Words and their Wicked Ways

As an avid reader and dedicated writer, the power of words never ceases to amaze me. I find myself drawn to certain words and repelled by others. The sound of a word on my tongue can sometimes overpower the sound of it in my mind.  The cadence of the syllables wraps around me as would a lilting instrumental melody. The image it plants in my mind is like a brand, hot and powerful searing into my subconscious and on my soul. They create a balance that speaks to me on a level that goes deeper than intellectual comprehension.

I love words. I should, I’m an author, an editor, a reader. My love for words goes farther than just enjoying the story. It’s the power they wield over me. They make me laugh, cry, and rage.  They make me question myself and the world around me. What would I be without words? A blank page.

I’m always curious about words, where they came from, what they mean, and how they’ve evolved. Most intriguing to me is when a word can have multiple meanings, hinging on how they are used by the speaker/author.

What words strike you? The ones that make you grin when you read them, savoring the familiar feel of them in your mind and on your tongue. Shall I share my favorite one with you…

wicked

What image did it put in your mind?  Did you imagine a villain, standing in the shadows his eyes blazing with fury?  Did you picture a witch or a warlock with a sinister smile playing on their lips?

Or did it bring something else to your mind?  A sinful thought? The desire to do something that you know is forbidden or that you promised yourself you wouldn’t do? What about using it to call something delightful or amazing?

The connotations of the word wicked can be positive or negative, depending on the context in which it is used. Both the good and the bad tangled up in one innocuous little word. This is why I love it so much. It’s the perfect representation of the connotations we give to words.

So tell me…what words do you like that have multiple associations?

Wicked_word

The Poor (Abused) Apostrophe S

Don't confuse possessive for plural.

Stop the abuse of the apostrophe S.

I’m taking a bit of a risk today, letting y’all see behind my mild-mannered mask of normalcy…

 Language changes.  It evolves.  That’s a good thing.  Language use in speech is much less formal than the written  word and God knows texting has made things less formal.  However, unless I missed a major memo, we did not agree as English-speaking peoples of earth, to combine possessive and plural word endings or use them interchangeably!

It’s huge.  I’ve seen it all over the internet, on billboards, in print ads.  It is my singular pet peeve and inordinately irritating.  Truly, I sometimes see red.  Seriously, did I miss this memo?  It seems I’m the only one so offended.

On the off chance I’m not alone, here’s a series of sentences.  In each group, one sentence is glaringly wrong.

The Carson’s are coming to dinner.
The Carsons are coming to dinner
The Carsons’ daughter is coming to dinner.

I need to get my girl’s from school.
I need to get my girls from school.
I need to get my girl’s homework from school.

I’ve never liked banana’s.
I’ve never liked bananas
I’ve never liked a banana’s taste.

Vegetable’s are good for you.
Vegetables are good for you.
A vegetable’s vitamins are good for you.

I have the best customer’s.
I have the best customers.
I have the best customers’ reviews.

Husband’s are nice to have.
Husbands are nice to have.
A husband’s presence is nice to have.

So tell me.  Am I truly alone in this?  Am I the only one bothered by the misuse of the apostrophe?

Does a word by any other definition sound as sweet?

Shakespeare's Words by Calamity MegWords.  Little shapes strategically scattered across paper drawn in ink, graphite, pigment, or blood.

Words.  Tiny characters that build dreams, establish worlds, and birth new life.

Words.  Creation and destruction defined together on a single piece of parchment.

Words are to be honored, dissected, and savored when writing.  As a writer, each word should be delicately plucked from a vast vocabulary and laid out within prose to give rise to imagination.  Writing should be a laborious, intense journey to script the perfect literary concoction.

Writing is an art of dexterity, cognition, and inspiration.

Creatively, I am a very slow writer.  Plots, scenes, and characters actively swirl through my mind, but it takes me weeks to complete a 10,000-word story.  My lack of speed is due to the constant analysis of each word snared from my brain’s lexicon.  Daintily, I set each word in place to structure my tale.  Once a draft is complete, the contents of the entire text are re-analyzed.  Each word and phrase boil within the sacred space of my mind where a bodiless voice continually asks, “how else can this be phrased?” or “what other superlative word can be used?”

I am known as a logophile: a lover of words.

I do not persistently revise my stories because I am a perfectionist; it is because I am never content with the final words that are chosen.  The innumerable possibilities of sentences haunt my mind, terrorizing my psyche that there is always another way to have my plots / ideas / scenes / characters portrayed.  I ache for the agonizing process of culling words.  The practice is my addiction.

There is an estimated 1,019,729 words in the English languages, and an unfathomable number of those words are synonyms.  Yet, each individual word evokes its own sense and beauty.

For instance, macabre has a higher degree of elegance than say ghastly or nightmarish.   Macabre evokes terror, yet retains a grandeur that the other two adjectives of horror lack.  I read into each word, tasting it on my tongue, balancing it with other words in a sentence.  Does it have the right fit?  Does it conjure up the experience that I want my reader to feel?

As I write and excavate through my vocabulary, I incessantly keep my reader on the forefront of my mind.  I want their worlds to be shaken by my writing.  I want them to be affected by each word that I fervidly hand pick.

A word is dead when it’s been said, some say.  I say it just begins to live that day.

                                                                                                                        -Emily Dickinson