What’s in a name? A rose by any other name would smell as sweet. We have two congressmen who are stuck with unfortunate surnames, John Boehner, Republican Speaker of the House, and Anthony Weiner, Democratic congressman from New York. Weiner is now, and will always be, known for tweeting a photo of his “weiner” to a female college student. As he now says, what a stupid thing to do. But think about what may have been his and John Boehner’s crosses to bear when they were boys and young men: John would have been unhappily called Boner, and Anthony called Weiner, just as it’s pronounced. No wonder he was compelled to send out photos of his penis. I also wonder when John will do the same.
In our present age of texting and tweeting, what will happen to writing for writing’s sake? I guess it will still be in the hands of our professional writers. But how sad for our young people who think a 140-character tweet or the uninspired shorthand of a text is the end all of clever conversation. David McCullough has this to say: “The loss of people writing—writing a composition, a letter or a report—is not just the loss for the record. It’s the loss of the process of working your thoughts out on paper, of having an idea that you would never have had if you weren’t [writing]. And that’s a handicap. People [I research] were writing letters every day. That was calisthenics for the brain.”
More on Sandford and his writing in the Prey series. “They were ten minutes off the expressway, in a neighborhood of tired yards. The postwar frame houses were crumbling from age, poor quality, and neglect: roofs were missing shingles, eaves showed patches of dry rot. In the dim illumination of the streetlights, they could see kids’ bikes dumped unceremoniously on the weedy lawns. The cars parked in the streets were exhausted hulks. Oil stains marked the driveways like Rorschachs of failure.” (p. 219, Shadow Prey) Nice, huh?