Backword – verb – e.g. to give backword, to call off a previous arrangement
Welcome to the first post in my Yorkshire-ism series. Good to have you along for the ride. Hope to see you next time too, if that’s not too presumptuous. I will be taking a register, though. So – what a difference a letter makes. A letter in our first Yorkshire-ism – backword; or a letter passed from England to Brussels, perhaps. Letters matter, and as a writer I am painfully aware of this. Letters can persuade, they can beguile, confound, instruct, infuriate, seduce or surprise. As the old saying goes, the only certainties in life are death and letters. What’s that? No, taxes never came into it, as far as I know.
I bet you thought that was a spelling error there in my blog title, am I right? You badly wanted it to be an error so that you could feel that small, guilty but warming glow inside that said the writer has made a MISTAKE and you have spotted it. I apologize for disappointing you. (I’m afraid that ‘z’ just there was deliberate too, I know we’re not in America here). But look how it drew you in – letters matter, and that is the beauty of being a writer. It’s a beautiful art.
For example, I could arrange my letters like Mr Hemingway might have:
in a way like this so that some people worry that its too simplistic and some people say not to worry and so I end up not worrying about it at all, especially not in such a long and rambling and highly literary sentence such as this
I could arrange them as Jack Reacher might do:
in many short sentences. They ring out, clear and deadly. They have everything you need and nothing you don’t. No point crying over it.
In this most turbulent of times, dear reader, we see how groups of letters arranged inside an envelope with a stamp on (yes, a letter of letters) got us into this Brexity mess in the first place. It provided notification of Britain’s intention to leave the European Union, and whether you’re a Remainer or a Leaver, I think we can all agree that we haven’t had a decent bit of peace and quiet since.
You might almost feel like we’re going backwords.
Only the most slippery, duplicitous cads go back on their word. “He’s given backword”! But what are these cries of ‘Cancel Article 50’? Would we really go back on our word, and not in fact leave the glorious Union of Europe? Was our PM really a Remainer who switched to being a Leaver, gave backword, to advance his career? Surely, we must all obey the letter of the law. We must follow it to the letter.
Whatever your political colours, at this time of national crisis we should all take as much comfort from letters as possible, be they vowels or consonants (we’re a broad church here) and try at every opportunity to arrange them in the most advantageous order. My advice would be to hoard a good number in your letter box (no, not those red things in the street, I mean the box you keep your T’s and W’s in), then tie the letters together with strong twine and draw them around yourself for warmth. Alternatively, you could plant some in the garden; a few P’s or maybe Q’s here and there in your herbaceous borders, and wait for them to sprout in the spring.
For who knows where we will be by then; we may be glad of a nice cucumber and letters salad.