Words

Word Art 5

 

“Words can be like X-rays, if you use them properly — they’ll go through anything. You read and you’re pierced.” – A. Huxley, Brave New World

I must admit I wasn’t too much pierced by Brave New World, but Huxley’s thoughts sometimes came through like x-rays. The quote above stuck with me, made me realize how much I want my words to pierce. I want my words to make a change, if even just a little bit. And by my words, I’m referring to the written word.  I want the things I write to make a difference. Somehow, somewhere.

I’ve grown to appreciate The Avett Brothers for their lyrics as well as their sound. Their newest song, Bang Bang, packs a punch with its message. As much as I highly regard Scott and Seth and the crew, I don’t always totally agree with their lyrics. And that’s okay.  I could say that about a LOT of songs I listen to.

“Conceal and carry your fear” doesn’t make sense to me. I’d rather not have to carry around my fear. But, carrying a gun would not alleviate that fear. So what do I do? I pray and do what I can do be aware and lean back on their song No Hard Feelings. I carry on.

“And I’m in here pretending like Sunday is still sacred”  also makes me sad. Sunday IS still sacred, no matter what the neighbors think and no matter how I fail to treat is as such. I’ve got some neighbors who think they are Rambo, too. On any given day or night I hear gunfire in rapid succession. I worry about stray bullets coming down the hill to hit my elderly neighbors who are out for a stroll.

Though I don’t agree with every single word, I totally agree with the message of Bang, Bang. Carry on, Scott, Seth, Bob and Joe.

Habitude

battle

 

I can not recall ever seeing this word before today.  Websters has this to say: habitual disposition or mode of behavior or procedure.

To me it’s like a portmanteau. Like a Spork. Like Forky. But, I digress.

My husband is a man with definite habitudes. I see it more every day. The tomato juice every morning. The laying out of clothes in the evening. Those unsavory (to me) two – just lasagna or chili – Atkins meals for lunch.

But it’s funny how I am wondering what my own habitudes are. I like to mix things up. Try new items on the menu. Rotate my perfume. But and yet, I have a few habitudes. Like the way I vacuum the house on a rotating basis. And carry my iced coffee in my favorite insulated cup to work. And take photos of little plastic toys when I hike.

But I think I’ve overlooked the first part of the definition – the habitual disposition. Oh boy, that’s a hard one to talk about. That’s where I know I need a “Habitude Adjustment”. But for now I’ll leave you with a gallery of my little plastic guys. Maybe one day you’ll find one on the trail somewhere.

Word Pictures #4

wordcloud words

This is the fourth installment of Word Pictures – a collection of lovely and descriptive passages. Enjoy!

“Anyway, the subject skims the joy off a pan of conversation.” Travels With Charley by John Steinbeck

“The patriarch was a taut raisin of a man…” referring to Charley Guthrie in Woody Guthrie: A Life by Joe Klein

“…exotic-looking people who seemed to be baked the same color as their houses.” – Woody Guthrie: A Life by Joe Klein

The sea

Took off her clothes

In the sun today

And naked

All night

With the wild wind lay

Written by Woody Guthrie while onboard the William B. Travis during travel for the merchant marine.

 

Word Pictures #3

sun

This is the third installment of Word Pictures – a collection of lovely and descriptive passages.

 

“And he would stand at the window, watch the pink and orange of sunrise, imagine the mist tickling the mountain’s ear or chucking it under the chin or weaving a cap for it. ” from  A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry

“… the passing hours had a strangeness to them, loose and unstructured, as though the stitches were broken, the tent of time sagging one moment, billowing the next.”  from  A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry

“Darkness hung over Dublin: every shade of gray between black and white had found its own little cloud, the sky was covered with a plumage of innumerable grays…” from Irish Journal by Heinrich Boll

 

Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting;
The Soul that rises with us, our life’s Star,
   Hath had elsewhere its setting
    And cometh from afar;
  Not in entire forgetfulness,
 And not in utter nakedness,
But trailing clouds of glory do we come
 From God, who is our home:

from Ode on Intimations of Immortality from Recollections of Early Childhood by William Wordsworth

“… the goodness of creamed peas and of poultry allowed a free and happy life and then rolled in flour and pan-fried…” – from Lake Wobegon Days by Garrison Keillor 

“Look lak she been livin’ through uh hundred  years in January without one day of spring.”  from Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston

“So she sat on the porch and watched the moon rise. Soon its amber fluid was drenching the earth, and quenching the thirst of the day.”  from Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston

  

 

Weather Thoughts

With cold weather coming on Wednesday,, I thought I’d revise and repost these thoughts on weather.

E.B. White was a man who truly had a way with words. If you don’t know who he is, he’s the author of the children’s classic, Charlotte’s Web. When talking about the first flakes of snow falling, he said,

“At first it was an almost imperceptible spitting from the gray sky…”

I love the way he put it – such a perfect way to describe this scene. This is how I want to write.

Below are some pictures from February, 2015, when we had that “…imperceptible spitting..”

And I’ll leave you with this to enjoy…

 

 

Shopworn Words

stuart miles

graphic-stuart miles

In a book by Madeleine L’Engle, Walking on Water: Reflections on Faith and Art, she says this about language:

“If our vocabulary dwindles to a few shopworn words, we are setting ourselves up for takeover by a dictator.”

