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Worth Volume XIII, 2013, Issues are available by clicking on the name of
the month below.
Adobe Reader is needed to access them. A free copy is available
To our Readers,
last two and a half years have been hectic,
but good, for Word Worth®. We
have moved our offices two hundred miles
away from our previous location, and our
staff has gone through moves and other major
changes as well. After a dozen years of
publishing, we are looking forward to
returning to a monthly publication schedule.
Perry will move up to the primary editorship
of the magazine, and under her able
leadership, you will see changes and new
ideas, but the basic form of the magazine
will remain the same.
still be actively involved in the
publication and editing as well.
thank all of our loyal readers and contributors
and look forward to new directions for the
—M H Perry
As a long-time
contributor to Word Worth®, I am thrilled to be
taking a more active role in its publication.
Over the past 12 years Word Worth® has
become a refreshing voice of the 21st century,
exploring ideas and arts both ancient and
modern, world-wide. This new year is
shaping up to be an exciting one for the
magazine; I am delighted to be part of the team
bringing new thoughts and perspectives to our
readers, and look forward to the places that the
journey will take us together.
Meatlessness for Carnivores—Aurelia
If we become a
society in which everyone needs a gun in order to feel safe, not one person will actually be safe.
The NRA declaring
that there should be an armed police officer in every school
would be hilarious if it weren’t so diabolical. In order to
avoid massacres, we would also need them in every theater to prevent
the Aurora massacre, at every small political gathering to
prevent Tucson carnage, and soon on every school bus and every
street corner. Then we will become a Gestapo police state the
likes of which....
Although there are
many reasons to eat less meat, from the ethical and environmental
to the expense and health factors, I am an entrenched carnivore,
and never intended to give up a bit of the bacon, beef, oysters,
salmon, swordfish, chicken that make my mouth water: until I met
and became engaged to someone who doesn’t eat animals.
Even then I had no reason to change my tastes; he is,
however, an excellent cook. I
now have meat at lunch if I want it, and we happily eat the same
thing together for dinner.
Every Town Is...Newtown—Sheenu Srinivasan
Oh, no …an Apple Seed—Judith
... look at
headlines each day on most print media which have determined
that only bad news sells. Look at television programs which
appear to equate violence with strength and courage. Who can
the young turn to
– especially in a broken family – in order to understand the
grown-ups? In a country where family values are discussed and
debated on a daily basis, what institutions are focused on
preserving families? Where can a young person turn today in
order to feel loved, encouraged, courageous and confident?
Cross Stitch Art
Bed bugs: the words
are enough to raise the heart-rate, even of one who hasn’t
experienced them. It used to be... that “Nighty-night! Sleep
tight—don’t let the bed bugs bite” was a fun thing that
grandparents would say to children, all scrubbed and bathed and
in clean pajamas for the evening. “What are bed bugs?” the
children would ask. “Oh,” the adults would start, vague
themselves on the archaic nuisance, “they were little insects...
But that was a long time ago; we don’t have to worry about that
Eight Simple Words—Graceann Macleod
life in a village. It doesn’t matter whether you’re born in
the middle of a forest with no one for miles or in the
middle of a city. The village is what’s around you as you
open your eyes to light. It’s the people in your home and
your town—the mother, father, siblings, neighbors. As you
become a toddler, you begin to explore the village, and then
follow the path you will take to elementary school, ... You
can always go back to the village as you follow ...
consider myself a Christian. ...I share the
frustrations of progressive, compassionate Christians who are
lumped in with the hate-filled, bigoted, judgmental people who
pick and choose the passages they want and ignore the rest. I pick
and choose, too. I pick the passages that preach love and
understanding, and choose to follow the example of those who
inspire through gentle kindness and strength in the face of
My Spoiled Dolls—Judith
I started calling my one year old grandson “The Little Guy,” and
the four year old “The Big Little Guy.”
“Don’t call me that!” The Big Little Guy remonstrated one day when
I used the epithet in his hearing.
