Is anything 3rd person omniscient?

Following my last post, I've had some enlightening discussions with a few people. Below are some remarks by Becca Mills which helped me to move along in my own thoughts, which continue below the quotation.

I see your point, here, Harry - the writer is the "real" storyteller, and she's always a third-person figure vis-a-vis the story, even if she's writing biography (because she's writing about the past as the somewhat changed person her past experiences have made her).

The problem I see is that you're treating the third-person-omniscient narrative viewpoint as though it is not itself an artificial construct created for the purpose of narrating a story. You're presenting it as somehow more real or true to the actual situation, but in truth it's just as unreal as first- person and third-limited. The mind of the writer is omniscient vis-a-vis the story the way the Christian god is omniscient -- knowing all persons and events from outside time -- but third-person-omniscient narration isn't that kind of "knowing." That kind of knowing is capacious and alinear and is inappropriate for actual storytelling. TPO narration is still a linear and controlled release of info thru the "narrative voice," which is itself constructed for that purpose.

So I don't think we should think of TPO as the real narrative voice that undergirds all the others, which simply mascarade as being something other. But I do think it's useful to think actively about how artificial all the narrative modes are (and I don't intend "artificial" in a negative way, but just as describing some that is the product of art/artifice).

So I admit I'm glad someone sees what I'm aiming for, even if I don't see the target all that clearly yet myself, and I think that Becca's counterargument is a strong one. Why ought one narrative voice be any more original or authentic than the others? I don't think I have an answer for this. But Becca's clear thinking got me questioning my motivation for pursuing this in the first place.

Although the idea was provoked by a writer in difficulty over points of view, which happened to coincide with a whole cascade of threads on various fora where both readers and writers "rejected" particular narrative voices and points of view, I am beginning to wonder whether it is my background in theatre that is the cause of my desire to find an archetypal, atavistic, underlying voice.

Drama theorists, including Boal, Grotowsky and Barba, have, (guru-like, usually) proposed a sort of "story of the first theatre". They suppose that the primeval theatre can be deduced from study of the whole history of theatre in human cultures, and imagine a seminal event, where primitive hominins use performance for the first time as a conscious means of communicating ideas and (more importantly), culture.

I've never stopped to dismiss this storification of cultural history, even though it is exactly that. I dare say that part of the creation of theatre was a spontaneous act driven by a need to communicate something that could not be communicated any other way, but I also think that artifice is the core of the theatre. A very special kind of artifice, since all those who are members of a theatre's culture collude in the acceptance (known, on little evidence, as "willing suspension of disbelief") that the Stage is all the World.

I think this artifice is absent from story, because while theatre is an act of tribe or of culture—it confirms, reinforces, emphasises, the distinguishing characteristics of the culture to which it belongs even when it is challenging it—storytelling is an act of socialisation. I think that we hear and we tell stories as a way of making sense of eachother and of ourselves.

That's why it's essential that young children go through a phase of "telling tall tales". The child is practising the social activity of relating life and relating to life through stories. The child has observed that when others tell stories of a particular kind, it provokes a particular reaction, and the child wants to participate in this activity and in its consequences, and it makes little difference to the child whether a story is "true" or not. Indeed, the child is not lying any more than a cat is being cruel when it plays with a mouse.

The cat's life depends on its ability to hunt, and every opportunity to practise improves the cat's chances of hunting into it's old age. Storytelling is no less vital a skill for a human being to learn.

So I was wondering whether there was some element of those tall tales told by young children which is universal to, or which underlies, all stories.

One of the people who commented on my previous post suggested that I was failing to distinguish Narrator from Writer. This may have been so, but I am beginning to suspect that if anything, writers are making too much of a false distinction between them.

Even when Conan-Doyle is "narrating as Watson", he is still Conan-Doyle. Philip Marlowe is Chandler. Even Ishmael is largely Melville and Crusoe is much more Dafoe than he is Crusoe. It is all too easy to think of the narrator as someone else; I think that there are times when, even when the writer intends the narrator to be seen as a character, as a creation, that the writer should be careful not to forget that this is an artifice, an artifice in which the reader's complicity is required for it to succeed, and that (therefore) the reader's complicity must be sought.


Everything is 3rd Person Omniscient

This post arises from the following claim, that I made in my last post:

All stories are in 3rd person omniscient, whether you like it or not. Some stories look as if they are, and they are. Some stories look as if they are not, and they are.

So what does this mean?

