Friday, September 21, 2007

Reading the Dictionary

Sometimes I think I write creatively just to have an opportunity to use big words. Their texture and history, their mouth-feel-- all in a package with high density and gravitational pull. Each word is embedded with meaning, an abracadabra.

Often I have been chid for using the wrong words, by those of many stripes. Some feel it is not democratic enough--or that I am waving my Ivory Tower education around like a pirate flag. Others think it is precocious; I am unseasoned, too wet behind the ears to grasp such concepts at a visceral level.

As a child, I used words like dearth and mercurial, not because I wanted abject alienation, but because they were the best words I knew for the circumstance. Eventually, I learned that talking like a thesaurus was not the best way to win friends and influence people, so I allowed the ubiquitous "like" and "man" to enter my spoken vocabulary.

Now, as a technical writer, I have started using computing terms in daily life. These are the terms that just come to the surface quickly, always at hand. So instead of saying "think before you act" I say "consider the number of variables".

Words are like little treats to me, tapas, dim sum, petits four. The inexaustible supply is an invitation. I either horde them away, using "defenestration" only when absolutely necessary, or consume them like teenage boys at a Roman orgy.

Guess my strategy for the next millenium?


FranIAm said...

You have your partner and I have mine, but know dear Rion I will always be deeply in like with you and your brilliant mind.

Rion said...

Aw, shucks :-)