I am always looking for new words to love. One episode of Doctor Who introduced me to the word “petrichore”, which is the smell of dust after rain. It is almost as pretty of a word as the smell is.
Another one I found in the book The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairy Land in a Ship of Her Own Making . The word was “widdershins” or to move counterclockwise. In looking up that word I found that it was considered an unlucky direction. I have always liked unlucky directions being that I am left handed, and so predisposed me to choosing things that seemed against the norm, if only in the smallest ways.
New words feel like candy in my mouth. As I work my tongue around them the sharp edges smooth out and the sweetness becomes more evident.
Introducing new words through storytelling depends on context and your audience. When emerging from a cultural context some words need to be explained – “bairn” is the Scottish word for child. However, I doubt many American children (or adults for that matter) would know that. So I might add a short explanation as I introduce the word for the first time, or I would mime holding a baby.
Then there are the audiences. I was at a middle school recently and a good portion of the children were learning english as a second language. I was asked twice what the word “torso” meant. It was a good reminder to check my stories beforehand for any confusing words, and also to encourage the children to ask if they did not know what a story meant.
As I find new words I will post them here, and I would love to hear your favorite words of the moment.
Until then, adios!
I like beautiful things.
I bought a journal recently, with a blue cover and slightly yellowed, blank pages because I thought it beautiful. I bought it with a gift card because my penny-pinching self did not think that such an indulgence should put pressure on my personal funds. But now I am writing again. I am writing about my addictions, I am writing about bread, I am writing about dreams and ghost tours. I am writing. I am tracing my hand and drawing abstract surges of life. I am writing poetry that will be read after I am dead and some that will be posted on this blog. I am writing the alphabet in my best penmanship after writing a sloppy page filled with scribbles of ideas.
Into the wild.
The wild of the dream.
Lasso that dream to a hover
Just above the ground.
Let it pull practicality to its feet
And push doubt to its knees.
I have always loved to write. But now I know I love to write in something that is beautiful.x
Why hello autumn,
Fancy seeing you here at the end of summer.
Shall we play hide-and-seek
For the next few weeks?
I will cover my eyes-
the palms of my hands
and the pressure of my to-do list distracting me
as I count my way through September.
Then, one day,
I will open my eyes for a moment at a red light,
or a minute during a walk,
or whole hour during a run,
and find you.
The creep of the orange flame on the willow tree,
the slow burn of red in the cottonwood.
The flowers curling back into the earth who pushed them from her.
If only in our autumn,
when our hair grows white
and our legs grow brittle
we could curl back into the cool soft earth of our mothers.
But I digress.
After I have sought you out, autumn,
I will hide my eyes again and count to October.
When it has come you will not be playing hide-and-seek any more,
you will be playing tag and you will be “it”.
You will chase me with cool breezes up the toes of my sandals.
You will follow me into buildings with wet, sticky leaves.
You will catch me pulling my sweaters from the bottom drawer and compliment my extra layers.
What games we will play, you and I!
How often you catch me at the end of summer unaware and sunburnt.
What games do you play with the changing season?
Sometimes the little things catch me.
I was playing Legos with a seven year old and found this in the bucket of plastic blocks. Now forgive me for taking a slight detour here, but playing Legos with a seven year old is never fair. He must and will always win. If I cannot outwit him he will resort to the time honored tradition of pouting or smashing things. However, I can hold my own in a battle of ships by changing rules and eluding to having more power then I actually have. It is probably what the Doctor does every day (for those who do not know what I mean by “the Doctor” I am referring to the BBC series Doctor Who, and to those who do know – allons-y!) I also try to teach a few manners (like not stealing the vines that power MY ship) and keep my own inner seven year old in check, who would very much like to win.
Amongst the blocks I found this pencil and he told me that he had taken great pains to get it that small. I wondered about the rest of the pencil. Had it been used to the nub or had part of it been broken off in the conquest for the smallest pencil? I wonder about things like this all the time. Who made my ghost kitchen hot mit? Had they thought that every time I got something out of the oven with it I would high-five him? Probably not. It is the little things that have such big stories, and stories that are completely insignificant to the context of playing Legos with a seven year old. Yet they are stories and I still think about them.
In the end I lost. He had six ships to my two. But in the end my consolation was my guys escaped alive, and he had to brush his teeth. So the world is fair after all.