A Word I Like

 

ELISION

noun
  • the omission of a sound or syllable when speaking (as in I’m, let’s, een )
  • an omission of a passage in a book, speech, or film. “the movie’s elisions and distortions have been carefully thought out”
  • the process of joining together or merging things, especially abstract ideas. “unease at the elision of so many vital questions”  (source)

 

I like the smoothness of the word elision, and I hear it in my head as the French word elision (sounds much more melodic). Therefore, not like a boring English contraction like I’m, but French ones like quelqu’un or aujourd’hui, or elisions like j’aime.

 

“‘Tis some visitor,” I muttered, “tapping at my chapter door-

Only this and nothing more.”

      –Edgar Allan Poe

“Angels we have heard on high sweetly singing o’er the plains.”

      –Christmas Carol

“But with thy brawls thou hast disturb’d our sport.”

      –Shakespeare

 

 

 

 

A Word I Like

MYRIAD

1. A very large number things

 2. A unit of ten thousand (from classical history).
ˈmirēəd/
(source: merriam-webster.com)

As usual when I pick words I like, I like the sound. The softness of the “mir” sound, then joined with the two separate vowel sounds, i and a. I’m not in love with the meaning (it’s fine), just the sound of it.

image

 (source: flickr.com)

A MYRIAD POEM:

Evening: New York

 

Blue dust of evening over my city,
Over the ocean of roofs and the tall towers
Where the window-lights, myriads and myriads,
Bloom from the walls like climbing flowers.

(Sara  Teasdale)

A Word I Like

MALEVOLENT

1. Having or exhibiting ill will; wishing harm to others; malicious.

2. Having an evil or harmful influence

(www.thefreedictionary.com/malevolent)

I like the way the word malevolent feels in my mouth and on my tongue. It rolls more than you’d think, and I want to repeat it over and over.

I also like what it means: not just bad or mean but wishing harm, and evil. Nothing wishy-washy about this word. No gray; black and white.

I never noticed that the word looks like it contains “male” and “violent” (although “volent” comes from the Latin meaning wishing). Although I associate malevolent with both genders, I can’t help thinking of Maleficent, the villain in Sleeping Beauty, since her name is so similar sounding, and she’s, well, malevolent.

Maleficent

A malevolent poem:

I do not like being alone on these nights,
I cannot sleep,
and I cannot fight
the constant battles
that dance with a malevolent
waltz around my mind.

Mmm. There’s that delicious sound again.

A Word I Like

AZURE

I like how azure sounds: the ah, the  z like a soft g, a zh, maybe,  /ˈæʒɚ/ or /ˈeɪʒɚ/ if that means anything to you. (It doesn’t mean anything to me–I just copied & pasted it so you would all think I’m smart.) French lilt, the sound of the waves, a light hiss that relaxes blue. Between blue and cyan, according to the color wheel; a Windows cloud storage system, to my chagrin.

I don’t think of the word azure as particularly melancholy (another favorite word!) but the bulk of the poetry I found with the word “azure” in it had a sad if not bitter tone. Here’s one I like, though…

AN AZURE STAR

by Hiren Mukherjee

I was the sentinel of the sky,

Looking at the sky adorned with
Clouds, stars, nebulas,
I used to sing for myself.

I was twenty or something then.
One day, clouds on which stars used to ride, were
Crushed to minute grains, the azure star
Was snatched by the hand of a stranger.

Truer than the sky became my dread,
Callused words became more virtuous than love.

Now at my forties,
I look at the injured rose in my hand,
I try to recall,
I will always be the scribe of your melody,
Within me, there is euphoria of an azure star.

Names, names, names!

Instead of picking a word I like for this post, I have to celebrate a lifelong preoccupation of mine:  names.

Ever since I was a kid, I’ve been interested in names. Never boys’ names, only girls’. (Boys’ names always seemed so solid and boring to me. I wonder if that would’ve been different if I’d had a brother or a son.)

When I was a kid, I named my fingers and my toes. I named all of my fish exotic (to me) names like Rainbow and Rainbowette, Peter and Amy. I made lists of names and funky ways to spell them. For a long time, my favorite was “Krystalle.”

At one point, I decided to write my own baby names book. I gathered all the books on names I could find, and started to type up a master list that combined the others. I don’t think it ever occurred to me that this could be plagiarism, but that’s a whole other story.

When I started teaching, the names were so exciting. Now I had 20ish names to compulsively repeat to myself! When I got each new class list, I would memorize it alphabetically by first name, and I’d recite it to anyone I could find (much to their dismay). I even made a master list (I see a pattern…) of every student I’d ever taught, alphabetical by first name, of course. OCD, anyone?

When I named my own children–girls–I could’ve picked one of fifty different names and been happy. My husband either said “no” or “maybe” to each one, right up until the end. How could he not want input on something so desperately important?

And then came… choosing characters’ names.

Now here’s the weird thing. For someone so into names, you’d think I’d dwell on the names of my characters and choose the names I love the most.

But the characters named themselves and I didn’t have much say in it. Alexis (my main character in my WiP) was just Alexis, right from the beginning. I don’t even like the name Alexis. Alexa, or Alexandra, maybe, but not Alexis. And her friends Dana and Kelly? So not my style. And when I try to create a character around a name I like, it never works.

So what’s the message here? I guess it’s that feeling that writers sometimes get, when your book is out of your hands and your characters are in charge. I admit that sounds ridiculous; authors are in control of their words. But not always, especially in a state of flow.

Weird, but true.

Anyone want Iza’Belah for a character name?

A word I like

MELANCHOLY

Don’t get me wrong; it’s not like I want be sad.

But the word “melancholy” makes sadness seem dignified. It’s more like a pensive thoughtfulness that dwells on a greater meaning. It surrounds you as a mood but it’s noble.

And then there’s the spelling and sound. The “choly” spelling is interesting to me. And the sound of the whole word rolling over your lips is gorgeous.

I can barely conceive of a type of beauty in which there is no Melancholy.
Charles Baudelaire

Do you have a “sad” word that you can reclaim for its beauty?

A Word I Love

LUMINOUS

reminds me of shining possibilities, skies and stars, white-blond hair

Sky empty and luminous
beyond all attachments,
Remains.
Me, the setting sun
resplendent with light,
Will not remain at all.

I pass behind the western summit
To reappear again soon,
Above the mountains of the east.

-Shabkar Tsogdruk Rangdroll

What’s a word you love?