I make this statement from time to time, and it's based more on a hunch than (thus far) a cogent argument. So rather than my usual rambling edifice, I'm going to try to explain why I have this hunch, or possibly instinct.

Firstly, a story needs someone to tell it. A real person. Whether he writes on the page or recounts to the room, he is a real, physical presence.

If a story has been made up, it must have been made up by someone. Since it comes from their imagination, they must know everything about the story, because anything they don't know, they can make up. Hence omniscient. The writer is always omniscient.

Non-omniscient points of view are a technique for restricting the flow of information from the writer to the reader, but the writer is always omniscient.

Can I tell a story where I'm not omniscient? If I told a true story, where I told my side of the story, based on what I knew, I suppose it would be 1st person restricted, but I doubt whether a POV definition is really meaningful in such a case. True stories become memoires, anecdotes and even biographies, because someone has, after the event, decided to present the event as a story. In such cases the writer knows more than he did at the time - if nothing else, he knows how the story will end, which he didn't know when the event was happening.

Which suggests to me that the writer is always omniscient.

But I also have this instinct that even POV is an illusion. 1st (or 2nd) person POVs are a sort of frame for 3rd person.

Now Robinson Crusoe is written in first person. Initially this presents me with a difficulty; one might suppose that storytelling arises from a need to communicate the events of one's life to others, and hence 1st person comes first. But a translation inevitably occurs, even in the mind of the teller: I am telling you a story about something that happened to me. Not me now, but me then. Every story must have an object, and that object is about me.

The main character of a story, then, is that story's object, the accusative of the story that is about him. That doesn't imply a 3rd person, but something does.

I think that something is related to the fact of knowing the ending; any telling, any bearing witness, becomes a story once the witness knows the end. Once the beginning, the middle, and the end become matters of the teller's choice, he will choose them according to his ideal of a good story. This encapsulation transforms real past events into a story. And this transformation into a discrete idea, "a story", separates the actors in the story from the continuum of their daily lives. Their story-self becomes someone else: a character. Once this story-self is created, the story can be passed on wholesale to another teller, who, knowing that it is not about him, may now chuse to tell it in the 3rd person, without changing the story.

I contend, indeed, that the "first person true story" only has a special effect on those who know personally the teller; for everyone else, it is a story whose truth is judged not on the claim of truth, but on the same standard as all "made up" stories: verisimilitude, or the appearance of truth. Hence the main character, the actor narrator, is for those who do not know him, a 3rd person.

To summarize, here, then, is what I think happens:

The writer knows all about the story, because he knows when it starts, he knows what happens throughout, and he knows how it ends, even at the beginning. The writer also knows who the story is about. The object of the story is a person that the writer has chosen to be the object. For me, these two facts make any story 3rd person omniscient.

The writer can them simply start writing.

Or he can chuse, for a variety of literary or strategic or even marketing purposes, to add an extra layer, the "imaginary narrator". He might, like Watson, know the whole story but not understand all of it, or be a POV that is really no more than a POV, like a man piecing together a story from security camera footage. I imagine the choices must be pretty broad, and many of them probably add a great deal to the variety and intensity of the reader's experience.

But behind all of them is the archetype of the story being told. And the archetype, the platonic ideal of any story, is related in the past tense, in the 3rd person, by an all knowing narrator*.

* at least, I think so. That's how it looks to me. But I wonder, Wittgensteinlike, how it would look to me if it looked as if it was all present tense first person restricted? I think I need to go lie down.


The Storyteller's Lesson

The Story is my master. I serve the Story; I listen to It, I watch over It. I bewail Its sorrows, I hail Its triumphs. I chant Its words. I sing the song of the Story, for I am the Story's voice.

Stories are not something that we make. They are something that we are. They are as much part of us as the air, our food, our friends our clothing our shelter. They are our parents and our children. When we wonder what we are, it is our stories that tell us. When we wonder what a thing is man, it is our stories that give us the answer.

Something that is so much of what we want to be, what we are, and what we will become must have great value?

Recently, in the history of the story, though it may seem like a long time to us, the story has been exploited by those who are able, dimly, to perceive that it has value, but cannot see what its value really is. They have sought to make a commodity of it, and they have sought to make the greatest profit from the smallest story; the biggest reward for the smallest effort. They have done this by trying to create formulae for a stories that will have the greatest possible appeal.

