Early this morning, a sweater draping my shoulders to keep the morning chill at bay and vanilla-flavored coffee to soothe the hunger inside, I reached for my crossword booklet—my mainstay in the quiet of mornings rising. Crosswords permeate my need for language, in this case synonyms—a word meaning same as another.

While assessing the Across-and-Down of puzzle Fifty-One, a synonym leapt from the page: eyelid [place for shadow-13 across]. This clue completed Malibu [beach resort-8 down].

The squares began to fill quickly until 15-across, which stopped me. The clue: Those holding power. The synonym that came instantly to my mind: THIEVES! The answer the booklet gave: INS. Of course, I don’t know what the author had in mind for 15-across so here are a few synonyms of my own: inner sanctum, being IN, insider…

Oh, number Fifty-One puzzle had yet one more synonym along the lines of thieves: Looter [plunderer-12 across]. Now that is a CROSS WORD!

Six Degrees of Separation

January 22, 2011 SIX DEGREES OF SEPARATION {Article first published as Six Degrees of Separation on Technorati.}

Many of us, those in the six-degrees-of-separation group for certain, know the term, and maybe even its premise. The doubters, you know who you are, say, “…an observation of some merit, but I’ve never seen it work in my life.” Others, like me, have surely rummaged around the internet (not always accurate but forever expedient) in search of a deeper understanding of this enigma.

I do credit the internet for this description: “Six degrees of separation is the theory that anyone on the planet can be connected to any other person on the planet through a chain of acquaintances that has no more than six intermediaries…”

Okay, so now I have a technical/researched explanation. I take a swig of my morning coffee followed by the last bite of raisin toast and resume my tour of cyberspace in search of sites that can further my knowledge of this hypothesis. A jumping-off place where I hope to meld theory with experience: something I call Janet’s Life! I donate an hour of my creative time until that not-so-quiet voice in my head tells me, “Your novel is…!”

That same evening, as I set the table for supper, an insight begins to bubble like the water that cooks our pasta: The only multiplier to this 6° phenomenon is to play a part in it.

My search is over. I have my answer: Our world is connected, be it by six degrees of separation or amongst those at our kitchen tables. Awareness: How I treat others is never separated from me by more than six degrees.