Monday, April 16, 2012

I Like Words

Today, a friend of mine posted this on Facebook:

"Becoming a writer is not a 'career decision' like becoming a doctor or a policeman. You don't choose it so much as get chosen, and once you accept the fact that you're not fit for anything else, you have to be prepared to walk a long, hard road for the rest of your days." ~Paul Auster

Writers often say such things. We're kind of drama queens. But I've never felt like other writers in this regard. Perhaps it's because I never believed I would actually get to be a writer. I consider writing more fun than philosophical imperative. Most likely it's because I'm a second-rate writer to the Asters of the world. (I never could finish his New York Trilogy, but love the likes of J.K. Rowling.)

Rather, these words express my feelings so much better. I like words too. They're odd little things to like so dearly, but there seems to be a fair few of us who do. Why is that? What is it about f-o-u-r little letters that can bring such brava to our hearts?

Words are the perfect meeting of the worlds - at once both material and immaterial, bringing together flesh and mind. The hard clicks of the tongue and the smacking of the lips catching and chewing wispy thoughts that otherwise float away. Words are as ethereal as the wind and as solid as a concrete bench. Words remembered reminisce with us. Other words strike when we're angry. Some whisper when we're sad.

But enough of my words. Here are just a few of the words that I have loved and that come and visit me on cold days like a cup of hot cocoa. I'm sure to remember more words once I've hit publish, so I'll put them in the comments, and please put yours there too.

perfidious

bombast

I will show you fear in a handful of dust.

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.

loll

You do not do, you do not do, anymore black shoe.

smug

buttercup

Einmal wenn ich dich verlier, wirst du schlafen konnen, ohne dass ich wie eine Lindenkrone mich verflustre uber dir?

effluvium

Thus, though we cannot make our sun stand still, yet we will make him run.

I grow old...I grow old...I shall wear the bottoms of my trousers rolled.

unctuous

The woods are lovely, dark and deep, but I have promises to keep.

snickerdoodle

I am glad you are here with me. Here at the end of all things, Sam.

8 comments:

Amber said...

salubrious

Mike Van Schooneveld said...

Truth be told, regarding the quote, it's entirely true, but it also fails to properly understand policemen and doctors and belittles them. Being a writer is no more or less special or fundamental. The truth is, there is a certain class of people who are mercenary in the decisions and make "career decisions". But for many people that isn't the case. People find out who they are and what excites them, and they choose what they choose because of who they are, just like a writer. You don't choose to be a doctor as a trivial "career decision", and if you did, you wouldn't make it most of the time. There has to be something in you that fundamentally is bent that way. Being a doctor even more than a writer, since you can't be a doctor casually, or for fun, or on the side. And most of us occupy a middle ground. We wanted to be writers, but not just any writer...John Grisham...or Shakespeare! But we settle for writing marketing copy for a decent company and maybe writing some freelance magazine articles. Who we are fundamentally drives us to our general calling (unless we're in extreme circumstances), and the reality of our circumstances guides us in our career choice within that spectrum. In the same vein: doctor personality, wants to be House, decides to be a pediatrician (spending less time unraveling mysteries and more time treating ear infections, but gets to help kids and live in a nice midsize city).

Anyway, the point is, we're al special, not just artists, in our own way, even if that way is something boring (to me) like being really happy doing math all day (like my brother in law). And he didn't choose that...it's who he was made to be. What he did with that was a career choice, but everyone, including writers and artists (unless they have patrons willing to sponsor wholesale indulgence of free exploration), has to do that. So, in that way, everyone is special and uniquely made for what they're made for, and everyone is subect to the demands and restrictions of circumstances. It doesn't sound catchy, and it makes for a less snappy quote, but this balanced approach has it's own beauty and symmetry to it.

As for my words: sesquipedalian, perfidious, noxious, duck, Tlatlacoli, igbagbo, baboon (but only the way a British person pronounces it), Hobbiton, crepuscular, and also maybe snickerdoodle...only I say it schneckenoodle.

Mike Van Schooneveld said...

Also, NERD ALERT!!! Where'd you get those dipthongs word nerd?

Amber said...

Crepuscular is the most disgusting word I've ever heard. Also, I do have nicely rounded diphthongs.

Anonymous said...

I like all words that start with the 'sph' sound....like spherical, sphinx, sphincter....sven....my all time favourite word to say out loud, 'Kunshasa' (don't even know if I spelt that right) it just sounds powerful. ~ from a aussie in the netherlands who just stumbled accross your blog one day and now reads it all the time :)

Amber said...

To an Aussie in the Netherlands (sounds like the title of a book a la "A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court"): Kinshasa is a wonderful word! (The capital of the DRC?)

In any case, it reminds me that I was woefully neglectful of so many African words/names I love: Lome, Mololo, Mma Ramatswe, JLB Matakone, asante sana, Zanzibar

barleygreen said...

Zwiebeln, fantastischspiel, brillig, plethora, sage, yore, epiphany and quixotic.

Gail said...

My favourite words whether spoken, acted or come in gift paper, are simply "I love you."

Yes, I know that's skewed almost off topic but worth a mention as it was what first came to my mind.

My other favourite words would be:

absquatulate (as said by a 4 yr old girl)

diddums

huna-huna

chocolate

banana

Aunty Gaiilll