KG over at Books, Music, Photography, and Music chose “surreptitiously” as the prompt for today. It’s one of those words that you know what it means but can’t define it, so off to the American Heritage Dictionary of the American Language I went. Okay, I did a DuckDuckGo search for “define surreptitiously,” and it showed me the definition from there; in their words, it means “obtained, done, or made by clandestine or stealthy means.” That’s the definition of the adjective “surreptitious”; add the -ly and it becomes an adverb, which we as writers are told to avoid like the bubonic plague. Silly, because sometimes using an adverb is easier than trying to manipulate the sentence to make it say the same thing without using the adverb.
Who comes up with these rules, anyway? No doubt, an evil cabal of English teachers and professors who decide to mess with the minds of their students and make up these stupid rules. That’s all I can figure. Like the rule about not ending a sentence with a preposition. We all know the joke: A freshman is walking around Harvard Yard, looking for the library. He finally asks an upperclassman, “Excuse me, where’s the library at?” The upperclassman, in a haughty Northeastern accent, tells the kid, “Here at Harvard, we never end a sentence with a preposition.” The kid says, “Oh, sorry… where’s the library at, jackass?” (I cleaned it up a little. You’re welcome.)
I hadn’t intended on talking about this. Rather, I was going to use this as a way to surreptitiously slip in a word about the Blogging from A to Z Challenge that starts in just 72 days…
For those of you who don’t know about it, The Blogging from A to Z Challenge started back in 2010 when Arlee Bird and some of his friends decided “hey, let’s do a challenge where we post daily (except for Sundays), where the topics start with each letter of the alphabet. You know, April 1st we blog on a topic that starts with A, the 2nd with something that starts with B, and so on until the 30th, when we post on something that starts with Z.” The challenge is now an annual event, and for many of us is the highlight of our blogging year. I’ve participated since 2012, when my theme was “The NATO Spelling Alphabet,” where I used the words (alpha, bravo, Charlie, delta, echo, etc.) as prompts for my daily posts. In 2013 I chose members of the Chicago White Sox from the 1960’s and 1970’s; in 2014, I had no specific theme, just picked a word that started with the letter of the day and blogged in it; and last year, I used words that started and ended with the same letter (in some cases, they weren’t actually words).
I know a lot of you reading this participate in the challenge (that’s how I met most of you, in fact) and have had a lot of fun with it, and I hope you plan on doing it again this year. For those of you that haven’t, it’s great fun and it brings lots of followers to your blog, and introduces you to blogs you might not have found otherwise. That might be the best thing about it.
Signups for this year’s Challenge start this coming Monday, January 25. You don’t have to have a theme just yet, just an interest in it. The “theme reveal” is the week before, on March 21, but don’t sweat it if you haven’t thought of a theme by then. Hope to see you there!
Just Jot It January is sponsored by Linda Hill, who has the pingbacks from the participants and the rules for play.