The Romance of Words

I have always loved words. Well, not all words, I admit. For instance, I love the word “flummoxed.” I used it in a recent post. It is a comfortable word that rolls off the tongue or flows from the pen in soft shades of blue and bubbles up like a fountain at the end. It is familiar like an old friend come to visit—endearing with a cup of tea. Now, mind you, I don’t particularly enjoy being flummoxed—though it’s not an unusual state for me. But it is a bearable one for having such an appealing name.

On the other hand, I dislike intensely—growing up, I wasn’t allowed to hate—the word “plethora.” I flinch whenever I hear it. It’s a prissy word that tries entirely too hard, thinks much too highly of itself, and sticks up its nose a smidgeon too high for my taste.

Still, all in all, I have had an on-going romance with the lexicon. I do not use “big” words though I have been unjustly accused of such more than a few times. My cousin once said I never vomited. I always regurgitated. Now admit it! Which would you rather do if given the choice? And one of my daughters-in-law finds her husband’s way of expressing himself unusual. “Who talks like that?” she often says. I try to be supportive of her assertion but confess to you I have never noticed anything out of the ordinary. I like to think he and I simply choose the perfect word for the situation or sentence. Probably we don’t, but I like to think it anyway.

My husband tells me my writing gets too wordy, and my sentences meander now and then. I know he is right. I try to shorten them. I try to keep my feet on the ground. I recognize my shortcomings. Really, I don’t understand why I so often get carried away with words—so many with gorgeous vowel sounds and gently slopping consonants, such a variety of definitions and linguistic nuances—the patterns they make on the page, the thought and ideas they represent, the…. I don’t understand because in most ways I am such a muggle, but in my head and in my  heart, words are wingéd creatures that flutter about waiting for me to admire them. And so, I must be on the ready!

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