Right now I find myself in an odd squeeze. As I prepare for the August 1 release of The Faith of Ashish, book 1 of my new Blessings in India trilogy, I am simultaneously proofreading book 2 and writing book 3. My first response is… Aaaakkk!!! My second is, I cannot think of anything quite as much fun as sifting through words and coming up with just the right ones.
I love words. I love the way they sing in my ears, or sometimes stomp through my brain. I love the way they roll around on my tongue. I love the soothing caresses they carry, and I also enjoy the powerful wallops they can pack.
Please don’t think any worse of me, but I like reading my Rodale’s Synonym Finder. What fun Mr. Rodale must have had digging up all the words he packed into that hefty volume.
I once had a writing student from Hungary who told me how much he loved to write in English. He said, “You have so many words from which to choose. A pretty girl can be adorable or beautiful or gorgeous or lovely or stunning or cute. In Hungarian she just looks good.”
According to Rodale, she can also be pleasing, delightful, appealing, attractive, eye-catching, comely, beauteous, ravishing, fetching, charming, enthralling, enchanting, or winsome.
Problem is, sometimes there are too many words from which to choose. And unless we pick just the right ones, the wrong ideas stomp through readers’ brains and wallop them with mind pictures we never intended.
Some years ago, my husband and I got to know an extremely modest and proper graduate student from then-Yugoslavia who was studying computer science at the university near us. Marko’s English was quite good, but he struggled with “American.” As his vocabulary grew, he was always excited to display it to us. One evening when he came for dinner, he met me at the door with a formal bow. “I learned two new American words today,” he said proudly.
I told him that was wonderful and asked what the new words might be.
“Yummy and yucky,” Marko said. He bowed again, his hands politely folded in front of him. Then he added, “And might I say, you look most yummy tonight.”
Words, words, words.
So wonderful. Filled with such outsized possibilities. So very treacherous.
Right now, I need to find just the right words for two of the three books. What an immense, colossal, prodigious, gigantic, stupendous job! How very much fun!
“Kind Words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless.”