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About Jackie

I have a long history with words. Well, many of us do in some form or other, so that doesn’t really single me out in any way. I’m referring to my first memory of catching someone’s attention for my linguistic ability.

It was in the first grade, during a session of students reading out loud. Being extremely shy, I loathed such activities—and that was surely intensified on this day. After finishing my section, the teacher had me read it again. I was mortified; I thought I’d messed up somehow. Instead, I’d breezed through a three-syllable word as if I read it every day. She was quite impressed. I still wanted the floor to swallow me.

My third—and biggest—accolade came in high school, when partner in rhyme Razorqueen and I comprised two-thirds of a team that took first in the state for English that year. We even got medals for it! That’s when I first started thinking I had some skill with the language.

Over my years of education and work, I’ve developed an abiding affection for English through all its rules and exceptions; its eager slurping of other languages’ words; the innumerable idioms; and its flexibility at inventing new words and phrases that help us communicate about our ever-changing environment. The British Isles’ repeated invasions by its neighbors planted many of these seeds—and then its own extended fling with colonialism spread the fruit around the world. While we may may at times compare our native American English with other languages and/or other dialects, I expect we’ll mostly focus on aspects of American English. There’s more to explore, discuss, and have fun with there than we’ll have time to get to.

I’ve always enjoyed learning about the history of English, the etymology of its words, and how to wield those words as powerfully and efficiently as possible. I feel honored to use some of that information as an editor and proofreader. The dictionary has long been one of my favorite books. Helping others to refine their words so that they communicate the desired message as clearly as possible to its intended audience is one of my favorite activities. And despite that embarrassing episode in the first grade, I never lost my love of reading. For me, it’s all part of playing with words… and there’s much more to it that we’ll be exploring here.

You might be wondering why WordPlay has my name as its URL. I’ve had this domain for several years, initially using it for a personal business. That ended, and I wanted to put it to another, better use. I can think of few better than bringing together people who love to use, think about, explore, and play with words. (Also, is taken.)