A while ago, I was playing a game (I believe it was Fictionary) that involved unique words and their definitions. The cardholder had the true definition. The players wrote down what they thought it meant or, at the very least, a plausible definition. The cardholder read them all. The players guessed.

The one word that comes to mind was “spermologist” and it does not mean what you think it means. It is “the collector of trivia” and since everyone in my family knows that is what I am, it was a shock to them that I did NOT know the answer.

This brings to mind “The Book of Lists” by David Wallechinsky, his father Irving Wallace, and his sister Amy Wallace. The first edition came out in 1977. “The Book of Lists 2”, “The Book of Lists 3”, “The Book of Lists for the 1990s”, and “Significa” followed it. I own all of them. There were additional entries in this series.

Some of the lists were from history (i.e. the Ten Commandments, the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, etc.) and others were celebrities offering their opinions (10 Historical Figures You Would Invite for Dinner). Some lists were innocuous but all were fascinating.

It was a pastime for a young man that turned into a passion. While I often proclaimed a desire to become a contestant on Jeopardy, what this minor hobby turned into was a passion for research and learning that has aided and abetted both my intellectual life and my writing life. The minutiae of history are often where the great stories are found.

I learned that prior to the publication of my first historical crime fiction novel, “Ark City Confidential” when I took the tales told to me by my wife’s late uncle of Arkansas City, Kansas and the wild times of the 1930’s.

This yielded a four book series and then a desire to continue on to a new series. I have always found comfort in libraries. This one small boyhood passion, spurred on by one unique book, has translated into the very essence of my current writing. Books, of all kinds, do make an impact.


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