The E-T-Z of writing

The fact that there are 26 letters in the alphabet is probably something I learned shortly after the loss of my baby teeth. And it’s not a fact I revisit very often, despite needing and using those 26 letters every day to formulate my up to 20 000 words. Yes, it has apparently been scientifically proven (by counting?) that on a daily basis women speak up to 13 000 words more than the average of 7 000 imparted into the world by men… plus I know a few of us who are more than happy to use up the unused daily rations of some of those strong, silent types out there.

The two most commonly used words are ‘the’ and ‘be’ with ‘and’ coming in at number five, although I’m sure I use more of those than the ‘be’s. The letter most commonly used out of the 26 that we have on offer is the letter E, next up is the T, with Z being the least frequent we use of our A-B-Cs.

While I was checking my alphabet facts online I came across some other interesting titbits of information. I must admit that if I was ever taught this, I either had an incredibly poor teacher or an incredibly poor attention span, and, as my parents pride themselves on having afforded us a good education, I’m going to go with the latter…

Did you know that another more formal word for lower case letters is ‘miniscule’ and for upper case letters is ‘majuscule’? Generally in orthography, which is a set of standards on how to write a language (to which I must admit to never fully adhering to), majuscule words are generally preserved for special purposes. I just love this word! Majuscule just rolls off the tongue and sounds so incredibly majestic, doesn’t it? And in keeping with the definition of majestic, I believe that less majuscule, is definitely more. A sentence should never look like the Joburg CBD, or the Manhattan skyline.

Hoping to find some more interesting titbits I enter the word ‘alphabet’ into the search engine, and lo and behold… this news headline from three days ago comes up: Google (aka Alphabet) Is About to Surpass Apple as the Most Valuable Company In the Galaxy. Goodness, so now you see the incredible value in the alphabet! And Google obviously knows what to do with it too!

Having 26 letters in the alphabet, and general rules on writing to work with, are definitely enablers but bringing those words to life doesn’t always come easy. Sometimes they flow naturally; sometimes they are petulant and you find yourself on the receiving end of some serious silent treatment; sometimes there are just too many spinning around in your head and you are spoilt for choice; and sometimes those final few words mysteriously go missing just like that last puzzle piece… But boy when you find them, and step back from a completed project, the sense of satisfaction and sometimes real joy is worth all of that writing angst.

Yesterday morning my sister Vera sent our family WhatsApp group a poem she had written, and if you write in any form, I am sure that it will speak to you too. 

Poetic Persecution

Don’t think you can
just walk away
And leave us here
Attached to the page

We have our rights
We are individual ideas
And you have pegged us together,
Concept Conflater!

Sift through this heap,
Separate and categorise,
Divide and conquer,
Clear your thoughts.

We claim more territory,
We demand separate
Each word his own.

we promise
to let you breathe

there will be others.

Yes, sometimes words can be a bit high maintenance, but I definitely intend to continue my pursuit of them.



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