Saturday, July 29, 2006

About...

   a month has passed since the concept of A Word A Day (in the UAE) hit the presses, so to speak, and a routine has become established. It might be useful to step back for a moment and comment upon what it is supposed to be all about.

First, a word about how the idea evolved. It started from a rather spontaneous, Internet-style Eureka moment. While browsing the net I happened upon a site called Hong Kong, One Photo A Day. The immediate thought that came to mind was, "What a great idea ...and so simple!" It seemed like something workable and at the same time interesting. "Why not a photo a day from the UAE," I thought.

Unfortunately, spending 4-5 days a week at a desert outpost where I work--where cameras are not permitted--a photo a day was not going to be a workable idea. "So, why not a word a day," I thought, and thus the concept was born.

Inspiration

I took off with the idea right away, but A Word A Day, it turns out, is not always that simple. I can only compose decent commentary if the word or thought is inspired. Ideally, when that moment of inspiration hits, I should be at a computer terminal with an Internet connection, and not preoccupied with anything else. Needless to say, it is more likely the planets and stars will line up before all those conditions are met. Relying on that moment of inspiration is the most challenging aspect of the effort.

Then, there is the fact that I must permit myself to be presumptuous enough to think that I, moi, can actually comment with credibility on whatever it is that comes to mind that day. There are things, for reason of personal experience and interest, that I am clearly more qualified to comment upon than others. But at the end of the day, I am afraid I have to be a bit presumptuous. That is, I suppose, part of what blogging is all about. Anyone can become his own authority and his own editor-in-chief.

So, full of presumption I set out each day to comment on a word. But if I may in all humility add, I endeavor to approach each topic with balance and perspective. What I attempt to convey is not only a personal viewpoint but also a position on the subject arrived at after some amount of thought and reflection.

Relevance

An additional challenge is to make certain that the inspired thought relates in some way to life in the UAE. That is one of A Word A Day's guiding principles.

On occasion, however, I may feel compelled to stray from that mission. A case in point was when I decided to take on the topic of religion. Not knowing how to publicly present personal thoughts on the subject without risk of offending local sensibilities, I set upon and completed my post with nary a mention of Islam or the UAE. Touché, for it is more than obvious that the two are of immediate relevance to the topic. That, however, must wait for another day, if not another place.

Writing

A final consideration has had to be the actual writing, the composition of the commentary. Putting pen to paper is not so much a challenge, figuratively speaking, that is. I am an English teacher with years--more than I care to admit--of telling learners what to say and how to say it. Interestingly, however, there is the occasional stickler, when I have to pause for just the right word. It usually isn't the sort of thing that one would need to look up in a dictionary or thesaurus. It is often that simple, everyday little thingy that the grammarian or linguist calls a preposition. Who would have thought that it could be getting the in's, of's, for's, by's and on's right that would be the most trying of tasks?

Closing Thought

Now, did I really ever answer the question of what A Word A Day (in the UAE) is all about? Not very succinctly, I suppose. In a few words, then, I would summarize:
It’s about taking an inspired thought about life in the UAE, expressing it in a word, and then expanding upon that idea in some detail.
That, in exactly 25 words, is A Word A Day (in the UAE).

732 words
Open a printable copy, in a new window.

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2 comments:

Lisi said...

Hi, Congratulations on the first month! I think the important thing is that you enjoy the process and the expressions through your blog. ;-)

BD said...

The good thing is I know I'll never run out of topics, even if I post 365 days of the year. There's always a word that conjures a few thoughts, even something as indescript as the word about.