I was looking through a dangerous book, one that, once you begin perusing, can entangle your brain with concepts. On a hot August afternoon with nothing better to do, this book consumed me — A Book of Lists — a compilation of how we organize things, animals, and ideas into tidy lists to control them. It was the 90s edition of how we recall our lives through TV, art, science, special events, compiled by David Wallenchinsky and Amy Wallace. No one wants to get absolutely lost in a book, but then again, writers are known to open a thesaurus and not be heard from for days.
The fascinating flip through hundreds of pages exhumes many ideas that could be construed by most readers as trivial blather. Some might even think these collections are bookshelf-worthy of all authors. Maybe so.
What got me thinking was not so much how we classify and arrange our environment but how we classify ourselves. Just in the early minutes of diving in, I noticed that authors don’t really have a phylum, or class, or whatever. Authors are what they seem in the literary world as, well, just authors. But that didn’t satisfy my curiosity. Sure we have genres, but what if we cross pollinate?
Digging deeper and finding some delicious diatribe, I came across groups for authors that I hadn’t heard before. Continue reading and see if you fall into one of these categories.
A chatter: meaning that we are consistently able to say much without really giving much thought? A scribe of writers: meaning that we are proffered to the pedestal of influence that so few attain? An alliteration: I rather like this one since you must know what the term alliteration means before you can become convincing contained within it. A clique: rather tacky and low-life use of the word to gather in a group that doesn’t necessarily have any cohesiveness but shares something in common. A context of writers: now this one is clever if used in the right, um, context. Avant garde: this title implies a hierarchy of creative minds tittering over tea sipped from china cups of the Parisian bourgeoisie. A compendium of authors: this doesn’t quite hit the nail with its alluding to writers offering summary, epitome, or abridgment to their writings, when everyone knows we, authors, avoid anything short — unless it’s a “55 Word Flash Fiction” challenge.
And then we have these other attempts to corral our character into mundane word groups like “a society of writers,” “a concept of writers,” “wordmeisters” and ” wordsmiths.” Then we need to pay attention to the etymology of new words in our industry such as “a blog of authors,” “a bloggery of writers,” and even a “blogosphere.” Then let’s toss in SME — subject matter expert.
Setting aside the Book of Lists, I thought what might a legend of wordsmithery aspire to qualify a group title? Slipping into the tomes of wordsmiths such as Shakespeare, I couldn’t help but look up what he thought of authors. And to my interest, I found adjectives in his own compendium like “creator,” “originator,” “authority,” but to my dismay were “instigator,” “source,” and “informant.” Really?
I do think it’s high-time we stand together and create the perfect name for our universal group of evolutionary authors … something otherwordly … something singlugantuan … a word comprised of aspiration, creativity, and history brought down through the ages into a slurry of suffrage and angst, from closet writers to nobelists, from traditional to self-published, from dreary nights in a log cabin to micro-bites caught in a subway. Please, let me try.
We are “uniwordopubliangsts.”
Oh, to have a name or classification all our own. We’ve earned as much.