“I began life . . . full of confidence in my own opinions,” I once wrote back in 1835. No one would argue with that! And this new biography of me, Noah Webster’s Fighting Words by Tracy Nelson Maurer and illustrated by Mircea Catusanu, does a fine job of capturing my bold ideas and strong opinions. But I couldn’t resist adding to it. I’ve rather compulsively edited my own work over and over in the past, so it was my pleasure to put pen to paper again—ghost writing, you might say. It brought back many happy memories.
My only complaint with this picture-book biography is that it’s far too short; there’s so much more to say about me . . . pushing for copyright rules, creating the first census data in America, writing about yellow fever, and other wordly things (I just made up wordly—that’s what I love about our language: it changes all the time!). Did you see the newest 1,000 words that were entered in my beloved Merriam-Webster (that’s ME!) American-English Dictionary in February? My favorite is actually a return entry from the 1800s: snollygoster. It ranks up there with blockhead, which I used often, I must admit; it’s still around after all these years. Look it up!
What words could you make up? If we ever meet, I hope you’ll share your opinions about words. I’ll most definitely share mine.
Your humble servant,
Noah Webster, Esq.
P.S. Twin Cities readers, you’re cordially invited to the launch party for this fine publication on Saturday, April 1, at 2:00 pm at the Red Balloon Bookshop.