Wandering through the Thesaurus recently (as one does), I came across persnickety. What a fun word, rolling off my tongue so delightfully.

My mind presented me with the image of a little animal scuttling around, sniffing out that pesky misused apostrophe, tossing out unnecessary commas, tweaking passive sentences …

When my daughter objected to the ‘snobby’ connotations of persnickety, I sort of agreed with her.

But I remembered my enjoyment at listening to The Muddled-headed Wombat* on ABC radio many, many years ago. His very ‘sens-e-bubble’ friend Mouse often had to disentangle him and Tabby Cat from all sorts of interesting adventures. But— she also knew how to enjoy herself on their hair-brained antics.

And I also seem to recall a Missy Mouse that I gave my daughter when she was a toddler: Missy Mouse now resides on her daughter’s toy-shelf.

When I shared my word on Facebook, Tony Harris (author of Wombat Stories) rattled off a list of synonyms— pedantic, fussalacious, fastidious, finicky, pernicious and picnic-y—then wrote this verse for me.

A mouse in the house is fastidious and tidy

A mouse on the run has to be play hidey

From the cats and the possums

they must run away

no time for persnickety

when you’re lunch of the day…

So I’ll continue on my persnickety way, primping, polishing and perfecting your words,
but keeping a close watch for those cats and possums.

I’m sure you’ve come up with your own perception of persnickity.

I’d love you to share, or to tell me your favourite or fun word.

*The Muddled-headed Wombat, Ruth Park, 1962, Educational Press Ltd.

Desolie Page, editor
Being persnickety?


Baroque: from Portugese barroco, a rough, imperfect pearl.

It’s all fallen into place – the music, architecture, literature, art that I’ve always been drawn to.

Handel              Bach             Vivaldi
Sir Christopher Wren
John Donne             John Milton                Moliere
Caravaggio              Bernine

The Baroque Era (1660 to 1750) was the age of opulence, the ornate, intricate and grandiose.
To a large extent, it was a time of moving away from the conventional, predictable, structured past.

So why my excitement,
and why did I set out to find a baroque that would become my signature piece of jewellery?

                          I’ve always been ‘good’    –          well behaved            conscientious                reliable
doing well at school, sport, music               (but not at all good at taking risks!)
being a leader         (even though I often quaked in my boots!)
conventional,           predictable.

But now it’s time for my Baroque Era:

time to do things differently
to be less predictable and conventional
to experience new things

no longer ‘perfect’,
but embracing my uniqueness
letting you see my imperfections and quirks
enjoying the intricate and opulent

        being the beautiful, baroque me!

                       And yes, I’ve found my baroque pearl – it’s beautiful in its imperfection.

And just to add a twist of irony, the modern usage of Baroque includes

‘complexity, the use of obscure language that conceals or confuses the meaning’.

So as an editor, I’ll continue to do my utmost not to be baroque when I edit your documents.

Do you have a signature object that symbolises you?