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What I Can Write Right Now

It is a dreadful thing when one has made up one’s mind to write and the only thing one can find to write about is one’s apparent complete inability to write anything worth reading.

Um, you figured out that “one” is me, right?

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, what’s a blogger to do? Today I’m going to do what has worked for me in the past: just write whatever I can write right now and trust that better words will be forthcoming. what I’m really hoping is that they will be forthcoming today, and I can type this into my Drafts section for use one day when I am really desperate (making a Full Disclosure, of course) (um, as it happens, I am using it today. Don’t judge).

Part of my problem is the weather. It is a sticky, icky day, conducive to lounging around near a fan and doing nothing. Of course I am not doing that; I’m at work (writing on a break, as usual). I remind myself that I have written on such days before but the memory does not seem to help.

My novel plods on. OK, it’s a hot mess. I can’t figure out what I want to happen or even how I would like it to end. I am reminded of a poster hanging in a guidance counselor’s office in my junior high school, “If you don’t know where you are going you will probably end up somewhere else.” I thought it a dire warning at the time. Now I think, “If you enjoy the trip, at least that’s something.” But now I’m making global statements and veering into half-baked philosophy. Leave that for Lame Post Friday, Cindy. We were talking about one novel, not Your Life.

I guess I’m not going to solve my novel problem by writing a blog post about now being able to write. Still, it felt pretty good to put some words on paper. One does what one can, after all.

Can’t Say All the Syll

I would like to spend today’s Non-Sequitur Thursday on a minor tirade in defense of three syllable words. I don’t know that there’s anything particularly non-sequiturish about it, but it is what happened to come out of my pen.

Full disclosure: I am actually writing this on Wednesday, in my on-going quest to lessen my busy week stress. I’m not sure it’s working.

So here’s my question: When did people get too lazy to say all three syllables of a word? Some time ago I got annoyed when sportscasters started calling Syracuse “The ‘Cuse.” I think this really started on t-shirts and bumper stickers. That’s where I saw it first. Then the sportscasters started in and I realized Syracuse as I know it is doomed.

And you notice how they put the cool “the” at the beginning. Hello! You shorten the word by two syllables but add a one syllable word. That’s a net savings of only one syllable. And one could argue that since it’s adding a whole other word, it’s not a savings at all.

Also, nobody spends time with their family any more. It’s “the fam.” That one’s all over Facebook. Statuses share how somebody had a great time with “the fam.” This one’s not even a net savings, because it’s typed. T-h-e-space is one more keystroke than i-l-y. So these folks are just being cool.

The example that got me to write about this foolishness comes from my beloved cable television. A cheesy series which shall here remain nameless invited its most loyal viewers to purchase “merch” from their online store. For heavens’ sake MERCH? Why don’t you just say “stuff”? “Things”? At least she didn’t say “the merch.” If she had, I could have suggested “items.”

I think part of the problem is we’ve all gotten too cool for school. Sarcasm is our default setting, and we just can’t be bothered. Well, there are things I can’t be bothered with, too, but yet I can usually manage to say an entire word.

Oh, one exception: I rather enjoy the expression “Not no mo’.” Of course, that’s not even saving a syllable, just an “r” sound, which is not really a very burdensome sound to make. I just think it sound cool. So, YES, I, too, succumb to the lure of seeming cool. Point and laugh if you must (and I know some of you must) (you know who you are).

Lame Verbiage

Today’s Friday Lame Post is heavy on the half-baked philosophy.

I began to write a far different post. I started running Thursday and intended to write a post about that. My lead was dull. I said so. It went on from there as follows:

And now I sit, pen in hand, contemplating how sometimes it happens, sometimes it doesn’t. Maybe I should start a whole other blog about why I shouldn’t bother writing a blog. And by “bother,” I mean bother other people with my verbal meandering.

Note to self: does “verbal” only mean spoken or can it include the written word? It seems to me it should include writing, but I can only seem to recall hearing it used regarding spoken. I have no dictionary with me.

Well, that kept the pen moving for a while anyways. I’m re-reading Writing down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg (Shambhala Publications, 1986) and hence re-acquiring an appreciation for writing one does not intend to share. Practice writing, Goldberg calls it. Of course, I don’t do it the way she says to, never stopping the pen, not going back and re-reading, etc. I have NEVER been able to write without pausing and I have given up trying to make myself (and what a freeing decision that was!).

Full disclosure: As I write this, I picture myself typing it into my computer and publishing it as a blog post. What does that tell you?

Aha! I bet you thought that was a rhetorical question, but I am going to answer it. Writing is, for me, communication. I want to write for a reader.

That said, I understand editing. Whole sentences, paragraphs and posts will never see the light of day (the ether of the internet?) and rightly so. But as I write, I picture somebody reading it. I’m sure many writers do.

And then I stopped writing.

After I typed this nonsense into the computer, I looked up “verbal” in the dictionary (The American Heritage Dictionary, Delta, 1992). It has several meanings, only one of which is “spoken rather than written,” as in a verbal contract (which Sam Goldwyn famously said is not worth the paper it’s written on). It can also just mean having to do with words. But “verbiage,” I see, means wordiness, not specifying written or oral. I see this post is about 400 words. Plenty of verbiage for a Lame Post Friday. Have a good weekend, everyone!