I admit it - I’m addicted to words. I collect them like seashells, picking them up and stashing them in my electronic pocket for safekeeping. One day I’ll have time to bring them all out, spread them on my desk, and listen to the lovely cacophony. Some day.
For now, I enjoy them as they appear on my laptop’s screen. Yesterday it was “blurb.” Writers and those in publishing use it all the time. Eavesdrop on author conversations and you’ll hear things like, “You got Laura Lippman to blurb your book? Wow!” Translation: The very talented and elegant author of award-winning mysteries, Laura Lippman, has written a laudatory description for the cover of that lucky author’s book. Blurbs help sell books, and snagging a top name is a coup.
I always assumed blurb was a shortened version of some other word, much as “blog” is short of “web log.” But yesterday I learned it was made up by author Gelett Burgess. He defined it as “self-praise; to make a noise like a publisher.” Burgess wrote many fiction and non-fiction books, but was best known – to his dismay – for the “Purple Cow” poem.
If you’re a word lover you may have heard or read The Writer’s Almanac with Garrison Keillor. I was delighted to learn you can get it delivered every day to your desktop, complete with gems like “blurb.”
And then there’s “susurration”….