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Thursday, July 10, 2008

Pretty Words

We’re all looking for meaning, don’t you think? Meaning in our relationships, in our work, in what we do to relax.

I’ve been writing for several years now, working on two books. I was one of three recipients in Narrative Fiction in Intermedia Arts’s Writer-to-Writer Mentorships in 2006 under Joel Turnipseed, the author of Baghdad Express. I’ve read at several bookstores and coffee shops – some of whom have managed to stay in business despite my having been there. Short stories, some truly filthy limericks, veiled and not-so-veiled threats, grocery lists – I just like writing.

Words have always been my thing. You can’t get any more literal in your quest for meaning than by seeking out words, can you? I remember, at two or so, wanting to argue with my mother – but lacking the words to do so convincingly – over the words “finger” and “thumb”. The “th” sound, so delicate to my ears, could not be used for something as clumsy as a thumb. And by the same token, the “f” sound seemed too thick for something as small and light as fingers. I persisted in this belief for quite some time, insisting to anyone who would listen that this is my fumb and these are my thingers. It was cute, but changed nothing.

And yet there was a time, in elementary school, when I deliberately tried to “dumb” myself down. It was a feeble attempt at popularity, designed by friends pointing out that I used “big words”. They were specifically concerned with how this would affect my chances with elementary-school boys. I mean, you can see the position I was in. No date for the end-of-the-year Sixth Grade Dance and Cow Patty Bingo? How would I live? Of course, I’m wiser now, older, and know that boys are dumb and covered with cooties. Nevertheless, it was an unhappy and short-lived time, playing “dumb”. Don’t let dumb people fool you! It’s hard work. It’s just not for me.

Some people really know how to use their words. My friend-at-work-Lora’s-husband (a man who blogs as M. Giant – that’s Mattress Giant, for those of you who have yet to hit Velcrometer) has recently written a book entitled A TV Guide to Life: How I Learned Everything I Needed to Know from Watching Television. He’s doing a reading and book signing at the Barnes and Noble at Har Mar this evening from 7:00 to 10:00. I’ve never met him, but I’m going, if only to see how the other half live. A book signing! These are words said in the same reverent tones set aside for other simple yet powerful words. Words like “I understand”, “take Friday off”, and “multi-family garage sale”. You know, words with real meaning.

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