Now they that dimly perceive the value of the story vaguely understand that the story is about what we are, what we want to be, and what we are going to be. And they loosely grasp that while we all have the story in common, there is much variation in what we are, what we want to be, and what we can be.

And so, they say, the story must appeal directly to each of us. We must all feel close to its characters. That way we will all be hooked on the small story, and they will reap their big reward.

And, they say, there must be a way to write a story that does this thing: that every reader will feel a closeness, an association, a commonality, a sympathy, with the main characters, and this will tie him to the story. And they say that the way to do this is to give the reader the impression that the character's thoughts are in his head. And they say that the logical way to do this is that when the character does this or does that, the reader should read this as "I do this" and "I do that." In this way the reader can hardly avoid feeling like he is in the story, right?

And they say, of course not all readers have the same ideas or aspirations. And they say that each reader thinks of himself as a particular type of person; tough-guy, intellectual, starlet, scientist, ascetic, poet, artist, priest. And you can't bundle all of these into one character. And they say that you solve this by having several characters, each of whom combines a few compatible characteristics with which readers will identify.

And the Story is grasped firmly by the Smith, and heated in the fire, and beaten and split and twisted and then it is slaked in the style in mode.

I sing, of course, of the fashion for 1st person narrative with multiple points of view.

I don't think that one storytelling technique is inherently better than any other. But there is fallout from this fashion for multiple characters and head-hopping. Writers who do it because they think it's the only way. Writers who think that since a story includes many characters, that the story cannot be told by only one person. Writers who, when trying to switch from 1st person multi to 3rd person end up patchy, bitty and confused, with no characters fully in focus.

It all goes wrong when, as with every other damn thing in writing, you make a stylistic or narrative choice with your eyes shut. With your eyes shut, you can't see the story. If you can't see the story, you can't know the story, and if you don't know the story you can't tell the story.

Whoa there! Yes, you can write a good story by just sitting down and starting writing, can't you? You don't have to plan it all out?

Of course. But there's a reason why you can, and a reason why it doesn't always work. The Story is something you can know in a general way, the story you write in your book is an aspect of this general Story. If you know well what makes a story work, what makes it happen, then you can guide yourself through your writing, and produce a coherent story without planning. If, on the other hand, you conjure up a bunch of compelling characters and throw them into a nightmare scenario and then... well, what, really? At best you get a cliché.

The Story is my master. I serve the Story; I listen to It, I watch over It. I bewail Its sorrows, I hail Its triumphs. I chant Its words. I sing the song of the Story, for I am the Story's voice.

All this chanting isn't for nothing. You know the Story as well as I do. That's why you're a writer of stories. If you're having a hard time getting what you want through to your readers, if you're having a hard time getting it onto the page, the chances are you're letting major factors like narration and characterization get in the way of the story. The story itself is not singing. You need to look for what the story looks like. For me it's always a shape; sometimes an irregular polygon, sometimes a landscape, sometimes just a simple path, but always something I can see, describe, and name.

Editing has taught me to see the story that the writer hasn't seen. The Story has a way of getting itself told, and if you find yourself in constant rewrites, it could be because you aren't trying to tell the story that wants to be told.

Sitcoms put characters in situations. In a story, the characters are a requirement of the story; they aren't participating in an event; they are part of it. The events occur because of them, they are involved because they have no choice; they are actors, not spectators. Romeo dies because he is in love with Juliet. Juliet dies because she is in love with Romeo. Replace them with Mercutio and Rosalind, and nobody dies. What happens in a story happens because it must happen. Because it is the only thing that can happen. The Greek dramatists understood this inevitability well. Modern readers do too. That's why a restricted POV is little more than a game; an experiment in limiting the reader's expectations. That's why a restricted POV works well when writing, for example, a book about a teenager that is intended for adults (like Catcher in the Rye).

But it's also why a book written in 3rd person omniscient (or "storyteller" as I like to call it) will be a different experience to read when you are young from when you are older, and different again when you are older still. In real life we have a very broad view.

This essay is getting too long, so I'm going to try to wrap up.

If you put the story first, the characters will follow. If you know and understand the story well, the characters will be good, strong, meaningful characters. The reverse is not always true.

Once you are sure you understand well both the story you are writing, and the process, techniques and mechanics of stories, then you can start playing games with readers' perception through varying points of view.

