My World of Words

I’ve been looking for a forum to offer up my wisdom on writing and editing for a long time. Now that I have one, I’m not quite sure where to start.

So I guess I’ll try beginning at the beginning—or close to it. My mother tells me that long before I could read my favorite objects were books; I would beg not for toys or candy but a new Little Golden Book displayed near the checkout counter at the grocery store. My grandmother used to marvel at how long I would sit still while thumbing through her stacks of Reader’s Digest, wondering why I would choose to look at page after page of text when I couldn’t read a word of it.

Books became even more precious to me when I did learn to read, and I was rarely found without one. I learned to do many things while holding a book so that I didn’t have to interrupt my imagined adventures for mundane tasks like brushing my teeth or tying my shoes.

I chose a career in journalism and was thrilled to experience first-hand the power of words to inform, encourage, frighten and confuse. I loved the work but eventually discovered that I could not comfortably reconcile the demands of daily newspapers with the demands of a growing family.

Reluctantly leaving the newsroom, I was excited to find other ways I could engage in word work, and I have followed many such paths. Language continues to fascinate me, and I can find the same kind of delight in a well-crafted sentence as I do in a delicate flower or sunset-streaked sky.

I hope that I can craft a few such sentences to share in this space in the days to come.

January 5, 2011

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Tammy Ditmore edited my book, The Quest for Distinction: Pepperdine University in the 20th Century. It was a huge assignment, requiring skills that set her apart from most professional editors. She re… Read more
W. David Baird, Dean Emeritus of Seaver College, Pepperdine University

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