Monday, February 13, 2012

Misreads, Wrong Perceptions

I just read a lovely piece in Shelf Awareness about columnist and author Jeffrey Zaslow, who recently passed away in an automobile accident. Soon after notification of his death, I'd noticed the Twitter stream fill with kind words and expressions about how much his voice would be missed.

When I got to the second from the last paragraph in the article, there appeared a link referring to his expensive obituary in the New York Times. I clicked, read, felt the celebration of his life and the sorrow of his loss, added a couple of his titles to my to-be-read book list. It was clear that his shining words, which often focused on people searching for meaning in their lives, were worthy reads.

By the time I finished the article, and the info at each link, including the obituary--each affirming the power and effect of Mr. Zaslow's printed words, left behind as a testimony to his heart and talent--I realized my feathers were good and ruffled. Why would someone writing such a lovely tributary piece have the bad taste to mention the expense of an obituary! I looked again at the obit link, just to purse my lips, shake my head.

And there is was. The word wasn't EXPENSIVE, it was EXTENSIVE.

The power of words and meaning. A good reminder that all words, whether spoken, read or written, should be carefully considered.

1 comment:

Johanna Harness said...

Yes. What a difference one word makes. Usually I notice my misreading in the most lighthearted circumstances, but now you have me wondering how often I misread the more serious bits. Thanks for this.