To sum up: it is an error to suppose that when you sit down to write, you make a choice between 1st or 3rd person, omniscient or restricted, one character's POV or everyone's or noones. All stories are in 3rd person omniscient, whether you like it or not. Some stories look as if they are, and they are. Some stories look as if they are not, and they are. You don't need, however, to master 3rd person omniscient; it's the one that comes naturally. If you chuse to present your story in a narrative form other than 3rd person omniscient, then know that this requires planning and discipline and practice.


Crossbows, Longbows and Skyrim

Some of my clients will already know that I am a ballistics geek. As crossbows have recently been added to Skyrim, and they are ludicrously overpowered for their size and mechanics, I thought I'd make a few remarks.

The common measure of the power of a bow is its draw weight. The draw weight is the force (expressed in units of weight), required to draw the string to its maximum position. This measure gives a good indication of the raw power of the weapon, but there are a lot of other factors that govern its effectiveness.

Draw length is the distance that the string travels from its release position to its maximum draw position.

After release, the projectile accelerates through the draw length, and as soon as it leaves the bow it begins to decelerate.

However, because the bow is essentially a type of leaf spring, the energy stored in the bow is transferred to the projectile as the bow straightens, but as the bow straightens so less power is delivered, so acceleration peaks very shortly after release, and decreases until the projectile leaves the bow.

Arrow length must be longer than or equal to draw length in a simple (straight) bow because the shaft must be guided by the archer's hands. In a crossbow it can be shorter, since the stock guides the projectile.

A longer arrow will be heavier. More projectile weight means more inertia to overcome in acceleration. Longer simple bows require longer arrows, so to minimize weight, the arrow shaft must be lighter, and to be lighter it must be thinner. A light shaft is flexible. On release, the force of the bow against the inertia of the arrow compresses the shaft, causing it to bend. A fine, even shaft will form a balanced double bend, known as snaking. The longer the shaft, the more likely there will be grain imperfections that will cause unbalanced snaking, and an inaccurate arrow. Modern fibre arrows flex very little, since they are extremely light and extremely uniform.

A longer arrow will, however, be more accurate at longer distances. The long shaft will stabilize it. This means that the fletching (or flight) can be smaller, which reduces drag, and further increases accuracy (or rather, limits the effects of flaws in the fletching on accuracy).

In the crossbow's shorter draw length, a shorter arrow can be used. So a short fat arrow (usually known as a bolt) can be used with the same draw weight, and it won't flex. This has the advantage that projectile stock quality need not be quite so exacting. However, it has none of the stabilizing effect of the long, thin shaft, and so it needs a relatively large fletching, which causes drag.

These factors combine to make the crossbow much more accurate over an average number of shots at short distance, but accuracy decreases very fast with range. At shorter distances (under 100yds), a crossbow is slower but quality of manufacture of the projectiles has only a small effect on accuracy. At longer distances, the simple bow still requires the arrows to be of high quality to achieve accuracy, but the accuracy it can achieve is much greater.

The bow has two uses as a tool.

One is for hunting. The crossbow us next to useless for hunting as it is too noisy at close range and inaccurate at long range. The simple bow is almost silent.

The other use is of course for killing people who are (presumably) trying to kill you. Military historians and theorists, as well as people who can do a little simple math, will tell you that in projectile weapons, two factors trump everything else. The lesser of the two is cover: can the weapon be loaded and fired from cover. Both actions are easier for the simple bow; the crossbow is hampered by cover, but slow to reload, so cover is more important to the crossbowman. The greater of the two is rate of fire.

In rate of fire, the crossbow suffers the most terrible of compromizes. The only way to maximise rate of fire is to reduce loading time, and that can only be done by sacrificing mechanical advantage, and in consequence, draw weight. To summarize: a crossbow can be fast to reload or it can be powerful. It cannot be both. Even the fastest loading crossbow (the simple lever crossbow) has a rate of fire that is at best half the rate of the simple bow.

The major advantages of the crossbow are in fact economic. Manufacture of crossbows is a little more expensive than manufacture of simple bows, but only because the best simple bows require considerable expert skill and practice to manufacture, whereas the crossbow is complex. However, crossbow ammunition need not be of a high quality, so the projectiles for crossbows are much cheaper to manufacture than accurate arrows for longbows. All this pales into insignificance, however, when compared to the cost of training the soldiers.

It takes a few weeks at most to train someone to use a crossbow effectively on the battlefield. However it takes many years of regular practice to become proficient even in short simple bows with a relatively low draw weight.


And so to Skyrim.

