Sunday, August 9, 2015

Ron Scheer's Glossary of Western Terms

I'm finding it fairly difficult to write a review on a book that has no plot, setting, or action,
just a listing of terms and words, but here goes.

The terms were compiled in alphabetical order by Ron Scheer in his book How the West Was Written, Volume Three. They are terms, words, slang, colloquialisms, that were used by the early western writers in their manuscripts to reflect the language or vernacular of the cowboys, miners, farmers, etc., that populate the works. Some are very colorful and others not, but they got the point across that the character was trying to make. But, why does a westerner talk this way instead of using everyday "normal" language. In some cases, he may have been brought up this way and inherited the terms from his parents or other family members, like a hand-me-down. In other cases, the person may have just came from the "civilized" world back east and picks up the terms for his own usage and to blend in to make others think he is a true westerner. In any event, the glossary covers them from "A to Izzard" to "zanjero". A couple of examles:
        "blam-jam" = a mild expletive for "damned: "We can't get that blam-jam handcar up to Palisade and back without somethin' more than four-man power." A. B. Ward, The Sage Brush Parson.
         "megrims" = depression, unhappiness.  "Overtaken by the megrims, the philosopher may seek relief in soliloquoy." O. Henry, Heart of the West.

The research on this was prodigious and required much reading and time by Mr. Scheer for which many western writers are thankful that finally someone put all these terms into a handy-dandy glossary.

I consider Ron a friend even though I didn't know him personally but through blogging. I enjoyed reading his blog posts because he had his own eloquent language that made them interesting. His Volume Three, Glossary, will live on even though Ron's life ended too soon from the "devil" cancer. We will miss him, but his works will be of benefit to many authors for the years to come.

This book and the first two volumes of How the West was Written are available from Amazon and Beat to a Pulp Press of David Cranmer, Publisher.