Ramona Wildeman has written a book about collective nouns. (Special to the Langley Advance Times)

Ramona Wildeman has written a book about collective nouns. (Special to the Langley Advance Times)

‘A holiness of donuts’ and other quirky collective nouns are in Langley writer’s new book

Groupings of objects afford writer to delve into colourful language

Ramona Wildeman couldn’t manage to fit ‘a flamboyance of flamingos’ into her first book but she did keep ‘a flight of dragons’ and many more unique phrases.

One of the collective nouns in the book is the title, Siege of Herons, Collective Nouns Alphabetically. There’s 26 collective nouns, one for each letter of the alphabet.

Most people know the common terms for groupings of items or animals, such as a bunch of bananas, a school of fish, or a herd of bison.

Wildeman has always been fascinated with the charm and colour of some collective nouns.

“There is nothing wrong with using the word ‘bunch’, but much for interesting and fun to say a down of sheep, an intrusion of cockroaches,” she said. “So much more descriptive! We play a game in my family: find a collective noun for something that does not have one. For example what do you call a group of skateboarders? A deck, a slide?”

The notion of this book followed her for many years thanks to her love of language.

“I have always wanted to be an author. I found my Grade 2 report card when we were moving my folks and it was right there as a answer to ‘What do you want to be when you grow up?’,” she said. “Took me a while.”

The book has been following her around for a long time so when she decided to write it, the process was pretty quick.

“It did not take me long because I have had the working idea or list for many years,” she said.

And the book is pretty close to her original vision.

“It is pretty darn close,” Wildeman said. “I had originally wanted a different title – but in the time that I wrote the book someone else published a book with the exact same title. At the time I was devastated but, I believe things happen for a reason. Herons are significant to me.”

She hopes the book will find an audience with people of different ages.

“I envision this book for adults who love words and language and want to share that love with young ones,” she said.

It doesn’t have the pastel tones and cartoonish images often associated with books for children. That’s thanks to illustrator Lou Dahl.

The self-publisher connected her with the Vancouver-based artist who also does photography, and web design.

“It was very important to me that I work with a B.C. illustrator. We hit it off right away,” Wildeman said.

Now that the book she didn’t know she wanted to write is done, Wildeman plans to write a companion book but won’t divulge details yet.

Seige of Herons is available in soft cover on Amazon and hard cover on her website anacceptabletime.com.

She’s seen copies shipped around the world and received compliments from buyers about the way the art, its colours and quirkiness works so well with the nouns.

Wildeman has also had time to put the book in context. It may have been something she wanted to write for a long time, but she’s pleased with how it came about.

“I think that this project is a perfect example of having an idea and not knowing how where or how to proceed, but if you tell enough people, things align and help arrives and dreams come true,” Wildeman said.

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Ramona Wildeman had been contemplating writing a book about a favourite topic – collective nouns – and now it’s been published. (Heather Colpitts/Langley Advance Times)

Ramona Wildeman had been contemplating writing a book about a favourite topic – collective nouns – and now it’s been published. (Heather Colpitts/Langley Advance Times)

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