1. 1.
    traveling from place to place, especially working or based in various places for relatively short periods.
    "the peripatetic nature of military life"
    synonyms:nomadic, itinerant, traveling, wandering, roving, roaming, migrant,migratory, unsettled
    "I could never get used to her peripatetic lifestyle"
  2. 2.
  1. 1.
    a person who travels from place to place.
  2. 2.
    an Aristotelian philosopher.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Al Dente Writing: To the Teeth or a Little Chewy?

Speckled Trout (Speck), October 30, 2010

Would you believe that it has been seven score and seven (147) years ago since Abraham Lincoln delivered the Gettysburg Address? I decided to keep track of important dates in history so I subscribe to and get daily e-mail updates. It's hard to believe that in this day and age--or any age for that matter--people could actually get writer's block and not be able to come up with something to write about. How is that possible? A fellow blogger and gardening mentor, TC, The Write Gardener, recently asked his faithful readers for some help with his problem of writer's block. Of course, he was referring to something very specific, which was coming up with 52 articles for a weekly gardening column in a newspaper. In case you haven't noticed, I don't write professionally, and I keep my blog open to many different topics. It's amazing that my gardening friends still like to visit here. I guess they don't hold it against me that I have a serious problem: too many ideas begging to be set free. And then there's the other problem of what form they will take. What subjects will they broach? (That's an interesting word, by the way) Politics? Nature? Fishing? Gardening? Even when I do settle on one topic--or more--the words I choose to describe it/them might seem a little chewy. Kind of like conch. It goes all over the place in your mouth but isn't easily swallowed.

I blame it--the writing, not the conch--on growing up with card catalogs in the library and an unabridged dictionary in the form of a book. I would start out looking at one thing and end up discovering something completely different. The Internet is okay, I guess, as a research tool, but it just isn't the same thing. Blogging is probably the next best thing to a card catalog. Take a look at my Blog List, and you will understand what I mean. Don't stop there, though. Take the time to read a few of the posts I've linked to (don't forget to leave comments) and then come back and read some more. Don't stop there. If you've already got a blog, link to the blogs you like. If you don't have one, what are you waiting for?

I don't normally look to Wikipedia for information about a subject, but this article is the most comprehensive and interesting one I've found about Lincoln's famous speech. He wrote it himself, and there are several different versions or drafts in existence, as well as firsthand accounts written down as the words were spoken. Just imagine: there were no recording devices available then besides a pen and paper. So much has changed and yet so little since those words came from the mouth of a famous Republican President. It wasn't so highly regarded then, as his political opponents were eager for him to be booted out of office. The Peace Democrats, known as "Copperheads," were deadset against the military draft that Lincoln had instituted earlier that year so that the fallen soldiers could be replaced with fresh ones. They wanted an end to the war and were willing to make concessions to the Confederacy to make it happen. Lincoln wrote and made that short and to the point speech to make it perfectly clear why our country was fighting the Civil War. I think he did a dandy job of it. It was most definitely "to the teeth."


  1. Loyalty is what I'm all about with visiting blogs-and it helps I've met you:) Plus, you always make me think with your intelligence and very excellent writing. I can now gain some insight as to where it came from.

    I heard a speech at garden club last night and the lady was talking of Lady Bird Johnson and noted that today's freshmen in college don't even remember the first Gulf War. Boy, did that make us all feel old and really really made me aware of how fast time passes. The fact Lincoln's speech is still known says a lot about it.

  2. I simply enjoy your variety! Oh, and I was weird...I kept a journal as a kid.

  3. I read an article in the paper yesterday about Lincoln's Gettsyburg Address which said he was disappointed with it and didn't think he'd written a good speech. Just shows that we often don't know the impact our words might have on others. Of course, the Address has to be one of the most eloquent and powerful messages ever delivered. It certainly beats the tripe we usually hear from politicians today (sorry, just couldn't resist that comment).

    W2W, I always love the way your mind wanders and the topics you come up with here. I seem to have focused more the last few months on gardening, and I'm always amazed that some of my regular non-gardening friends still come to visit:)

  4. Tina, you're about the most loyal blogger friend anyone could have. Thanks for all you do, especially as an encourager. It is sad that most young people don't take that much interest in history. Maybe it's because of the way it's presented in school. I don't have very fond memories of high school history class either. It probably shouldn't be a stand-alone subject. If subjects were taught together, say literature and history or math with history, students might realize that everything is interdependent. Who hasn't questioned "Why do I need to know this stuff? When am I ever going to use it in real life?" Applied learning is also key.

