Word Nerd Wednesday: The Place You Call Home

It’s Wednesday! That means the end of the week is in sight. All we have to do is hold on a little longer. And that also means it’s Word Nerd Wednesday! Today’s story is about a woman named Jennifer.

Jennifer grew up in a town she loved, a place called Demick, and she makes an effort to return often. She visits old friends, gets ice cream from her favorite shop, and visits all her favorites spots. But the one thing she loves the most about her hometown is the sunflowers everywhere she turns. It’s something Jennifer always imagines when she thinks about home: the sunflowers that grow in Demick.

“In Demick” = endemic (in-DIM-ick), meaning indigenous or characteristic of a certain area, either a physical region or a specific industry/field. It can refer to native plants/animals or describe diseases or other negative conditions plaguing a specific area, population, or field of study.

These endemic traits are particularly important to writers. When we write about a location or subject, we’re stepping into a very specific culture. And it is our responsibility to capture both the positive and negative characteristics respectfully and tactfully.

I grew up in NC, and I’ve personally experienced the powerful hurricanes that are endemic to the region. They’re part of the fabric of life there, but they also cause a lot of destruction and claim lives. Someone else who’s never seen the aftermath up close probably wouldn’t be able to capture it in the way I can.

It’s really the only time I actually like the tired adage “write what you know.” When it comes to capturing the nuanced traits of your specific culture, region, or career, who knows it better than you? So if you’re a writer, own your story and write about that place you call home.

Word Nerd Wednesday: That’s Fake News

Happy Word Nerd Wednesday! Fall has come in swinging here in Virginia and I’m loving it. Somehow cooler weather makes everything seem better, doesn’t it? Maybe that’s just me. Moving right along . . .

Today’s word nerd story story is about a high schooler named Calum. Calum has been known to get into a bit of trouble occasionally, especially with his best friend, Yate. The two are as thick as thieves, as they say. And one day, neither of them is at school. The rumors start flying.

“I heard they stole a car and took off for Mexico,” one student says.

“My brother knows someone at the police department and he says they got arrested for dealing drugs,” another student asserts.

On and on, the rumors fly, about exactly what kind of trouble Calum and Yate have gotten themselves into now.

To create rumors about “Calum ‘n Yate” = calumniate (kuh-LUM-nee-ate), which means to slander or defame. No doubt you’re familiar with the concept, even if the word is new to you. Calumniating is as old as time, a weapon of manipulation and control, and it’s become a regular political tactic these days.

Like C.H. Spurgeon said, “A lie will go round the world while truth is pulling its boots on.” If some piece of negative information flies fast and spreads quickly, be wary: it may be the result of some crafty calumniating.