Today, I’m grieving the loss of dictionaries, thick, massive volumes that I used to lose myself in. I would open a page and find hundreds of words, all of them demanding my attention, each a miniature world to explore. But now I’ve become a victim of on-line lexicons. They are handier than putting aside my laptop computer and marching into another room to unload the weighty Oxford from a bookshelf where it resides.
And that’s the problem: Convenience. Efficiency. There are so many things that I’ve given up because they don’t fit into this new fast-paced world. Things that require thought and time and attention. So instead of venturing into the unknown swamp of words as I once did, now I search for words one at a time. No longer do I roam in the wilderness of new possibilities that take me in unimagined directions.
I know. You can argue that if I really wanted the full dictionary experience, I could keep the Oxford by my side while I’m writing. I’ve thought of that solution. But I’ve also been conditioned to how quickly I can search for a word on-line versus fumbling through the print version. Every second counts, and by just striking a few keys, I can quickly find what I want.
So while I’m mourning the standard dictionary’s demise, I’m also aware of my own culpability. Mea culpa!