Language…words, phrases, and sentences excite me. In fact, a deeply meaningful phrase is my favourite and probably why I am drawn to writing poetry. And, just so that you know, I love the ellipsis…I use it correctly and incorrectly with abandon! The same applies to the dash – and, don’t even get me started on the comma! What I am really passionate about is words…
I can be thrown by the ambiguous. Ambiguity and a lack of accuracy are the most common causes of discontent between me and my partner. (Read as “ most common causes of fights with my partner”. I often say “words matter”. I bet he loves that!)
I am disappointed by the basic unless the basic serves to enhance the meaning or to give clarity – and then the basic becomes beautiful simplicity. I long for the word or phrase to be clearer…to show me, to create a picture or feeling.
I understand the importance of context. Yet, I so often choose to leave small aspects of context out of my writing because I believe in the reader. I believe that the reader can make meaning and that grappling with meaning is not a negative thing – unless it takes away from the impact of story. Right now, in my writing, I am exploring the difference between what I call basic-ambiguity and lack of context. I want to know how these things impact my writing and ultimately the reading experience.
My daughter is an artist and she prefers to let the audience determine the meaning of a painting – there is no correct way to interpret one of her pieces. Perhaps I am a bit like she is when it comes to my writing. I am beginning to own this aspect of style – to let go of the voices that criticize this way of believing in the reader. My writing is who I am.
I am my writing…imperfect. I celebrate this imperfection. But seriously, doesn’t the perfect word or phrase just give you a rush?
I believe in story in all forms. We are our stories. As we live, our past stories give us a foundation of hope. “If I could live through that, I can live through this”. And, the just-right words create the story.
When the words themselves and their order are right, when they are chosen either carefully through thought and research, or through an expression of profound emotion, they can make me think critically, weep or laugh from my gut (commas yikes). I enjoy the challenge of finding the just-right word. One of my favourite tools is the thesaurus. I am not always able to retrieve the just-right word until I “see” it. This declining ability to retrieve the just-right word has to do with stress, age, being overwhelmed…you name it and it will give me brain fog. Thank God for online tools. Just so that you know, my old, tattered thesaurus that got me through many an academic paper, still sits on my book shelf. It is a loyal friend that I am unable to send to the thrift store.
Today, I found a new website that made my heart beat rapidly at the anticipation of all the incredible things I could learn quickly about words and what makes them just-right: the Online Etymology Dictionary.
I am stirred to write. But, I began with excited. The struggle is real!
Stirred is a synonym for excited and it fits how I am feeling. It is accurate. And that brings a smile to my face! Just an interesting note: My grammar check wanted me to insert excited instead of stirred – no way! I am stirred up…I often go on a deeper dive to make sure that a synonym is the just-right word. I look up its meaning and I like to see it used in sentences. Context matters!
Giving credit where credit belongs…recommendations:
- I just type in a word and the word synonym next to it and wahla! My browser does all the work. How do you think I found stirred? 🙂
- The Words Matter image was created with https://wordart.com/create Word art is a way to write with “beautiful simplicity”. Try creating some of your own.
- The Online Etymology Dictionary https://www.etymonline.com/ (Many sources are listed on the home page for deeper research.)