By Campbell Geeslin
Words are being replaced. Our joined-together alphabetic symbols for absolutely everything are giving way to a growing tribe of little pictures.
Jessica Bennett, a multimedia journalist, wrote in The New York Times, “The roots of smiley faces and emotions go back to the 1880s, but the story of the emoji, those little pictorial icons on your cell phone, began in Japan in the mid-1990s when it was added as a special feature to a brand of pagers popular with teenagers.” Apple adopted it in 2011.
And it’s spreading. “Emoji was crowned as this year’s top-trending word by the Global Language Monitor, and it was added to the Oxford English Dictionary.”
Well, I think I can promise that you will never, ever see a smiling, frowning or tear-streaked little face in this blog. No wine glasses or pizza slices. Just words.
A POET’S JOB: Edward Hirsch is author of a book-length elegy, Gabriel. Alec Wilkinson’s profile of the poet appeared in the August 4th New Yorker.
Hirsch grew up in Skokie, Ill., and he is quoted: “Why would I have Skokie in a poem? But you become resigned. Your job is to write about the life you actually have.”
A LESSON: Joyce Carol Oates was editor of Prison Noir, a book of 15 stories written by U.S. prison inmates. It’s due out in September.
Oates told PW: “Serious fiction always breaks down the barriers between people—allows us to see, think, and feel as others do. We learn to sympathize with others unlike ourselves. We learn to feel pity—and terror—even to recognize hopelessness as an illuminating experience. . . .”