Tag Archives: words

Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious

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It’s possible to fit a day into a word.

In college, you get a lot of blah days. Grey days. Long days. Odd days.

And of course, triumphant days, or serious days, or tiresome days, or joyful days, or simply happy days.

Or sad days.

A day could be wearisome, lonesome, confusing, troubling, irritating, bubbly, wild, weird, fun, exciting, bewildering, hilarious, bizarre, busy, terrible, wonderful, marvelous, splendiferous, even supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.

But sometimes…just sometimes…it’s impossible to fit a day into one word. Not even one moment of that day, not even the most memorable, could possibly fit into a single word.

Sometimes words are not enough. Not even supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.

Today was such a day.

Small Talk

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It’s great to be back. 

There’s nothing quite like seeing people that you haven’t seen in three months. People who are important to you. People who are irreplaceable parts of your personal history. 

I keep getting tackled. Not floored, mind, just bear hugged when I least expect to be bear hugged. There’s nothing like a happy reunion to make your day better. 

Then come the inevitable rounds of “how was your summer?”

I can’t fit my summer in a sentence. This summer was very long. I feel like I can’t possibly describe it all and keep a person’s interest. This summer was the fullest of my life. It was phenomenal. It was earth-shattering. It was beyond wonderful. 

But what do I say in reply?

“Oh, it was great. How was yours?”

I get the distinct impression that other people feel the same way. There’s a lot hidden behind small talk that doesn’t come out in the open, which is part of why small talk makes me uncomfortable. I find myself trying to communicate with filler words and sounds, which don’t communicate anything and make me sound nervous. 

And then not everyone had wonderful summers. Some people’s summers just stunk. And it’s hard to communicate genuine empathy when 1) I had a great summer and 2) I don’t know exactly what it is that the person faced.

I’ve written myself into a hole, here. I suppose I’m trying to say that a few short words can’t hold a summer, and I wonder why we try.  

6

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I can write poems.

Perhaps this shouldn’t have been so big of a surprise. After all, I’d been writing poems on and off since I was nine. Bad poems with forced rhymes and overly emotional language, but poems none the less. A baby’s first steps are hardly those of a ballerina, but they’re still steps.

Words are always bouncing around in my head. They’re the screensaver when my brain shuts down for the night. I’m always trying to think of the cleverest way of putting things. I like to rhyme. I also like not to rhyme. I like to string images together to spell a word. I like to string words together to make a thought. Glue the thoughts together to make an image, and start the cycle over again.

I love making poems. I haven’t made on in a very long time. Not one I’m proud of, anyway.

Things happened last year that made me want to poem. I poemed a lot. They’re all over the blog—nonsense poems, ballads, sonnets, free verse, villanelles, sestinas, a whole poem zoo. I took a poetry writing class—the only one the university offers—and I was hooked. I couldn’t stop. I wrote barrels of them, many of which didn’t end up online or anywhere, just in little notebooks that traveled with me everywhere.

I’ll say nothing about their quality because I’m not a very good judge. Enthusiasts don’t always make the best judges of their own creations. But I will say that there are several poems that I’m proud of. They give me a sense of personal satisfaction. Now, personal satisfaction does not a paycheck make, so I will have to improve if I’m going to make this poeming thing a source of turkey bacon.

Still. Anywhere is a start. 

Nothing to Say, No Time to Say It

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So here’s a list:

  1. Interviews. Why do they exist?
  2. Take time for people. Really. Just do.
  3. Who is Meg March?
  4. You appreciate laughing more when you can’t do it for a while.
  5. Roses are beautiful, especially when made out of napkins.
  6. Roller skating beats bowling any day.
  7. Always make sure that if you have a link in a document to change the link color to black.
  8. The Doctor will never be a woman. This breaks both my hearts.
  9. Keep calm and om nom nom.
  10. Do not be afraid to dream. 

The Week in a List

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  1. There is no such thing as enough sleep.
  2. You are never too old for Disney movies.
  3. Good friends make everything better.
  4. Working ahead is very rewarding.
  5. Falling behind most definitely is not.
  6. Doughnuts are delicious, especially when paired with coffee and a read-through of the libretto to a musical. That you’re in.
  7. Rain makes umbrellas sprout along the dormitory halls like colorful mushrooms.
  8. Actions speak louder than words, even if those actions are communicated via text messaging or email.
  9. A chaplain’s work is never done.
  10. It is Autumn Eve. Brace yourselves, pumpkin everything is coming.
  11. God is always good, and His timing is always perfect. 

