Wordy Wednesday

words

WORDY: using or containing many (usually too many) words

I embrace Wednesdays in my own way. In lieu of a photo, I offer you this random collection of other people’s words that impacted me this week as well as a handful of new words I added to my vocabulary.

Other People’s Words


This week, I’m reading The Word Exchange by Alena Graedon.  I’m about 70 pages in but not sure that I’ll finish the book.  The story hasn’t hooked me the way I hoped it would.  The book is based on an interesting and intriguing version of the future, but just doesn’t fit my reading mood right now.  I want a book with a faster pace that gives me a sense of progress over my morning coffee.  Frankly, I need a book with shorter chapters.  Shallow, but true.  I like Graedon’s writing and hope to try the book again when life has more space for long periods of reading.

Here’s a great passage from the opening chapter:

…Words, I’ve come to learn, are pulleys through time.  Portals into other minds.  Without words, what remains? Indecipherable customs.  Strange rites.  Blighted hearts.  Without words, we’re history’s orphans.  Our lives and thoughts erased….

Words I Had to Ask Webster About


  • Ennui: a lack of spirit, enthusiasm, or interest
  • Perspicacity: of acute mental vision or discernment, keen
  • Ribald: characterized by or using coarse indecent humor

 

Wordy Wednesday

VERDICT: the finding or decision of a jury on the matter submitted to it in trial 

My heart is heavy and I am relieved that today is a day when, as a matter of habit, I rely on the words of others.  In this time when I find myself at a loss for words of my own, I am taking refuge in these words from a Benedictine blessing:

May God bless you with a restless discomfort about easy answers, half-truths and superficial relationships, so that you may seek truth boldly and love deep within your heart.

May God bless you with holy anger at injustice, oppression, and exploitation of people, so that you may tirelessly work for justice, freedom, and peace among all people.

May God bless you with the gift of tears to shed with those who suffer from pain, rejection, starvation, or the loss of all that they cherish, so that you may reach out your hand to comfort them and transform their pain into joy.

May God bless you with enough foolishness to believe that you really can make a difference in this world, so that you are able, with God’s grace, to do what others claim cannot be done…

Wordy Wednesday

WORDY: using or containing many (usually too many) words

I embrace Wednesdays in my own way. In lieu of a photo, I offer you this random collection of other people’s words that impacted me this week as well as a handful of new words I added to my vocabulary. I acknowledge that I am offering you less than the going exchange rate of 1,000 words per picture. Forgive me.

Other People’s Words


I’ve been plodding my way through Drinking: A Love Story by Caroline Knapp for the past few weeks and finally finished. It was assigned reading for my memoir class. I found the book relentless, but there’s no arguing that Knapp articulates important insights about both alcoholics and alcoholism:

…I’d created two versions of myself: the working version, who sat at the desk and pounded away at the keyboards, and the restaurant version, who sat at the table and pounded away at white wine. In between for five or ten minutes at a stretch, the real version would emerge: the fearful version, tense and dishonest and uncertain. I rarely allowed her to emerge for long. Work – all that productive, effective, focused work – kept her distracted and submerged during the day. And drink – anesthetizing and constant – kept her too numb to feel at night…

Alcohol travels through families like water over a landscape, sometimes in torrents, sometimes in trickles, always shaping the ground it covers in inexorable ways…

As a reprieve from assigned reading, I dove into Sue Monk Kidd’s absorbing novel The Invention of Wings. I was enjoying reading purely for pleasure so much that I failed to mark all the passages I loved. But here’s one:

…I saw then what I hadn’t seen before, that I was very good at despising slavery in the abstract, in the removed and anonymous masses, but in the concrete, intimate flesh of the girl beside me, I’d lost the ability to be repulsed by it. I’d grown comfortable with the particulars of evil. There’s a frightful muteness that wells at the center of all unspeakable things, and I had found my way into it…

Kidd also expanded my vocabulary with the words below.

Words I Had to Ask Webster About


  • Adroitness: skill, cleverness, resourcefulness in handling situations
  • Peccadillo: a small mistake or fault that is not regarded as very bad or serious
  • Supercilious: coolly and patronizingly haughty
  • Vacuous: lacking meaning, importance, or substance

 

Wordy Wednesday

words

WORDY: using or containing many (usually too many) words

I embrace Wednesdays in my own way. In lieu of a photo, I offer you this random collection of other people’s words that impacted me this week as well as a handful of new words I added to my vocabulary.  I acknowledge that I am offering you less than the going exchange rate of 1,000 words per picture.  Forgive me.

Other People’s Words


This week, I read Wild by Cheryl Strayed. The third time was indeed a charm.  I’d struggled to get past the beginning of this book twice before.  The first time, I hit the simile “a voice as soft as the penis in his pants” and just couldn’t shake it off.  The second time, I made it a little deeper into the book, but the narrator’s actions and behavior made it impossible for me to root for her enough to make it through three hundred pages about her struggles.  This time it was assigned reading for my memoir class and reading it with a writer’s eye was enough to get me over the initial hurdles I’d hit in previous attempts.  In the end, I ended up really liking the book and appreciating it both as a writer and as a reader.  Here are a few passages that spoke to me:

…Alone had always felt like an actual place to me, as if it weren’t a state of being, but rather a room where I could retreat to be who I really was….

