Writing. Something I am doing almost all the time. Even in my dreams. I may not be physically committing words to paper but, in my head, stories are being created, or poems, or current events noted. At some time during the day, I try to find a space to scribe those thought forms with the symbols we call words.
Every year a new list of words is published by a variety of sources including Oxford House and Webster. Last year ‘staycation’, ‘metaverse’, and ‘shrinkflation’ were offered in the listing of new terms. They were words I understood and may use. I’m particularly fond of ‘badassery’. Other words like ‘finfluencer’ (a financial influencer), ‘crunk’ (full of energy), and ‘ASMR’ (autonomous sensory meridian response) will probably never enter my lexicon of jargon.
I love to play with words, so welcome the expansion. However, I’ve noticed that some old words are being abandoned or profoundly changed. Some very nice old words at that. As our culture changes so do the words to describe it. One prime example is ‘gay’ used today to indicate a homosexual male and in the past to describe a happy, carefree feeling. ‘Literally’ used to mean something actually happening now but has been converted to a word of emphasis such as a ‘literal’ smash hit.
I believe the world is a sadder place without ‘nizzled’ (slightly intoxicated), ‘chuffy’ (haughty, puffed up), and ‘quixotic’ (absurdly romantic). I made myself a promise to discover some great old words and apply them in my next story.
A book I discovered last year is Dreyer’s English, an Utterly Correct Guide to Clarity and Style by Benjamin Dreyer. Great word ‘utterly’. Mr. Dreyer has taken Strunk and White, the absolute bible of English grammar, to a whole new level. While the little tome of Misters Strunk and White is in my portable writing folder at all times, I prefer to look things up in Dreyer’s bigger book that sits on my desk. He always has a good story to go along with the lesson. Anytime I can laugh as I learn, I learn much better.
Happy wordsmithing to all.