to the experience; a yearning for adventure or an inclination to solve a mystery. For others it is a longing for great romance, complete with the requisite: Happily Ever After. Think about what makes one book an easy beach read you set down and pick up over the course of a few days, and the next book one you stay up into the wee hours of the night to finish. What takes a generic boy meets girl story from syrupy drama to epic romance? It is all in finding the right combination of characters, plot, drama, and words. Yes, words. Big and small, inventive and enticing, it is the diversity of words that enrich the story.
With the emergence of eReaders I don’t see a compelling reason for authors to be asked to simplify vocabulary. It only takes a moment to tap on an unfamiliar word and learn it’s meaning through the embedded dictionary/thesaurus. Why miss an opportunity to elevate the experience, to refine the meaning and emotion?
What do you think? Am I alone in my quest or does it matter to other readers?
As for me, I intend to keep reading, and writing, with my dictionary and thesaurus at the ready.
Seriously, there’s an app for that 🙂