…I couldn’t’ break it down into a list. I couldn’t land on love or security, confidence or a sense of belonging.  A father who loved you as a father should was greater than his parts…

…Foot speed was a profoundly different way of moving through the world than my normal modes of travel. Miles weren’t things that blazed dully past. They were long, intimate straggles of weeds and clumps of dirt, blades of grass and flowers that bent in the wind, trees that lumbered and screeched.  They were the sound of my breath and my feet hitting the trail one step at a time and the click of my ski pole…

Words I Had to Ask Webster About


  • Aphoristic: a terse formulation of a truth or sentiment
  • Opprobrium: public disgrace or ill fame that follows from conduct considered grossly wrong or vicious

 

Wordy Wednesday

words

WORDY: using or containing many (usually too many) words

I embrace Wednesdays in my own way. In lieu of a photo, I offer you this random collection of other people’s words that impacted me this week as well as a handful of new words I added to my vocabulary.  I acknowledge that I am offering you less than the going exchange rate of 1,000 words per picture.  Forgive me.

Other People’s Words


This week, I finished Yoga Bitch by Suzanne Morrison.  She is a Seattle author and was a guest speaker at my writing class last night.  I confess to having a bit of a writer crush.  Her book is funny and authentic – the kind of book you walk away from wishing the author was your pal and regularly requested coffee dates.  Suzanne Morrison captures the internal struggles of faith and doubt with a lightness and ease that is approachable and engaging.  And, when she gave her talk to my writing class she emphasized the importance of reading as much as possible.  So, you know, I wanted to give her a hearty high-five.

Here are some excerpts to give you a taste of her writing style. I hope this serves as an appetizer and you pick up her book for the full meal deal.  If you’re a local, I have a hard copy I’m willing to lend.

A passage on doubt…

…Sometimes I think there might be a god out there, and that every once in a while he tunes in to see what we’re up to, and have a good laugh at how we like to dress him up in various costumes.  Robes, thorny crowns, yarmulkes and curls, saris and butt-hugging yoga pants.  Male, female, a genderless reincarnation factory; a Mother Earth or a withholding Father Christmas.  I would think it would amuse the hell out of him.  That we’re all idolaters, worshiping figments of our own creation who bear no resemblance to him.  Maybe he’s sitting in some alternate dimension somewhere, saying, “Shit, I didn’t even create the world! I was just cooking my dinner, not paying attention to the heat, and suddenly there was this big bang and a few hours later, a bunch of dinosaurs…”

And one on the desire for faith…

…The strongest among us are atheists. The weakest are those of us who would believe, if only we could.  We are the most susceptible to despair.  We want to believe, we sense there might be something out there, but we can’t find it, can’t feel it, or can’t believe in it.  And calling ourselves agnostics doesn’t do a damned bit of good…

And one about love and loss…

…A friend and I were having drinks a while back and got to talking about what, precisely, makes breaking up with someone you love but can’t be with so agonizing. We weren’t’ talking about those breakups where the love is dead, or was never there to begin with, or where one partner has so injured the other that there can be no future.  We were talking about the saddest kind of breakup, the one where you simply aren’t right for each other, no matter how much love there is between you.  The trouble, as we saw it, was that the moment you break up, the entire relationship distills down to that first essence you fell in love with. Gone are the irritations, pressures, anxieties. You don’t fixate on their hypocrisies or failures, or how they didn’t understand you.  You’ve broken up – there’s nothing left to rail against.  All that remains is the memory of that fist, purest love you felt for the other person, and that, we decided, sucks balls.  It hurts.  When all that’s left is that first love, the loss is so much greater – you  didn’t lose the person who, late in the relationship, made you feel trapped or duped or diminished.  You lost the person you first fell in love with, who you went to be dreaming about and woke up dying to see, the one who felt like the kind of home you’d always wanted to make…

Words I Had to Ask Webster About


  • Catafalque: an ornamental structure sometimes used in funerals for the lying in state of the body
  • Chiaroscuro: the arrangement or treatment of light and dark parts in a pictorial work of art; the interplay or contrast of dissimilar qualities
  • Exigent: expecting much time, attention, effort, etc., from other people
  • Prevaricate: to deviate from the truth

Wordy Wednesday

words

WORDY: using or containing many (usually too many) words

I embrace Wednesdays in my own way. In lieu of a photo, I offer you this random collection of other people’s words that impacted me this week as well as a handful of new words I added to my vocabulary.  I acknowledge that I am offering you less than the going exchange rate of 1,000 words per picture.  Forgive me.

Other People’s Words


This week, I finished The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty.  I read most of it on a weekend away from the kids and gave myself permission to just read for pleasure and get wrapped up in the story without bothering to pull quotes.  But, here are two passages I flagged when I got home and was reading with post-it notes in hand:

…Had they both been suffering a form of temporary insanity? It was a defense for murder, after all; why not for married couples?  Marriage was a form of insanity; love hovering permanently on the edge of aggravation…

…They’d be shocked for months, before they finally learned, like Rachel had, that the unthinkable happened, and the world kept turning, and people still talked at length about the weather, and there were still traffic jams and electricity bills, celebrity scandals and political coups…

Now, I’m reading Grasshopper Jungle by Andrew Smith.  I am struck by how well Smith can set a scene or capture a character with very few words.  Like this passage:

So the mall went up – built like a row of happy lower teeth – grinned for a while, and then about a year ago some of the shops there began shutting down, blackening out like cavities when people left our town for other, better places.

Smith also tucks substantive observations in small sentences throughout the book. No expansive explanations, just tightly packed sentences the reader can take time to unpack if s/he wishes.  Like these:

…History chews up sexually uncertain boys, and spits us out as recycle, generic greeting cards for lonely old men…

…Everyone knows I love you, too does not mean I love you. The too makes it a concession, a gesture, an instinct of politeness…

Words I Had to Ask Webster About


  • Bildungsroman: a novel about the moral and psychological growth of the main character
  • Eponymous: of, relating to, or being the person or thing for whom or which something is named
  • Schadenfreude: a feeling of enjoyment that comes from seeing or hearing about the troubles of others