Introduction

Words & Stuff is a blog about words, wordplay, and language.

It was originally written only by Jed Hartman, but in 2018, other participants are joining. Participants who’ve posted so far include:

  • Ed Bernstein (“-Ed.”)
  • Fran Altvater
  • Jed Hartman (“Jed”)
  • Kat Tanaka Okopnik (“Kat”)
  • Melissa Shaner (“MyS”)

There isn’t yet an easy way to view posts by a particular author; stay tuned.

History

I (Jed) first encountered Willard Espy's An Almanac of Words at Play and Another Almanac of Words at Play in high school, and I loved them. Sometime around June of 1996, it occurred to me that I could write a similar sort of thing myself. So from 1997 through 2000—first weekly, then fortnightly—I wrote and posted nearly 150 columns on a wide variety of topics related to words and language, with the help of a bunch of friends and other readers.

But writing the column took a fair bit of time and energy. I ran out of steam in late 2000, and except for one more column in 2003, I mothballed the site.

In late 2005, I started a new blog, called Neology. The original focus was words that I hadn’t encountered before, but it expanded into all sorts of other word-related topics. The idea was to keep things brief and lightweight, so it wouldn’t take as much time to maintain as the column had. But the blog never really took off, and I had a hard time keeping it updated. I’ve drifted in and out of regular updates over the years; I repeatedly went several months without posting, and posted only once after late 2016.

But in early 2018, Clockpunk Studios redesigned my blogs, and I migrated all the old Words & Stuff material into a blog format, and in the process of doing that I rediscovered how much fun it had been.

And the name Neology was always meant to be a placeholder until I came up with something else, but I never did.

So now I’ve combined the column and the blog into a single blog, called Words & Stuff.

And I’ve invited some friends to join me. We’re still working out how that works.

Navigation

Here are the main ways to navigate the site:

  • The Posts page lets you view recent posts.
  • The column archive comprises over 150 columns (along with reader commentary on some columns), grouped chronologically into "alphabets" of 26 columns.
  • You can start at the first column and read your way through in order, if you’re so inclined.
  • The calendar widget in the sidebar lets you pick a date to view all the posts from that date.
  • The category-based archives let you view posts by topic, including both columns and blog posts.
  • I used to maintain a manually constructed index. Which was neat, and fun, but also a lot of work. I may or may not repost the original index for use here, but I’m unlikely to ever update it past the original columns.

Other material

Since I stopped writing the column, I’ve continued to occasionally write elsewhere about words, wordplay, and language. Here’s where you can find some of that writing, though at some point I may integrate this material into the blog as well:

  • In my main journal/blog, I have a "language" category for entries; not all entries are categorized, but following that link will show you most of my language-related entries in the past couple years, including my "words easily confused" series.
  • I wrote a couple of 1200-word-or-so Words & Stuff columns for Tim Pratt & Heather Shaw's printed 'zine Flytrap. Those columns generally focused on the intersection of words and my editorial role at the online speculative fiction magazine Strange Horizons. They’re not yet available anywhere but in alternating issues of Flytrap, but perhaps some day I'll post them online.

(Last updated: 24 February 2018.)