Now, at first glance that seems a little overboard. But, when you think about it she makes a great point. I know I am ashamed of my lack of vocabulary. I’ve tried, and failed, to incorporate some kind of self-help ritual to learn new words. But, I won’t give up; I’ll persevere in my efforts. I do not want to fall to a despot. I do not want my lack of good words to allow me to be usurped.

My facebook/twitter-pal and ex-Bhamian (is that a word? well, now it is), Mandy Shunnarah, used to post a word a week;  such as words like youthquake and pablum. She is onto something.

 

 

So, are you with us? Take up the vocabulary yoke!

Wait Silently

irr

To look for community instead of cocktail-party relationships is part of choosing sides in the vast, strange battle. To say, “I’m sorry”; to be silent; to say “I love you,” “I care.” It is these little things that are going to make the difference. For God chooses the foolish things of the world to confound the wise, the weak to overthrow the strong.

– The Irrational Season (1977) by Madeleine L’Engle

 

I’ve written about this before, I’m sure; I am writing to myself again. I long for community, real and true. I think I’m settling for cocktail-party relationships via social media. I see the words “I love you”, “I care” “praying” all over facebook, but what does it really mean? Is it so others can see you are so concerned? To do so in person is another kettle of fish all together.

 

It is not easy to say I’m sorry, especially I’m sorry without a but after it. However, it’s often too easy to say I love you  – love ya – as an alternate to see ya later. Said too easily and it loses its meaning. Saying I care may be harder; harder still to show you care in a tangible may.

 

But the hardest may be to be silent. Silent when you want to scream or cry or yell or explain or accuse or complain.

 

My soul, wait silently for God alone, For my expectation is from Him. – Psalm 62:5

 

Help me, LORD, to be silent. To show love and care.  To pray.

Google It

eb

 

“The young writer will be drawn at every turn toward eccentricities in language. He will hear the beat of new vocabularies, the exciting rhythms of special segments of his society, each speaking a language of its own. All of us come under the spell of these unsettling drums; the problem, for the beginner, is to listen to them, learn the words, feel the excitement, and not be carried away.” – – An E.B. White Reader

 

Have you heard the beat of new vocabularies? Nouns turned into verbs are used all over. We google subjects and we tweet, though we aren’t birds. We text and snapchat each other, but our communication is often abbreviated to words without vowels; we have a new shorthand to meet the needs of a fly by friendship.

I am familiar with several special segments of society that have a language specific to its members. One of these is the field of education, a world full of acronyms and oft used terms. Overuse certainly kills the charm of some words. I can think of some that need to be retired, or at least put on the back burner. Some of these would be: partner (as in ‘partner with’, not ‘Howdy, Partner!’), relationships, ownership, mission statement, intentional, and unpack. Contemporary religion also has its share of overused expressions, such as authentic, relevant, passionate.

The best point White made is to “not be carried away.” Words are wonderful and repetition has its place. But like a parent who threatens “if I have to tell you one more time”, frequently repeated words lose their appeal and begin to fall on deaf ears.

The First of May and The Poet

The First of May 

 

So, the last day of PAD arrived with a prompt of “The _________”  . I went with the theme of the whole month. I love this poetic marathon every year; I just hope to keep at it. I hope to polish up a few poems and submit some for publication. Perhaps THIS will be the year!

cold bell

2017

 

The Poet

she breathes the air of yesterday
infused with memories sweet and clear
outside her window, falling rain transports her
to childhood afternoons
or to the coast of Ireland
or to a washed out hope

she dreams of possibilities and regrets
possibilities give her words that soar
regrets form melancholic stanzas
and so she writes
into the night
on tear-stained paper

she walks through days alone
gathering images and syllables
saving them in her pocket
hiding them in her heart
until they spill out
unrestrained and satisfying

Word Pictures #2

 

Word Cloud (1)

This is a second installment of Word Pictures – a collection of lovely and descriptive passages.

“Her laughter catches him off guard. As if it’s carbonated and someone has poured it too fast and it’s bubbling over in all directions.” – from A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman

Do you know anyone who laughs like that?

“… at eight o’clock the last of the cool was burning off. The State Farm thermometer out the window over the sink was slowly percolating to the top.” – from Lake Wobegon Days by Garrison Keillor

I love the phrase “….slowly percolating to the top.” When I was a kid, I made coffee for my dad using a percolator that went on the stovetop. I loved the smell, but I didn’t drink it until I was way into my thirties – after some of my kids were already coffee drinkers.

“She knew God tore down the old world every evening and built a new one by sun-up.” – from Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston

sundown

Vilano Beah, FL

 

“… a hardware store was your practical Uncle Walter, wearing bib overalls and carrying a hammer, asking you in a hearty sausage-and-egg voice to point him in the direction of what needed to be done.” – from The Year of Pleasures by Elizabeth Berg

In the first few months after we moved to BIrmingham, I noticed several times a man in overalls shopping in Publix. It was a sight I’d never seen in Jacksonville, and it brought to mind the short time we spent in south Georgia. There it was very common to see men in overalls. Sadly, I connect this memory of the overalled man to the racism that was alive and well. It was the late 80s, but it often felt like the 1960s. But, that’s a story for another day.

“…with cornsilk hair and delphinium eyes…” from Travels With Charley by John Steinbeck.

This is a perfect description of my daughter when she was a little girl. But, now I’d have to say “…with Merlot curls…”

“You pierce my soul” – Captain Wentworth to Anne in Persuasion by Jane Austen.