Eating Taffy with a fork 

might seem a sophisticated evolution, but what can happen to taffy-tooth encounters can and did happen with taffy-tine encounters when 4orkergirl (as thylias Moss) was asked to contribute to a dictionary anthology: One Word

Some logics might suggest that it would be difficult to write about one word and  only one word when that word is a fork, but this is a limited fork, and that limitation makes the one-word restriction simple, simple, simple:

include content only related to fork; include fork-related content only;

if not a tine of the fork: omit it!  86 it!  Expunge freely, without apology or regret.  Annihilate the non-fork, the non-forked, the non-forkable!

Fork stuff and only fork stuff

Tine-Carrying membership in the Well-Tined Society



—say: a lapel pin in the form of

Haydn's Fork

from Chamber Music Today


Other logics might try to reason too well, might point out, in awareness of fork as bifurcating system, that a tine can bifurcate as so to reach everything reachable, that some twists in bifurcating systems become involved in chokeholds, knots that, as tourniquets are meant to do, stop blood flow and mean a death of certain bright streams.

But for as much as a bifurcating fork system might seem to admit, admittance is granted to far less than everything; instead, only residue gets in, only a fraction of what the fork attempted to access let alone what the fork didn't even try to access (yet) at all, because between the tines are riffs, chasms, gateways, spaces that support entrance, exist and modification of entrances, exists, and modifications of what enters, exists.

Even were nets placed between tines, the mesh (even just the mesh of thinking) would permit the loss of something through the fine, ever finer but still there holes —something going on in the atomic, the subatomic, the nano.  Maybe something wonderful.   Because, you know, Pandora's fork, and the taffy of hope stuck to it that was all she had left.


So 4kergirl (even though Thylias had been asked to do it) wrote and wrote only about a fork taking shape, as she wrote, into a six-tined system:   



Content of the forking sixpack essay form the script of Sarabande Books' promotional video by Tucker Capps for One Word coming in October 2010:

One Word: Contemporary Writers on the Words They Love or Loathe from Sarabande Books on Vimeo.

About One Word:

In One Word: Contemporary Writers on the Words They Love or Loathe, Molly McQuade asks the question all writers love to answer: what one word means the most to you, and why?  Writers respond with a wild gallimaufry of their own choosing, from ardor to bitchin’ to themostat to wrong to very.  There is corn, not the vegetable but the idea, defining cultural generations; solmizate, meaning to sing an object into place; and delicious slang, such as darb and dassn’t.  Composed as expository or lyric essays, zinging one-liners, extended quips, jeremiads, etymological adventures, or fantastic romps, the writings address not only English words but also a select few from French, German, Japanese, Quechua, Basque, Igbo, and others.  The result is like the best of meals, filled with color, personality, and pomp.  There is something delightful and significant for every reader who picks up this wonderful book.

Some Praise for One Word:


connect with forkergirl


“This sublime anthology is poetry for people who don’t read poems, collecting 67 essays, short stories, and memoirs in which seasoned writers and novices expound, meditate, or riff on a single word. The words range from the familiar (forget by Mimi Schwartz, crash by Dan Moyer) to the obscure (darb by Erin McGraw [1920s slang for an excellent person or thing], umunnem by Kelechi Okere [an Igbo term for all one's blood relatives], from the short (a by Joel Brouwer takes up eight pages) to the long (floccinaucinihilipification by Siobhan Gordon [it means nothing]. Thylias Moss’s disquisition on fork and related words itself forks in many directions. Jason Iwen detects capitalist ideology in interesting, which first appeared in 1711 in an economic context. Poets are almost half of the contributors, but they also include critics, translators, academics, and novelists. These marvelous little pieces of writing highlight not so much the words themselves as what words do, how they exist as themselves but also as the carriers of meanings, which shift and branch into many paths real and metaphoric, juicy with sound.”

                                        —Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“At last! A dictionary for people who are words!  From the eight pages that define “A” (the fifth most commonly used word in English) (“A never looks back”) to the concluding two pages of “Wrong” (“Two wrongs only make a wrong wronger.”), what we have here is a smorgasbord of sentience, a collision of serendipity and scholarship. This is a book at play in the fields of meaning, a sixpack (Thylias Moss) ofquipus (Arthur Sze), a dehiscence (Forrest Gander) of florere (Vincent Katz), I (Cynthia Gaver) hope (John Rodriguez) as (we like it) (Brenda Hillman). We like it! When More’s Utopia is realized, One Word will be the vocabulary list for the SATs. (Except: there will be no SATs!)”

                                                                  Bob Holman



One Word is a rich and varied collection of meditations on words from the simplest (a and or) to the rarest (kankedort, with only one known occurrence) and from the most basic (doom and filthy) to the most ornately elaborate (floccinaucinihipilification). Starting with Joel Brouwer’s deeply perceptive and thoroughly entertaining exploration of the article a through Lee Martin’s narrative of childhood memories attached to the tricky word colander, Joan Connor’s vignettes associated with lilac, Eric Ormsby’s profile ofor (“It’s not a showy word but a worker word, a syntactic functionary. … Or stands like a squat bouncer at the revolving door of the disjunction.”), to Mary Swander’s recounting of two billion years of geological history lying beneath topsoil, we encounter all of the many ways that language and human events intersect.  In each case, the writer has chosen, to borrow wording from Maureen N. McLane’s essay onkankedort, an  “exceptional word”, an “unusual word,” a word that has “lodged itself like a mystery, a word that gathered around it associations [both] personal and ramifying…” Not surprisingly in a collection of writings about language, we encounter not only discussions of words and meanings but also stories of relationships with parents, children, mates, and friends, and of the intimate and powerful forces that shape lives.  It is a measure of the power and the wisdom and the charm of these pieces that a reader’s relationship with these words will never be quite the same after reading this collection.  Maggie Hivnor’s words about Yeats’ use of the word half-light seem apt for this collection as well: “When poets use a word as well as that, they leave a trace of meaning on it, a fingerprint—or sheen: a new layer of lacquer, a warmth, like the time-worn glow on the newel-post of an old banister, touched by generations.”  Readers of this collection too will find that the words profiled here have a new trace of meaning, a warmth, and a time-worn glow.”

—John Morse, President and Publisher of Merriam-Webster, Inc.

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