Skyrim is a game, and it is a game about being a hero (or the opposite). It isn't a game about being a battlefield soldier, or a medieval general. The hero is, one assumes, something of an expert at arms and weapons, and has both the time and inclination to practice enough to perfect his skills.

Crossbows were added with the Dawnguard DLC (downloadable content—an extension to an existing game that is downloaded from the internet, M'Lud).

The crossbows in Skyrim are short, simple lever crossbows. Even when cocked by a massively muscle-bound Nord Hero, the draw weight must be pitiful, given the rate of fire that you can achieve. Yet they seem to be more effective than simple bows. This, of course, is the physics of the rule of cool. Crossbows are cool (apparently) so Skyrim has to have crossbows, and they have to be really really effective.

Personally, I don't think crossbows are cool. The crossbow is the weapon of poorly trained cannon fodder, not the weapon of a hero. I get that as a means of putting a stake through the heart of a vampire it makes a certain poetic sense - though in what way a conventional wooden arrow isn't a stake, I've yet to understand.

Next there will be pistol crossbows. I wish there were an html markup for massive, withering disdain. If there were, I'd have written that: <massive, withering disdan>pistol crossbows</massive, withering disdain>. Probably in comic sans. Being hit by a bolt from a pistol crossbow is rather like being poked with a damp twig.

Sigh. I like Skyrim. It has a great deal of awesome, and an awful lot of silliness. Don't even get me started on the dungeons full of useful gear and all the heal and buff potions left lying around just before the difficult bits.

Probably time to call it a day.


Were you wondering where the spurious/tenuous connexion to writing was? Here is your Aesop:

There is no substitute for research. Because while you can have some hero-dude who has a special skill that means he can both fabricate and use crossbows that are as effective or even more effective than simple bows, you should not do so in ignorance. The Rule of Cool is at your disposal, if applied sparingly, but you should do so knowing that you are doing so.


Noone hates implied clauses more than me.

In my book about grammar geekery I was writing some dialog, and stumbled on the material for another whole chapter. It's a perfect example of where the good practice of descriptive grammar creates controversy where there should be none, and comes from the desire (erroneous I think) to classify "than" as one of the two common invariant particle types: preposition or conjunction. Swift loved this sort of thing.

If you view "than" as a conjunction, then it should be found between two grammatically complete clauses.

If you view "than" as a preposition, then it should take an accusative compliment (an object noun or pronoun), "like it does in Latin".

But Latin is far too sensible for silliness over "than". Quam is technically an adverb, modifying the verb into a comparison with itself. Tarquin is prouder than Horatio >> Tarquinius superbior quam Horatium est >> implies that quam est means "is compared with" >> Tarquin is more proud compared with Horatio.

Sadly, English is not Latin.

The conjunctionists and the prepositionists (for which read bigendians and littleendians) both come up with some clever arguments for why it should be theirs, and according to which side you are on, you would follow than with either a subject or an object:


Noone hates implied clauses more than I.


Noone hates implied clauses more than me.

The former provides me with a rare (but perfect) opportunity to use the word "specious". The argument claiming that it is a conjunction states that "than I" is short for the implied second sentence "than I hate implied clauses." It doesn't take a genius to see what's amiss here. We don't normally say:

She loves you more than I love you.

What we do say is:

She loves you more than I do

and we say that when we want to avoid the possible ambiguity of:

She loves you more than me

which might mean:

She loves you more than she loves me.

Of course, the only time that it is ambiguous is when the context doesn't indicate who ought to be loving whom, and such situations, I suggest, are fairly uncommon.

I observe in modern English that, like in Latin, we do not say "Tarquin is more proud than Horatio is proud, but "Tarquin is prouder than Horatio."

To push it a bit further, here's another Latin example:

Is vidit paucos servitos fideliores quam eum.

For clarity's sake,  we would typically translate with: "he has seen few servants more loyal than this one".

Who really thinks that this is an abbreviation of "he has seen few servants more loyal than this one is loyal" ?

Than is neither conjunction nor preposition. It is an indicator of comparison; the sentence is structured around the pairing of "more" with "than", just as in the earlier example, "prouder" and "than" are paired to explain a comparison.

It isn't a conjunction because although without it you get grammatically complete sentences, you don't get meaningful ones and further more, by inserting it, part of one of the sentences becomes redundant – this does not happen with conjunctions.

He has seen few servants more loyal. This one is loyal.

It isn't a preposition because it isn't indicating a relationship. I found myself wondering about relativity.

