A Herd of Words

One of the wild ideas I’m working on is shaping a section of my doctoral dissertation. I wrote on frivolity, and the point of pointlessness (because, dissertation in mythology!). My dissertation was a wild idea itself, in many ways. I was both embracing and whacking away at the ideas of academic seriousness. As a result, I included a variety of elements you don’t usually find in dissertations. My thesis advisor convinced me that a ‘fun with footnotes’ section was too much. As was the game where you write messages on random pages like you did when you were bored in biology class in 8th grade.  But I did get away with a cartoon. A section on doodling. A ritual. And a rather ridiculous little dictionary.

It’s called A Herd of Words: Frivolous and Frivolously Defined. Its subtitle, because I adore long wordy Victorian flourishing subtitles: A Dictionary Designed for the Greater Justification, Propagation, and Enjoyment of Frivolity. 

It’s a collection of words that spangle with frivolity, lightness, and more than a bit of silliness. With definitions in rhyme, doggerel, and flippant twist.

I find words intoxicating, and unveiling etymology is an extraordinary process of looking into the mythic, archetypal bones of the word. Words can speak to us in such deep ways. They open up our imaginations as we roll them around on our tongues, remembering their original flavors.

I’ve been working on creating a book from this section of my dissertation, with marvelously odd historic illustrations. I figured I’d begin to share some of the images with the world as I muddle around (a bit aimlessly, as, after all, I’m playing in the land of frivolity here)… Book design as therapy rather than Gottado.

Enjoy this sample of a herd of words.

I’ll be sharing more as I get the book ready for publication. Look for them on Pinterest as well as I work to tame that particular social media beast… But in the meantime, the frivolous revolution has begun! Vive la frivolution!