An Open Letter to Roget’s Thesaurus
Hey there! I’ve always been a big fan. Love your work. You make writing a lot more fun. In fact, my guilty secret is that sometimes I look up words just for fun! (It’s a writer thing.)
In fact, I was doing just that today in my 1995 edition of your thesaurus (honestly, couldn’t you have found an easier word to say?) when I looked up the word ‘creator’ and noticed something odd.
In your long list of synonyms there appeared to be a glaring omission. You mention “architect, author (nice), entrepreneur (love it!), father, founder, inventor, maker, originator , parent, patriarch.”
No mother? No matriarch?
I only bring this up because, as a female artist, writer and mom, I consider myself pretty creative. It’s hard enough to get taken seriously in the art world (just ask Georgia, Mary and Frida) but when even you, my dearly loved purveyor of words, appeared to ignore the obvious I’ll admit I felt irritation (annoyance, botheration, exasperation, vexation).
After all, if I’m missing even from your basic list of synonyms how do I describe to others what it is I do? I was kind of counting on you and your thesaurus for help with that.
Then, to my dismay, I read the next entry under “creature” which explains that word as “a member of the human race: being, body, homo, human, human being, individual, life, man, mortal, party, person, personage, soul.”
There it was – or rather wasn’t – again. I was missing. My sisters were missing. How could I count on you, if you didn’t even acknowledge I existed. Unrequited love is painful.
Now, I understand you were a product of your times. After all, you first published in 1854 but my edition was 1995. And today? Has anything changed during that 20 years?
Happily, yes. You discovered your omission and saw the error of your ways. When I looked up ‘creator’
‘ using the internet version of your thesaurus, I found include mothers, matriarchs and women in your lists. Good on you.
I’ve tossed my 1995 edition right into the recycling box.
Thanks for looking out for us.