On the road …again!
Afghanistan to Zambia
Chronicles of a Footloose Forester
By Dick Pellek
Seek …And Ye Shall Find
One of the things that slows us down as writers is our inability to immediately think of the right word to use in a planned zinger campaign. More constraining is our incomplete knowledge of the famous quotation we would like to insert to make a point. More often than not, we temporarily postpone our writing while we wrack our brains for that word. Of more consequence, we postpone even longer when we ponder about where to look up that quotation. In the interim we may lose our train of thought as we defer our writing session in favor of the detours into researching words or quotations.
As computer technology evolves, even novice writers can now use some simple techniques to keep the writing mode alive while ever so briefly detouring into the research mode to retrieve something. For example, if one wishes to relate a tale of a Civil War event that has a link to our own family history, the inclusion of a few lines from Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address may get the reader’s attention. Knowing the exact quotation and then pasting it into the story itself is easier than one may think. A simple word search in a website crawler will do the trick. This Footloose Forester rookie in cut+paste technology likes to use Google Chrome as a search engine.
Past experience with Google as a research tool; as a dictionary; and as a thesaurus; lets the Footloose Forester gets most answers, direct quotations, and correct spellings well within a minute. As a genuine test at this very moment, he is going to time a search and then note how long it took to find what he was looking for. The results will be reported below--in this very chronicle. The google search will be for the famous lines, “Four score and seven years ago…” First, he will start with addressing the resident Google logo that is in his menu bar at the top of his computer screen. After the blank subject line appears, the stopwatch starts ticking once he begins to type in the word search, "Four score and seven…”
The test took less than 10 seconds. There were several choices on the search engine’s menu. Any one of them would give the seeker an accurate and complete version of Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address. The next part is also pretty easy. Select only the part of the quotation that you are interested in; highlight it; copy it onto the clipboard of your word processor; then paste it into your legacy story at the place where it is most appropriate. The same is true for inserting photos into the body of text. Then you can get back to writing.
The Footloose Forester also uses the Google search engine to check the accuracy of the dates of historical events; to correct spellings of unusual words; and to compare similar words in the built-in thesaurus feature. In those cases, it is usually not necessary to paste them onto the clipboard.
Seek and ye shall find. The computer is faster and more accurate than we could ever be. But don’t ignore giving due credit for a quotation or an idea that originated with someone else. These days it is far too easy to become a plagiarizer. Doing so would besmirch your reputation. On the other hand, using and citing references that should be attributed to someone else not only lends credibility to your story, but may make the story, itself, a source of future reference. Finally, in taking his own advice, the Footloose Forester wishes to share, by way of reference, the origins of the dictum, “Seek and ye shall find.”
There is another similar quotation, as follows: "Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you." ref. Holman Christian Standard Bible (©2009) "Keep asking, and it will ...