Monday, March 19, 2012

Talking and writing

Andrew Gelman wonders why no one exclaims with a ‘Why!’ anymore. I concur that it mostly has to do with talking versus writing. Likewise, I would write ‘concur’ but would say ‘agree’. One word that has been striking me in the face is raconteur. I first encountered this in Emily Fox Gordon’s Book of Days: Personal essays. She points out that these aren’t memoirs or autobiography and again, I concur. I enjoyed them and I can see why they won’t work as blog posts since there are many blog posts that can work as personal essays as well, especially those in Happiness Project.

For instance, at a wedding she congratulates a relative for being such an excellent raconteur. It would be a strange to say to someone, “Excellent raconteuring, dude!”

I encountered the word again in Roger Lowenstein’s When Genius Failed although I thought the word was overused. At least twice he described someone as a raconteur. Another tired phrase in the book was ‘swing for the fences’.

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