Consider Alice and Bob, in the vacuum of interstellar space. Let us provide them with spacesuits and an adequate supply of oxygen.

Alice is facing Bob.

This is an expression of relativity. It gives Alice's position relative to Bob, but to nothing else in the Universe. That makes it pretty relative.

Alice and Bob are side-by-side.

Philosophically, this is the same kind of statement, though diagram it and you get something different.

Alice is taller than Bob.

Something is different, here, and it is that there is a difference being expressed. Alice is singled-out for her height. In the other two sentences, we are essentially saying the same about both of them, so:

Alice is as worried as Bob about their air supply.

This can be constructed in the same way as a sentence with "than":

Alice is as worried about their air supply as Bob.

Now pretend this is a conjunction. If it is, we should be able to take away the conjunction and make two grammatically complete sentences if we complete the second one with the implied clause:

Alice is as worried about their air supply. Bob is worried about their air supply.

But as we are told, is an adverb, used in comparison, and it is the former as that is the operative one, so maybe I am being dense, but why can't than be an adverb?

Either way, these thought experiments are all very fascinating, but don't really help. As Wiktionary accurately observes:

prescriptionist rule [that it should be treated as a conjunction ] … is inconsistent with well-established usage

Against my usual convention, in researching I turned to the etymology last:

O.E. þan, conjunctive particle used after a comparative adjective or adverb, from þanne, þænne, þonne "then" (see then). Developed from the adverb then, and not distinguished from it in spelling until c.1700.

The earliest use is in West Germanic comparative forms, i.e. bigger than (cf. Du. dan, Ger. denn), which suggests a semantic development from the demonstrative sense of then: A is bigger than B, evolving from A is bigger, then ("after that") B. Or the word may trace to O.E. þonne "when, when as," such as "When as" B is big, A is more (so).

It is possible, þen, þat it has a dual heritage, a parallel evolution from "þen" - then, and "þonne" - when (how I wish I had thorn on my keyboard). This would mean that, you would be a bigendian if you followed the descent from þen and a littleendian if you followed the descent from þonne. Probably, the twain shall meet, and it seems likely that they will meet on:

I hope you're smarter than me
I hope you're smarter than I am
but not
I hope you're smarter than I.


Weird Words #9: Cherish

There are very few proper English words that I can honestly say are not in my vocabulary. This is one of them. I have no idea what it means, and I have never used it in a sentence other than to say that I don't get it.

I think this falls into a weird cognitive category of words whose meaning never got firmly attached for me. There are a number of reasons for this, but in this particular case, I think it's a combination of this word not being used by anyone in my immediate family, combined with the distracting voiceless palato-alveolar sibilant (the sound of the letters 'ch') at either end meaning that whenever anyone else used it, I just got hung up on the noise. Which is a weird noise.

My go-to dictionaries have the following to say about this word:

Doug Harper:

early 14c., cherischen, from O.Fr. cheriss-, extended stem of chierir (12c., Mod.Fr. chérir) "to hold dear," from chier "dear," from L. carus "dear, costly, beloved" (see whore). Cf. It., Sp., Port. caro; O.Prov., Catalan car. Related: Cherished; cherishing.

Deceptively simple. It seems to mean "the figurative act of holding onto something of value" - a combination of possession and affection?


1. To treat with tenderness and affection; to nurture with care; to protect and aid.
2. To hold dear; to embrace with interest; to indulge; to encourage; to foster; to promote; as, to cherish religious principle.
3. (obsolete) To cheer, gladden. 

(1) seems to have nothing to do with possession at all. Hmmmm. (2) is all over the place. (3) is deeply suspect.

Urban Dictionary:

1. cherish 111 up, 32 down
To love;
To Treasure.
"I cherish you dearly."

2. Cherish 101 up, 33 down
a beautiful & happy woman. one that loves deeply, a strong woman with a lot of friends. sexy with great legs. likes to have fun, does what she wants and doesn't what people think about it. loves life, friends & family. a loyal friend that you can count on to be there.
"Cherish is awesome!"

Colour me unenlightened; though I think we know what ballpark, or at least what county we're in.

1 a : to hold dear : feel or show affection for 
b : to keep or cultivate with care and affection : nurture 
2 : to entertain or harbor in the mind deeply and resolutely 

I think I have a serious problem. If I read the definitions from Webster I kind of get it, up to the point when I read the example, when it all collapses again. I wonder if it's quantum.