Every so often I find myself devising grand schemes and projects. These rarely come to fruition. One that did, probably because it was modest in its ambitions, was last year’s set of alphabetic postages here at Hooting Yard, where I adopted the constraint of posting twenty-six consecutive entries, entitled A through to Z. One that didn’t was the plan that my pre-Wilderness Years pamphlet House Of Turps would be the first volume in a series of twenty-six. I think this scheme failed primarily because it was never clear in my then-fuddled brain how the succeeding twenty-five pamphlets were intended to relate to the first one.
So the likelihood is that the preposterous plot hatched this morning will remain incomplete, if indeed it is ever even begun. It occurred to me that I ought to devote my time to tippy-tapping a blog postage for every single word listed in the Oxford English Dictionary, in alphabetical order. According to Oxford Dictionaries, “the Second Edition of the 20-volume Oxford English Dictionary contains full entries for 171,476 words in current use, and 47,156 obsolete words. To this may be added around 9,500 derivative words included as subentries”. Since January 2007 there have been 1,607 Hooting Yard postages (this is the 1,608th) to which one can add just short of a thousand entries in the archive for the previous format between 2003 and 2006. Clearly I would be taking on a gargantuan task, particularly given that I would want each and every postage to be packed with sweeping Dobsonian paragraphs of majestic prose. Even if I confine myself to the obsolete words – a highly tempting grand plan in itself – it would take years and years of toil, quite possibly more years than remain to me on this spinning terrestrial globe.
I may, however, make a start, in the near future. Foolhardy, I know, but then I am living in a fool’s paradise, am I not?