“Why?” I asked. I thought it was quite a decent nickname. He
insisted that it wasn’t.
“Okay,” I said, “What do you want me to call you?”
It wasn’t until a day or so
later when I realized that the conversation mirrored one
I hated dolls when I was a kid, and I especially hated Barbie
dolls: not only was I surrounded by enlightened adults who
thought that they were a bad model for a girl’s mind, but I also
went to a grade school where other kids brought Barbies to
lunch. Barbie dolls owned by six- and seven-year-olds wear
stained, torn clothing that doesn’t fasten any more because of
all the lint in its velcro. ...
Barbie dolls that children bring to play with at lunch may
easily lose some of their disgusting, dirty, plastic, shiny,
long, fibrous hair in one’s peanut butter sandwich, ...
The Test of
Time—M H Perry
Many works of art and artists come and go like summer
mosquitoes. A number of them buzz around enjoying great
attention for brief periods of time. “Poets” Eddie Guest and
Rod McKuen are exemplars of this. Their “art” does not last
because there is no depth to it. They speak to the spirit of
a moment in time and space. Poets like this are referred to
poetasters—meaning bad poets. There is nothing
wrong with this, and they may be very fine people, but their
products do not rise to the level of Art.
I’ve often thought that “collector” is a dirty word,
and implies redundancy: if you have more than one of something, you’re keeping someone else from having one, too. It’s also a waste of money; you already have one.
Don’t throw money away on another. “Collecting” is what dilettantes do—they amass things, rather than use them as they were meant to be used. A person who self-identifies
as a “collector” has bought his or her way into a field not by dedicating himself to genuine knowledge or by disciplining himself to a real skill, but...
Just Another Day on the Office—Joel
It’s Friday. You
have a stack of papers under your arm, and you have just poured
a second cup of coffee. You start back to your desk when out of
nowhere some guy in a Hawaiian shirt hurriedly elbows his way
past. As you bend over to gather your scattered papers, you
spill coffee all over your new tie—the whole time wondering: who
was that jerk and why was he in your office?
I’ve met adults who don’t even know
what the term “taboo” means. They know and use all the taboo
words, however. Words evolve from appropriate to forbidden in
interesting ways. The Anglo-Saxon word for defecation is
prohibited in decent company, but the Latin is fine. In the time
of Chaucer, the clergy was trying to get people to stop using
ecclesiastical terms as swear words. “God’s blood” was a...
Why the fascination?—Brian Michael Norris
And so it began ... I started collecting
more of her music, then, slowly, VHS tapes about her life, and
biographies. The more I learned the more I wanted to know.
This was one fascinating woman. She became an inspiration to
me for many different reasons. Aside from the gift of her voice
and her ability to sing, which in and of itself is breathtaking,
this woman whom I would never have the chance to meet would
teach me many important principles. To summarize, here are a
few of the life lessons I learned from Patsy Cline.
Like Washington Irving, Cohan also liked to go
back to an earlier America for narrative inspiration. He’d
decorate his plays with the ideals of George Washington and
Thomas Jefferson, invoking a kind of Federal freshness,
intelligence and optimism. Originally, it was a guarantee of at
least some applause: wave the flag and they had to clap; wave a
hundred flags and see what happens—but Cohan ...authentically believed in the story of the
United States ...and has become a part
of the story he celebrated.
The Politics of Personal Attack—M
Take to the Sky—Aurelia
This is not about politics. It’s
about the level to which our public discourse has descended.
Nearly two and a half millennia ago, Aristotle outlined the
process for rational thought...
It’s wrong to call
someone who says he’s a Christian a Muslim; it’s wrong to call
someone who says he’s a Muslim a Christian; it’s wrong to call
someone who says he’s straight, gay; and in the midst of the
Nazi reign of terror, it was wrong to call anyone a Jew whether
they were or not. You know that, those of you who are engaging
in these scurrilous levels of personal attack. The use of
personal attacks prove that, at the core, you know you are in
Eryn Leedale- Merwart
ELM: " I have spent the
majority of my career designing for someone else. Whether
it be a gallery or a shop or an art show jury, I have made my
work according to the market to which it was being directed.
