Six LDS Writers and A Frog

Friday, January 04, 2008

Allee, Allee, In-Come-Free!

Hellooooo? Anybodeeee out there?

I just got back to the Frog Blog bog after a couple weeks of craziness elsewhere and, wow, the place is practically deserted. There's a terrific piece of Christmas rhyme tacked to a tree, and a few rather frightening factoids blowing around in the reeds, but that's it. Where is everybody? You didn't all move on to greener pastures (maybe someplace with four LDS writers and a cow?) and forget to memo Jeff and me, did you?

Carrying on as if someone is here to care: when last I left the Frog Blog, I offered a free book to the commenter with the best true Christmas story. As usual, you folk absolutely amazed me! More than one of the pieces made me cry. Since there was no way I could choose by merit (they were all just wonderful) I grabbed up a few slips of that stray paper I mentioned, wrote a name on the back of each, and drew a winner. That winner is: Allyson Condie, one of the writers who made me cry. Hers is a beautiful story -- I hope you didn't miss it! Allyson, choose a book from the right side of the page (any author) and then write to me at I'll see that you get it. Thanks to everybody who sent in a story! I've read them all (three or four times!) and saved them to savor again in the coming years.

Now, instead of the blog I was going to write today, I've just got to share with you something I got from my son yesterday. Scott is in the Army, working at a clinic on the White Sands Missile Range. But those of you from (and a couple other sites) might also remember him as the guy who writes fantasy/horror/biblical fiction. (Not all at once, thank goodness!) He took some time out from work on his opus to share this observation with me:

Why You Should Ignore At Least One of My Mother's Favorite Author Quotes

by Scott Blair

Mark Twain observed, “The difference between the right word and the almost-right word is the difference between lightning and lightning bug.” In that spirit, I use a thesaurus.

Recently, I was looking up adjectives to describe ways in which one person could physically touch another and came across the word “tender.” Tender has 29 synonyms in Word’s thesaurus in five categories. Because I’m easily distracted, I marveled at that for a minute or more, and then decided to write a sentence for each entry. After than I moved on to derivations. It was all downhill from there.

Here’s what I came up with.1) He touched the tender bruise. – Tender = Sensitive / sore 2) He touched the tender bruise. – Tender = New / fresh. 3) He would tender the bruise. – Tender = To bargain with / offer. 4) His bruise would be his tender. – Tender = Payment/dues/currency. 5) His tender touch felt okay on the bruise. – Tender = Loving. 6) His tender touch felt okay on the bruise. – Tender = Gentle 7) His bruise tendered. – Tender = #1 To become more tender (present or past tense.) 8) He would tenderize his arm. His arm bruised. – Tender = #1, #2 or #3 To make something Tender (future tense). 9) He tendered his bruise. – Tender = #1, #2 or #3 To make something Tender (present tense). 10) His bruise was tender. – Tender = #1 or #3 Was Tender (past tense). 11) He would tenderize his bruise. – Tender = #1 or #3 To make something Tender (future tense) 12) He tenderized his bruise. – Tender = #1 or #3 To make something Tender (present or past tense). 13) His bruise tenders. – Tender = #1 or #5 To become Tender (present tense). 14) The tenderness of the scene made him forget about his bruise – Tender = #2, #5, or #6 Being tender (present tense). 15) He touched the bruise tenderly. – Tender = #5 or #6 To do something with Tender (present tense).

Notice how I couldn’t come up with a suffix that worked for #4. I’m sure I missed some way to apply a suffix and come up with another convoluted meaning for the word. (I’m also afraid some of my suffix sentences don’t use the word correctly.) If the word “tender” has any meaning at all left to you, feel free to toss what I missed up in the comments section.

Here’s the culmination of what I’ve learned: Because I hope not to tenderize (#1) you, I’ve tenderly (#5) and tenderly (#6) tendered (#3) this tender (#2) treatise on “tender” to you. Of course, I offer it tender (#4) free.

After exercises like this I just don’t worry as much about the difference between lightning and lightning bug.


At 1/04/2008 1:45 PM, Blogger Tristi Pinkston said...

I'm here, Kerry! Do I count?

And this is a great essay, by the way!

At 1/04/2008 3:10 PM, Blogger Annette Lyon said...

I think I'm dizzy now.

At 1/04/2008 3:31 PM, Blogger Jeff Savage said...

I know, Kerry. What's with these slackers. Give 'em a week off and they take two.

It's like my son who's a senior in high school. After 12 straight days off, he came to my wife and asked with a straight face, "Can I skip school tomorrow?"

Come on guys. Kerry and I like each other alot. But our spouses are starting to wonder what we're doing on the island alone with each other.

Although I have to admit, it's pretty cool haning out with Kerry, Tristi, and Annette. I feel like Rob being surrounded by hot babes.

At 1/04/2008 4:34 PM, Anonymous Jennie Hansen said...

Scot, you are fortunate to have been the recipient of your mother's tender mercies all your life and to acknowledge the debt you owe her, you should tender unto her all the tender love and devotion of a loving son. And hey! I didn't see one mention of a coal tender. How is a steam engine supposed to run without a tender running the coal tender? And what about baby tender? And my crossword puzzles keep asking for a four letter word that means to tend text.

Great to have you back, Kerry. Though Jeff did a great job while everyone else took a vacation I've read his poetry and factoids enough for one season. No offense, Jeff, even though I knew all those other frogs were vacationing, I faithfully checked the blog every day--even through the recent long, cold spell. Our furnace died New Year's Eve and we just got the new one installed late yesterday. Brrr! I love our new furnace.

At 1/04/2008 4:52 PM, Blogger Worldbuilder Robin said...

I'm still here, if I ever really was here...

When I see a word repeated too often (say, three or four times in a paragraph), my mind instantly starts thinking that I'm pronouncing it weirdly in my head, then I begin to wonder where the word came from in the fist place. So, yeah, "tender" has been ruined for me now. At least temporarily.

At 1/04/2008 4:57 PM, Blogger Jeff Savage said...

Scott and I are being surrounded by more and more beautiful women all the time.

Rob eat your heart out.

At 1/04/2008 7:32 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

's not so much t'beginners that I like, but t'enders!

At 1/05/2008 6:48 PM, Blogger Rebecca Talley said...


I see you'll be presenting at the ANWA conference. Wish I could be there--you'll be great I'm sure.


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