Flight of Fiction (15a)

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It was autumn in Berasia.

Kharador, the Golden City, was living up to its name as the trees shed their greenery for the rich yellow garments of fall. Smoke from the city’s chimneys mingled with the increasingly crisp air as its citizens traded their linens and cottons for wools. The Dogs roaming the streets wore thicker coats than summer would allow, and everywhere there was the spicy aroma of roasting apples.

It was the time of the banners. Blue and green banners, embroidered with the Golden Fox, fluttered from every arched window and lamppost and beneath every bridge and covered walkway. Little girls wore blue and green ribbons in their hair, giggling with excitement as they ran to the schoolhouses, beating their miniature tambourines, leading their Dogs by their leashes.

Up and down the street, stone-faced city guardsmen sat erect on their great grey Wolves which loped easily along the cobblestones, making the usual rounds. Even they wore green and blue armbands around their thick wrists. Steam puffed from the Wolves’ nostrils and over their great lolling tongues: clouds of warm mist in the chilly early morning air.

Blue and green and gold were everywhere.

Beyond the island city walls stretched the shimmering lake, which reflected the clean blue of the sky in the shards of its icy waters. The first of the ships were beginning to pull away from the city for the distant Berasian shore, their white sails fat in the steady breeze that ricocheted from the craggy city walls.

Within and without, the men and women of Kharador began the business of the autumn day, looking down at their hands or into the eyes of their neighbors, only looking up to check the placement of the sun or admire the fluttering banners glinting in its light.

They did not see the shadow running along the top of the turreted walls of their beloved city. The shadow whose dark hair streamed behind it as clouds of steam escaped from its lungs in the fiery exertion of an early morning run.

They did not see the Guardian. They never did.

(To my faithful readers: character scene requests? Who do you want more of–Nayr, Nacjar, Enilor, AIleen? Let me know in the comments. Thanks.)

Things Inquiring Minds Want to Know

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  1. Is the glass half full or half empty?
  2. How much wood would woodchuck chuck, if a woodchuck could chuck wood?
  3. Why do we drive on parkways and park in driveways?
  4. How many licks does it really take to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop?
  5. Why have Patrick Stewart, Will Smith, and Robert Downey Jr. not aged over the last ten years?
  6. What’s the name of the lady they recorded to do those obnoxious voicemail messages?
  7. Why doesn’t the groom march down the aisle at the beginning of a wedding?
  8. Why do dogs think they have to bark at everything that moves?
  9. How does an elephant pack his trunk?
  10. Why do we have one goose and two geese, but not one moose and two meese?
  11. Why do Americans call fried potato slices “French fries,” but the Bristish call them “chips.” Related question: why do they call chips “crisps”—or why do we call “crisps” “chips?”
  12. Why is traffic only bad when you’re in a hurry?
  13. When did women start wearing makeup?
  14. Why do we refer to pants in pairs, but never singularly? Why not save a syllable or two and call a “pant leg” a “pant”?
  15. Why are unpleasant people popular?
  16. Why don’t we call “butterflies” “flutterbys?” Because that’s what they do…they flutter by.
  17. Why is the bed impossibly uncomfortable when you’re trying to get to sleep, but a comfy as a cloud when it’s time to get up?
  18. Why can’t we pronounce 111 “eleventy one?”
  19. Why does time only fly when you’re having fun?
  20. Why does school have to start in less than a month?

Antiquity

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There’s something about old books.

It’s undefinable, this something. Maybe it’s the smell: that odor of incense and burning leaves, mixed with the smell of ink—if ink has a smell.

Or maybe it’s the battered edges—the dog-eared pages, the pencil scribblings in the margins, the pages that are torn or missing.

Maybe it’s the covers. Some have finger prints on the dust jackets. Some are bent, or have that book “overbite” where the front cover juts out ahead of the bottom one. Some were bound in leather in the 1920s or earlier. Some are paperbacks.

Oddly, some used books are untouched. No bends, scratches, torn pages—they even have the original price tags. The books that no one has read are perhaps the saddest.

Maybe it’s that every time you pick up a used book, you pick up a part of someone else’s journey. Who knows what the last owner was thinking when he bought that book? Was he mourning the death of a loved one as he thumbed through that collection of Sandburg poems? Was she about to give Anna Karenina to her best friend when she discovered she already had a copy? When that student made that notation in the margin of Edith Hamilton’s Mythology, had she eaten that night? How many hands has this book, this story, been passed through?

