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This April 2013 New Yorker piece by John McPhee, “Draft No. 4,” purports to be about how to get over writer’s block. It has some good advice. For instance, personalizing your audience can quell writing anxiety and reignite your enthusiasm for your subject:

You are writing, say, about a grizzly bear. No words are forthcoming. For six, seven, ten hours no words have been forthcoming. You are blocked, frustrated, in despair. You are nowhere, and that’s where you’ve been getting. What do you do? You write, ‘Dear Mother.’ And then you tell your mother about the block, the frustration, the ineptitude, the despair. You insist that you are not cut out to do this kind of work. You whine. You whimper. You outline your problem, and you mention that the bear has a fifty-five-inch waist and a neck more than thirty inches around but could run nose-to-nose with Secretariat. You say the bear prefers to lie down and rest. The bear rests fourteen hours a day. And you go on like that as long as you can. And then you go back and delete the ‘Dear Mother’ and all the whimpering and whining, and just keep the bear.”

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The piece is also about the creative promise of digression. In fact, the entire article is one long tap dance of detours and deflections, as McPhee moves from the subject of writer’s block to his habit of consulting the dictionary for inspiration to flashbacks about his tete-a-tetes with the holy officiants of that fabled institution of the New Yorker’s copy editing department. One of McPhee’s digressions is into the subject of demonyms — that is, the name of the residents of a given city or country — which comes up when a New Yorker copy editor questions McPhee’s use of Manchesterians to name the residents of Manchester, New Hampshire.
Mary Norris wrote on the proof, “Would you like ‘Mancunians’?”
It was as if she had handed me a rare gold coin. Five years later, when I happened to be writing about lacrosse in Manchester, England, I worked in the word “Mancunian” three times in one short paragraph. It was the second-best demonym I’d ever heard, almost matching Vallisoletano (a citizen of Valladolid). The planet, of course, is covered with demonyms, and after scouring the world in conversations on this topic with Mary Norris I began a severely selective, highly subjective A-list, extending Mancunian and Vallisoletano through thirty-five others at this writing, including Wulfrunian (Wolverhampton), Novocastrian (Newcastle), Trifluvian (Trois-Rivières), Leodensian (Leeds), Minneapolitan (Minneapolis), Hartlepudlian (Hartlepool), Liverpudlian (you knew it), Haligonian (Halifax), Varsovian (Warsaw), Providentian (Providence), and Tridentine (Trent).
Say them to yourself. Wulfrunian sounds earthy but dignified with a touch of pomp — I sense coarse beards on ruffled collarsMinneapolitan seems to have about it a cheerful Saran Wrap of self-aware pretense — a striver who’ll still have a beer with you. Tridentine? Trent is nowhere near the ocean, but I’m quite readily seeing noble Poseidon-worshippers with wavy blue hair strolling through the dingy brick streets. 
It sent me on a digression, too, thinking about our own, comparatively impoverished demonym: Las Vegan. I don’t know what I get when I swish that around in my mind. It feels matter of fact, with a touch of desert dust and a hint, but only a hint, of Western swagger. But there’s no neon in it, no color, no bedraggled allure or even schmaltz. The same goes for Nevadan. It evokes a noncommittal rusticity, sketches the vague outlines of a some kinda-sorta Western figure who may or may not be a cowboy.
It makes you wonder whether we could do better, and whether doing better might result in some invisible uptick in our collective spirit or self-concept or something.
  • Vegasite No. We sound like a race of sentient mineral beings.
  • Vegan Uh, we are not a finicky, transculent people.
  • Veganite Sounds like a Power Rangers spinoff about heroes with high-handed dietary restrictions.
  • LVeans Too cute.
  • Elvees Clearly getting desperate.
  • Radiants A bit cornily self-affirming, but, hey, it does capture some things about Vegas. The -iants suffix mimics the adjectival convention of a demonym.
  • Vegapolitan Sounded good in my head, but ... no.
  • Vegano Like Angelenos, right? Okay, guess not. 
  • Veganians Like Californians, right? 
  • Vegusian Too cosmic, goofy
  • Sinians You know, from Sin City. Okay, maybe not.
  • Sinizens Citizens of Sin City? Maybe? Maybe in the year 2045 ... in a Michael Bay movie. 
  • Neonians From neon, but pronounced nee-OH-neans. I admit, I kinda like this.
  • LavengianLavesian Here, I’m trying to conflate Las and Vegas in a loose, Wulfrunian kinda way, and then give it some demonymic backspin. Has a bit of lift and dignity to it, wouldn’t you say?
  • Lavengite Sounds like an ancient biblical tribe, or a Quaker offshoot, or a mineral. No.
  • Elvesian Pronounced el-VEE-zhian; brings in “LV” and a touch of Elvis, but looks too much like elves. 
  • Vegonian Doesn’t quite have the stiff whiff of, say, Varsovian, but I wanted to see what it looked like.
  • Vargovian Inspired by “Varsovian,” yes, it wanders a bit too far from its Vegas roots, but, wow, doesn’t it make us seem like a bunch of highborn baccarat sharps who’ve inherited a fallen world. Yes!
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