Letters of Life

Word of the Day: Dilletante

noun: One who takes up an activity or interest in a superficial or casual way.
adjective: Superficial; amateurish.
From the Italian dilettante (amateur), from Latin delectare (to delight).
Earliest documented use: 1733. (from A Word A Day)

This is a fancy name for a master of none, a Jill of all trades.

Take today. Vocal lessons in the morning, followed by lunch with a friend discussing an editorial role in an upcoming online project. In between errands, I read three pages of a book about longdistance running, and another three pages from an instructional book on how to do research. The latter sometimes feels like I’m flogging a dead horse. If the metaphor doesn’t match, my emotions do.

The evening was capped with a 50-minute run, and a post-workout dinner at a quiet food centre.

Obviously, I’m leaving out a lot of things. Like the fact that I continue to be in a dry spell right now, and so from tomorrow onwards, you can look forward to my first-ever six-part countdown to Valentine’s Day.

Don’t worry. I don’t like schmaltz and soppy sentimental stuff myself. That’s hardly romantic anyway.

For what I find romantic, do read this: My Top Five List: Romantic Things It remains one of my favourite and most-read posts.

Back to Valentine’s. To go beyond the Hallmark sentiments, the hype and the vulgar, mercantile nature of February 14th, one has to look at the day with childlike eyes. When my children were in first and second grade in British Columbia, the teacher had every pupil make cards of folded coloured paper and decorated with a simple wish for a happy Valentine’s Day. So in a class of 20, every child walked home on February 14th (the dead of winter) armed with 19 Valentine wishes. It was a celebration of friendship.

It’s what you make of the day, each day, every day.

Day Six, in my countdown, starts tomorrow.

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