I love Words
Writers are inspired by everything. We might be drawn to how a dog sniffs his way around a park to how people move down crowded rainy streets. Me, as much as anything else, it’s words.
I love words. So many words, such a small dictionary.
I subscribe to all sorts of Word-a-days. I adopted an arcane word–utible–and attempt to use it weekly (daily turned out to be non-utible. People get angry if you use words they don’t understand. Even the members of my writer’s group pushed back on me). I love finding new words that say exactly what I mean. How about abecederian? Make a guess what that means and you’re probably right. It rolls off your tongue like it’s meant to be.
I have a pretty good vocabulary. A first-grade student uses roughly 1,000 words. A college grad uses ten percent of the 50-70,000 in the dictionary. I’m at the upper end of the ‘college grad’ category not in my spoken language nor my written, but in my knowledge. I have a list of about five hundred fun words—those multi-syllable ones that so perfectly fit a situation, but who would ever come up with them?
I love finding authors who aren’t afraid to use rare words in their writing. Elizabeth George is one. Another is Ted Bell, creator of Lord Alexander Hawke and his merry escapades. I’m reading his latest novel, Warlord and to my joy, ran across one of my favorite words—demesne, as in personal domain and pronounced ‘demain‘. When I discovered this word several years ago, I attempted to use it in conversation (to get comfortable with my new discovery). I walked through my backyard with my husband and told him I was surveying our demesne. He didn’t know this word, so I spelled it and it became our joke to pronounce it phonetically–demesne (speaking the silent ‘s’).
What fun when I found this very word, used in context, in Ted Bell’s book Warlord, written as though it was just another lordly elocution. But then, that’s Bell. If you haven’t read him, do. He’s a wonderfully accomplished action-thriller writer not afraid to challenge readers with interesting words.
I’ve written a lot in my blog on words—and to my amazement, find them my more-popular posts. Check these out:
- Ten Favorite Geek Words (Part I, II, III)–my third most popular post out of 371
- Beautiful Words–29th most popular post out of 371
- Ten Favorite Words (Part I, II, III, IV)--30th out of 371
On the other hand, words are not as powerful–with apologies to all my writer friends–as a well-timed silence. Consider this from Martin Luther King:
In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.