This month, one of my most cherished friends turns 47. We have only been friends a short time – mere months. But it that time, my friend has helped me immeasurably. My friend has shared wisdom, effectuated numerous creative ideas, imparted comfort, and has continuously reminded me of the power of language.
As a writer, there is nothing more valuable than my thesaurus and my dictionary. Sure, I use Word’s reference aids and Dictionary.com is an invaluable resource. But there is something romantic, poetic even, about turning the thin yellow pages and scanning through the plethora of synonyms – common and unique.
On the interior front cover my friend tells me “In a dictionary you start with a word and look for its meaning. In Roget’s International Thesaurus you start with your idea and find the words to express it.” I am always looking for new a different ways of expressing a repetitive concept and RIT is there for me.
Sometimes, when I am blocked – when I have a concept but lack the language to express it – I flip through the well preserved text until my creativity is awakened by a phrase or word I had not considered. Word and thesaurus.com do not allow me to do that.
I know that a 37 year old reference book is somewhat dated. There have been numerous words added to our language since its printing. When I encounter a term or phrase with which RIT in unfamiliar, I happily refer to more contemporary resources but my heart is always faithful to RIT.
The communication of our thoughts by means of language, whether spoken or written, constitutes a peculiar art, which cannot be acquired in any perfection but by long-continued practice.
Peter M. Roget