Chuck Jones’ letters to his daughter, Linda

16 Post

Friday, Oct. 10, 52

Good morning, darling!

almost isn’t morning anymore, because you see our alarm clock went away
to school in Arizona and we occasionally oversleep.  If this seems to
imply that I like it particularly, the answer is that I am sometimes
grateful for the sleep, but that I have, over the years, grown
inordinately fond of the alarm clock. 

how do you enjoy the long luxurious mornings, breakfast in bed every
morning, the delicate chimes stirring you out of slumber at ten
thirty?  Pretty soft life, hm?

comes to mind this morning?  You know, if you go searching the mind for
something to say because you feel you must, it usually comes out
strained and pulled-out and awkward.  Isn’t that a lovely word:
awkward.  I wonder how many people would know the answer if you asked
them for a word with “wkw” in it?  Aren’t words exciting things? 
“Exciting” for instance has a jumpy, jack-straw character to it,
entirely beside its meaning.  Do you remember the words “tackety” and
“goloomb”?  They’re not in the dictionary and they really aren’t words
at all, but on the side there I’ve drawn two figures, which is a
tackety and which a goloomb?  No question at all, is there?
[editor's note:  I don't have the drawings, but one was spikes and points and the other was soft, round and marshmallow-y.]

sometimes get into discussion of words in the sense of being beautiful
in their own right, again disregarding their meaning.  Words like
lagoon, sonata, lilting, ballerina, tenuous, thrilling seem to appeal
to the ear in an almost musical way.  Then there are comic words like
abracadabra, asterisk, pickle, banana, plutocratic and so on.  Then
there are words that sound like what they are somehow like: ‘shoat’, a
small pig; ‘porcupine’; ‘asterisk’ which is not only a funny word, but
sounds like itself; ‘gloaming’ for the time after sundown but before
dark, a word that is beautiful too; ‘rapids’; ‘convivial’ that somehow
manages to have a note of laughter in it, or maybe just a chuckle;
‘spur’ of course and ‘purr’ which sounds like what it looks like.  For
a word that does not sound like what it is take ‘palm’, the tree or
‘yacht’.  Look at the difference between the words ‘ship’ and ‘yacht’. 
‘Ship’ is a sweet, uncompromising straightforward statement.  ‘ship’…it
slices through the water, you can hear the hiss of the foam along the
cutwater, a very pure word, sweet, descriptive.  Now take ‘yacht’, in
five letters it manages to be showily presumptive.  Why not ‘yot’? 
That’s the way it’s pronounced.  And damn it, the word doesn’t sound
like a boat, sounds like a vulgar laugh perhaps “a belly yacht” or a
piece of machinery pronounced ‘yocket’.

we had a wonderful [square] dance.  It was Arnie [Kronenberger
calling]and the Rinkydinks last night.  About eleven squares of fine
dancers, live music and Arnie really cutting the mustard and the rug. 
We must live right, two superb dances in one week.

Ah loves my sweet golden child, ah does, indeed.


Thy honored and devoted servant

s/Mr. Jones

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