I find myself at an interesting place in my career in that I no
longer wish to spread myself so thin;... I want to take what
I've learned and what inspires me, and create a line that really
speaks to who I am and what gives me strength. I’m
interested in making pieces that reflect things that fuel my
soul and my brain on days when my body is not at its best. ..."
Leave When the Party’s Still Fun—M
Entrancement—Michael J. Cahill
to go to office parties, but leave when the boss does is to avoid the
out of control behavior that often ruins careers. You
have to figure out for yourself just when the pinnacle of the
party is and leave then. Once things start decelerating, it’s
too late. The joy is gone, the after-glow is gone and can’t be
retained. Bad behavior is infectious and has a life of its own;
don’t stick around until your colleagues begin making job
by Samantha Grenier
Some years ago a cynical friend remarked to
me, “I thought I fell in love once. But it turns out I only stepped in it.”
I almost laughed. But I could see he meant
Eric was a really sweet guy who’d
subjugated himself entirely to a willful woman. He bowed to her wants and never challenged
her. He had believed that was the best way to get along with a woman. And,
truth be told, I thought so too.
Pen and Paper—Michael J. Cahill
Anthropomorphizing tends to lead to either pathology or
tragedy. Failure to allow for an animal’s harsher nature has
resulted in death on many occasions. Treating pets like
spoiled children turns the owners into babbling idiots—with
apologies to idiots.
In spite of that, animals do surprising things that let
us know that while they are not human, they may have even
more more developed emotions than we have. Lacking
Tiffany M Perry
My mother was a letter writer. Mostly newsy little
handwritten notes of a page or two. Her missives often included
a clipping from an advice column, a positive quote, a prayer or
snapshot, and a few gentle paragraphs of wit and encouragement.
She always signed them, “Love, Mom.”
...it comes down to this — an email is grabbing a hot dog from
a street vendor, whereas a personal letter is a sumptuous home
Why I like Old Houses—Aurelia
Scars—Michael J. Cahill
The last time I was hunting for a home was in 2003, and the
bubble was at its height; with a budget of $300,000 (which
sounds pretty good, doesn’t it?), we were told that the most
we could afford in Massachusetts, paupers that we were, was
a trailer. Or possible a “fixer-upper” on the highway.
Two-bedroom cottages in desirable locations—even without
yards—were easily going for over $500,000. We ended up
looking farther west than we’d expected,...
A metal worker has confidence that a weld is the strongest metal
on a machine. By the same token, it is equally true that scar
tissue is the toughest skin on our body. A genuinely resilient
spirit commands a durability that surpasses pain.
...The true authors of our deepest disfigurements are betrayals,
bullies, and broken promises. ...a scar can be a friend whose
very presence is a cautionary reminder — "Don’t go this way
again. Find another."
Fine Crafted Gifts—Marien Helz
When Want Is Keenly Felt—Michael J. Cahill
We’re all familiar with the gifts
crafted by the clumsy hands of children and cherished by the
father, aunt, grandmother as a most valued possession. The
gift shows effort and focus and the desire of one very young
to create something unique for someone very special to them.
Some of those gifts go beyond the simple pasted together
valentine made with lace and construction paper under the
orders of a teacher. Those gifts arise out of the mind of
the child and capture a part of the ethereal spirit on the
infant creator. ...Some
gifts crafted by adults with far more skilled hands have
that kind of spark in them. They come from the deepest
Photography by Amy Conley
Charles Dickens’ most important characters have aged well
because they wrestle with what will always be present-day
dilemmas. They consistently set aside physical discomfort and
personal humiliation in pursuit of something noble and
worthwhile. In this regard, no character was ever so acutely
realized as Ebenezer Scrooge: who was more enamored of personal
status and tangible worth than with the needs of his own heart.
That made Scrooge very much a modern man. He feared pain, as we
all do, and he overcompensated for this fear by refusing to
invest himself in the lives of others.