    Thanks, Julie. You're special to me too.

    I'm glad that you like it, Ciss B. Keeping a journal isn't weird. Being inconsistent with keeping one might be, which is what I did. Sometimes years would go by before I made another entry. It was like talking to myself, and I didn't enjoy it all that much. Blogging is way better.

    You're right, Rose. Whatever happened to the great orators? Lincoln may not have been very charismatic in his delivery, but he sure knew how to put those words together in just the right way.

    Thanks for always coming back for more of my mind wanderings. I do love your garden posts, but I'm hoping you'll do some more book reviews. Maybe now that the garden is asleep...

  5. Two things I noticed about this post are (1)ur interest in memorising historical dates. As far as I know, if people do not like history learning, thats jus because they dont want to keep the historical dates by-heart. in your case, its quite the contrary. (2) your loyalty to Abe Lincoln is revealed. I like him very much. His story is a beautiful lesson in history

  6. Indeed! You'd think I'd be posting to my blog daily! I reckon I'm a little like that conch you mentioned (never heard of it by the way).

    Have you seen the Geico commercial where Honest Abe is asked by Mary Todd if the dress she's wearin makes her butt look big? Too funny.

    But Lincoln's presidency wasn't much fun was it? I don't think any of them are. Do you? Are they supposed to be? At least a little?

  7. Mmmmm. Wondering if Write thinks it would have been possible to make history interesting? Yes yes.... I know BORING!

  8. Tomz, really I don't like memorizing dates. It was the main thing students were expected to do when I was growing up, and it's the main reason history was at the top of a short list of school subjects I didn't necessarily dislike but tolerated. Information stored in a database other than my memory ( reminds me of those dates now, and I couldn't be more pleased about it.

    I do like Lincoln. Though he wasn't very attractive or charismatic, he had some great features. Humility is probably the most outstanding one.

    TC, it's good to know I'm not the only chewy one out there. I haven't seen that commercial in a while. Maybe some history buffs were offended and requested its removal. As for Presidents being allowed some fun, I agree. As long as the fun doesn't become scandalous:)

    TB, of course history can be interesting. Like I said, it needs some help from other subjects like literature or music. One of my favorite recent college courses was about European history. The professor began each lecture with a musical composition from the time period being discussed that day. It set the mood and opened the mind to receive and process what he had to share with us.

  9. I'm the same way about writing, and thinking in general: I go with the flow. (But also try to stay on course.) Blogs are a good breeding ground for cultivating and refining ideas. Have a happy Thanksgiving! :^)

  10. Mr. S, of course you would go with the flow, being a hydrologist:) I think the reason why a blog provides such a great breeding ground for ideas is that exchange of thoughts that occurs in this very comment section. It's a pity that visitors don't use it more often. With all of the blogging going on, the world is still starving for conversation. We are fed so much information, well-intentioned it may be, that it's coming out of our ears, but meaningful discussions are few and far between. Thankfully, the people who have commented here are atypical of that trend.

    Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family!

  11. I love your high-fiber writing. Reading your words makes my dendrites branch and my synapses jump, and that is a very good thing.

  12. Dear Walk2write,
    your topics are so interesting and I like to read also the topics that are not connected with gardening! As you know, I splitted my blogs, but 3 in a week is sometimes too much, I feel - not the ideas, but the time one needs to write. I am looking forward for further posts of you, and thank you for your comments - and you are right: nice neighbours are really important!

  13. Beth, I sense a significant source of energy coming from your comment here--a lot of electricity going on amongst those dendrites and synapses. Thanks for the boost!

    Britta, your participation here as well as Beth's (reading and commenting) keep me blogging. I love connecting with people from all over the world and from close to my own backyard. We learn from and encourage each other. I couldn't ask for anything more.

  14. Why are you surprised your gardening friends still visit here? A good read is a good read.

  15. You are very kind, MBT. It's tough for me to blog about gardening right now since I don't have one on hand all the time. So for now, the blog will be the Forrest Gump-chocolate-box kind. Thanks for being a faithful reader.