How many stories has this story been a part of?

Sometimes I wonder if, in the years to come, I’ll amble through a used books store and find a book I’ve written on a shelf. I hope that book will be dog-eared and underlined and bent, with signs of being carried around in pockets and purses, mulled over, re-read, and shared with dozens of people. I don’t care if it’s not on the best seller list. If one person—only one—liked my story enough to it a part of theirs, then, well, that’s enough.

An old book is simply that—an old book—a shell with words. But this undefinable “something” is the story within—and the stories we all hope to write for ourselves.

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How ‘Bout That Vibrant Parmesan?

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Have you ever had an adjective attack?

Perhaps I should explain myself. And adjective attack is when you are hear an adjective so apt, so tasteful, so beautifully placed to describe an object that you just have to stop and say, “Good gracious, that was lovely.”

Yesterday I was at the wedding shower for one of my adopted sisters. Among many other yummy goodies, including but not limited to a mountain of strawberries and the obligatory chocolate fondue fountain, there was a soufflé dish full of some sort of dip. I scooped up a dollop of the stuff onto a whole wheat cracker (because everybody knows that putting something on a whole wheat cracker automatically negates all the calories) and took a bite. I detected spinach, some sort of cheese, and little chunks of something crunchy and tangy. I learned later that this was a spinach artichoke dip lovingly prepared by the bride-to-be’s father.

But I am not necessarily here to discuss the merits of the dip. I am here to give an illustration of an adjective attack, which in this case happened very shortly after taking a bite of artichoke and spinach on a wheat thin.

Another attendee took a bite at about the same time. While I do not have skilled enough taste buds to be able to detect the variety of cheese in a dish by flavor, this young woman clearly did. She took one bite, let out a little exclamation of pleasure and promptly said “Oh, my, how yummy! I’ve never tasted anything quite like it. The parmesan is so vibrant.”

I stopped mid-chew. Vibrant. Parmesan. Vibrant parmesan.

This was the adjective attack. Something clicked in the writer-ly corner of my brain. Never before had I entertained the idea that cheese could be vibrant. But the evidence was in my mouth. It was in fact very vibrant parmesan. That was what made the dip so delicious.

Why, yes, reader. I am a word nerd. However did you guess?

Lysdexic

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It’s probably a bad thing that an aspiring writer cannot type.

I blame my elementary school typing teacher. She forced us to use a program to learn how to type that was more of a video game than an instructive system. (For those of you who don’t know me, video games scare me, and my parents taught me to entertain myself with books, thank you very much, so I hated the thought of even a moderately fast-paced computer game.) It had complicated, nerve-wracking challenges, and the program screamed at me every time I made a mistake. I learned to type while staring at the keyboard, just so I wouldn’t mess up. I did fine—until the teacher brought out the traffic-cone orange keyboard skins that fit over the keys so we couldn’t see what they were anymore. Computer class usually ended with yours truly disintegrating into a puddle of tears on the classroom floor, my sanity scalded by a supposedly “kid friendly” typing instruction program. The normal kids, the ones with quick reflexes and agile fingers, would stare at me like I was a pudgy-fingered freak from mars, defeated by an earthling computer.

I can type alright now. But I still stare at the keyboard. Only this year, 11 years after typing class, have I started to notice that I can look up at the keyboard 50% of the time. If I’m typing in German or hammering out an unfamiliar word, you can forget about it.

But to this day, I either can’t hit the shift key and a letter at the same time, or I hold the shift key for too long. So I end up with a lowercase “i” or the word “DEcember.” Any word with “tion” on the end get scrambled: “exertion” becomes “exertino,” “revolution” become “revolutino,” etc. I’m not trying to write in Spanish, honest. In fact, I scramble words constantly. Just now, “word” became “wrod” when I tried to type it into the post. Autocorrect is always doing overtime when I try to write anything, anything at all. I’m a typing lysdexic—I mean, dyslexic.

Whenever I reach for the backspace, inevitably I’ll end up hitting either the “\” or the “=.” So instead of a line of correctinos==ons i\I’ll get a line fo==of equals sings\\\ngs.

Moral of the story: write out manuscripts by hand until I get published and earn enough money to hire someone who’ll take dictation.

The end.