The sound of words, the syllables, the beat, the intermingling, interchanging of vocabulary throughout a work creates the texture of a written piece. The more varied the language, the richer, more luxurious the texture. Prose that demands I grab a dictionary to learn or clarify a meaning is prose well crafted. A writer who takes care to edit himself, to select the perfect - or better - word above the first to pop in the head, avoiding repetition within ten pages, or an entire novel, is, if nothing else, a well deserved tip of the hat to a cultural lexicon demonstrating sheer intelligence. There are simply too many beautiful words in the English language to let them all fall to waste. And as a writer, I just like the way certain words sound in my head, roll off my tongue, make a sentence wrap around itself like a serene trickling stream or, halt the passing eye with a shock of cold water.
Confession: I did not always feel this way for nomenclature. There was a time when vocabulary was so disinteresting to me I'd rather fail a Monday morning quiz and make up the grade later than spend thirty minutes memorizing just two more words to get me over the sixty-percentile hump. Even in college I dismissed Susan Sontag altogether, and specifically On Photography, because her discourse was beyond my education and required too much work on my part. I watched an interview with her once where she described a daily habit of reading the dictionary and discovering and adding new words to her glossary. I trust Ms. Sontag would have forgiven me for my prideful laziness. I'm all better now.
Growing up my parents were never quick - or slow - to hand-feed us the answers. If we asked the meaning of a word, be it homework or plucked from adult conversation, we were directed toward the massive, twenty-pound plus dictionary that lived on the counter of a wall covered bookshelf. If my father was in a mood he'd make a game of it. "You've got one minute to find the word and report back." I can hear him now, "report back." He always said it like that. However beneficial, it was an exhaustive game that encompassed the encyclopedia set as well, not too many years, the cusp maybe, before the Internet replaced printed resources. Always the late bloomer, my desire to learn was deep but reading and studying was not, and so my diminutive vocabulary remained somewhat curbed until my interest could catch up with my ability. I could blame my parents here for their frustrating refusal to simply answer a simple question: what does ________ mean? But I'll take the responsibility and admit I was perhaps too active to sit still long enough to focus on such a quiet matter. There were trees to climb, bikes to ride, etc, etc; a lengthy agenda of rousing diversions.
Today I'd like to share, in keeping with the brief musing on language and vocabulary, a list of words I find satisfying, mostly for the sound they make in my head - a good a reason as any. Please, indulge.
** Want to know what these words mean? I recommend this site for definitions.
Hugs & Kisses!