Words, Snobs, and Thought Jumps

Don (my husband) sent me a link to a video on TED, “a nonprofit devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading”. Basically it is a conference that has guest speakers from the areas of technology, entertainment, and design. This particular vid was about words, dictionary, ect. Erin McKean, a lexicographer (compiler of words) and CEO of the online dictionary, Wordnik (www.wordnik.com), talks about “redefining the dictionary”. She is very entertaining so do not fret about falling asleep, imo.

The subject I’m about to broach is indirectly related to the vid but it is the vid that took me there. Mostly because Ms. McKean’s approach is so considerate, funny, and accessible to anyone who enjoys words. Frankly, she isn’t a “word snob”. You know, the kind of people that feel it is necessary to correct/criticize your pronunciation or use of a word. Don’t get me wrong, I do appreciate this ability in most people, keeps me honest in my many roles in life where words matter. It is the people who are mean or cruel about it. The kind of individuals that people who have English as a second language should never encounter. I suppose these individuals are probably few and very young or have a predisposition to predjudice but they exist.

Eh, when I think about it, everyone has a certain level of word-snobishness. Myself-when Erin McKean talks about adding new definitions to words (to infinity) causes me anxiety. I think it is because I fear words will gain so many definitions that they will cease to exist as a defined unit with which to communicate efficiently with. Craziness!

Thought Jumps: Leads to the thought that humans created words. Will we evolve to the point where the only way we will be able to tell what a word means is within the context of environment and connotation? Leading to: I’ve heard, among many other theories that tickle my imagination as a writer, that humanity will evolve to become just pure energy and we will use telepathy to communicate or really empathy if we continue with the idea that language will go beyond words (of course it already does, but words still exist).

Novel Writing

So, I’m working on trying to get a novel down. And I realized I have a process (just like with everything else). I’m a bit of a free spirit but even I need structure. I’ve written poetry, short stories and about three chapters to two novel ideas that I’ve had. But novel writing is overwhelming. To stay with a story that long can be make one feel bogged down. I remember from college a professor telling me that some people write a sequence of short stories about he same person, idea, or subject, etc. and then it links together as a novel. I thought about that. Then I thought more about my process. I write notes. Then put them together later. You know, a good characterizing sentence, plot point, or description of a place or thing. I fill it out later. Revise, revise, revise. I was telling my man the other day that I’m going to have to make sure I recycle my paper because I cannot revise from one window to the next. I have to print it out and rekey the entire thing. Just works out better that way for me. Always has. I have a hard time sitting in one spot generally as well. I’d rather write it out on paper standing in the kitchen waiting for dinner than sit at the computer staring at this screen that makes my eyes get dry. I find it stifling. While paper is patient with me, computers give me the feeling of go-go-go. Probably a conditioned thing. I’ve considered getting one of those “netbooks”, those small laptops because I wanted to save paper. Now I’m not sure about that idea…eh, we’ll see.

Book Review: The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

This is a fable, a short tale that has a lesson the reader can gleen by following a young boy named Santiago on his quest to find his hidden treasure. Along the way he encounters strangers that teach him things to help him on his way like how to understand the “Language of the World” or how to become the wind. He follows omens a plenty because this is a story about destiny. I really enjoyed this book. It is about 177 pages long.

Sometimes the narration was choppy because you jumped from one characters thoughts to another but overall it was a great adventure with fables within the fable. My favorite is the tale about the boy who seeks the wisest king and learns how to experience the world yet keep the oil from spilling from his spoon or keep focused on the task or goal at hand.

Acclimation: My break before graduate school

I am still acclimating to not having classes to attend anymore. This is not unusual. I go through this every summer (except last summer when I took classes) but, of course, this is different because I’ve accomplished a bachelors. I’m planning to go back in the fall if a university will have me. I know they will. I’m wavering a little about what to go back for. Creative writing is an obvious choice, then I can teach but is there anything else I’d like to do? I’ve always thought that I can change my career later on if I want to. I also have becoming a librarian in the back of my head (been there for a while). I’m not sure about all that computer stuff they do. I’m not  a computer dunse. I just learn it by necessity.

I realized the other day that I’ve always wanted to be writer ever since I thought about “what do I want to do when I grow up”. That doesn’t mean that it is all I can or have to do. Previous to becoming a mother I was undecided about my major in college. I tried psychology first because I like listening to people and it was a form of healing that I felt I would do well with. Then photography because I thought I couldn’t draw worth a damn but I really enjoyed art and creating it, oh but wait, drawing courses are part of the curriculum, no worries turned out one can become pretty decent with practice! Considered music because I play violin, successful when constantly practicing but steadily rusty as time went on during my busy early twenties, plus I was quite sick of it by then. Then I graduated with an Associates in Liberal Studies because by the end of my time at Owens I had given birth to Lily and that my friends compelled me to decide on English, concentration Creative Writing as a major because if there was one thing I felt I could excel in, it was writing. I was so focused that when my last semester rolled around and I found out I still needed three “related” courses that were not supposed to be in my major, I froze, I had no idea what I wanted to take. Whatever I was going to take had to have writing involved because that is what I do.

One of the courses was astronomy which I thought would keep my interest but there was no writing, no research, no nothing like that. I drowned in boredom even though I think the subject is really extraordinary and I wanted to have something more to talk with my husband about because he is enjoys it also.  It was like talking with a friend or mentor or someone you find completely interesting and after a while your yawning. Your brain says this is awesome, exactly what I want but your body starts to shut down because you are not holistically invigorated. On cutting the course some slack it was a freshman course but still I wanted to be enthusiastic about astronomy. Instead Ifell asleep during the powerpoint presentation.

My other courses made up for the fact that there was no writing in this one, though. The writing course at the Toledo Art Museum kicked my butt. My progress showed the meaning of Truman Capote’s quote “Failure is the condiment that gives success its flavor.” Though the beginning was sour the ending was sweet. I swam against a strong current and succeeded in reaching a beautiful beach where I am currently holding up, trying to get my senses back in order.

Anyway, I’m focusing on my writing right now. Trying to get the need for deadlines, prompts, and camaraderie of classmates out of my habits. I have plenty of poetry to revise and send out to publishers. Working on some short story collections and a few novel ideas.