Chuck Jones’ letters to his daughter, Linda

#16 Post

Friday, Oct. 10, 52

Good morning, darling!

It 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. 

So, 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?

What 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.]

People 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’.

Again, 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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