31 January 2012

5 wordy


in maph, when i first started writing about jackie, i kept a notecard on which i would write words. weird words, arcane words, clever words, foreign words. really just any words that caught my attention.

the goal was to then work these words into the jackie book. as a personal joke but also as a means of upping the ante. because i thought biography could sound and be smart and, thus far, none of the biographies of her had.

a few weeks ago, during an interview, an author said something that's stuck with me. as a side-note to my inane statement about how the story she had written read like a novel, she drifted into a discussion about words.

and she said this: that we as writers have an obligation to stretch ourselves and incorporate obscure or antiquated words into our work. that it is our responsibility as writers to keep these words alive lest they fall into disuse and fall out of the vernacular.

i heart that notion so hard. because there's nothing so subversive as words. and i don't think it's a coincidence that, when reading this author's book, i unconsciously slipped back into my old habit, jotting down the words that struck me, writing on the back flap the words i wanted to savor and to use.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

I still remember how excited you were one afternoon when I randomly said the word swath.

One of my fondest word-geekiest moments ever.

mak said...

Truth: I used to work the word "juxtaposition" into every paper I wrote in college, just because I could. Even creative assignments were subject to this rule.

mak said...

Speaking of words to love, I present to you "gambol" which means "to skip about in play : frisk, frolic"

mak said...

I also present to you "stiction: the force required to cause one body in contact with another to begin to move"

oline said...

wait. that can't be real. is it?