by Louise Lloyd

B ack in February 2020, I took the bus from Kidlington to Oxford; I got off in Summertown and found a new word.

I often treat myself to a quick scan of the bookshelves in Oxfam.

And there it was:

– paradoxical wit and wisdom –
by Dr Mardy Grothe

I had not anticipated lockdown. It had not entered my head that I would soon be entertained at my home in the months to follow by meeting Oscar Wilde, George Bernard Shaw, Woody Allen; let alone Seneca and Tacitus. But this delightful collection by Mardy Grothe was set to bring those personalities and more of their kind to fill many otherwise unforgiving minutes since spent in isolation.

This book turned out to be both a timely hello and a timely good buy.

Where to begin?

Well, Oxymoronica is a word you won't yet find in any dictionary, but type it into Google and it'll pop up at the top of the page.

Dr Grothe defines Oxymoronica thus:

a compilation of self-contradictory terms, phrases, or quotations which appear illogical or or nonsensical at first, but upon reflection, make a good deal of sense and are often profoundly true.

Let's open a page of his book and take a look at some examples. I'm going to begin by choosing one which, it seems to me, concisely hits the nail on the head:

less is more.

'Less is more' is an Oxymoron because there are two terms equated which seem to contradict one another. But somehow we know instinctively what the phrase fundamentally is getting at: the idea that something simple is better than something complicated.

That selfsame idea prompts me not to attempt any explanation myself of the difference between an Oxymoron and a Paradox. Dr Mardy expertly reveals all. Simply click on the link at the foot of this page and discover an extraordinary bonus — by visiting the world's largest online database of metaphorical quotations.

On your way, here are some more quotations taken from Oxymoronica that I particularly enjoyed.

Free love is too expensive.
Bernadette Devlin

It's kind of fun to do the impossible.
Walt Disney

Nobody goes there anymore. It's too crowded.
Yogi Berra - on a popular restaurant.

We sleep in separate rooms, we have dinner apart, we take separate holidays. We're doing everything we can to keep our marriage together.
Rodney Dangerfield

Just remember you are absolutely unique. Just like everyone else.
Margaret Mead

I could easily go on.

But why not see the original quotations for yourself? You won't regret it. They encourage all of us to try a little harder to avoid overused expressions when we write, like hitting nails on heads. Especially in times like these of social-distancing, we should all of us come together in large crowds and do everything we can to

avoid clichés like the plague.

Louise Lloyd is a resident of Kidlington village, Oxfordshire. Louise is the Publishing Director of Kidlington Voice Online and the person to whom you should send your own draft article for publication on KV. Contact: louise.lloyd@kvoice.co.uk

Please visit the website of the author of Oxymoronica, Dr Mardy Grothe, here.

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