Sunday, April 29, 2012

Harvesting words

Happy Sunday!

Since today is a day off from the Blogging from A to Z Challenge, I wanted to share a post I wrote on July 11, 2011. Like the posts I've been writing for the challenge, this one is about one of my favorite things: collecting words.

I'll see you tomorrow with the letter Z!



"The words! I collected them in all shapes and sizes and hung them like bangles in my mind." ~Hortense Calisher, Extreme Magic

Like most writers, I'm in love with words. I collect them. Whenever I hear or read one I particularly like, either because of its sound or its meaning or the thoughts or memories associated with it, I write it down, filing it away in my collection. Sometimes I bring these words out when I want to freewrite, using one as a prompt and seeing where it takes me. Other times I simply read my list, enjoying the sound and beauty of the language.

One of the first words I absolutely adored was identification. I was very young, but I remember reciting that word over and over again, spelling it out loud in the car and during dinner. When I couldn't spell or say it aloud--when I was brushing my teeth, for example--I would recite it over and over in my mind. I loved--and still do now--the cadence of the word, the way it feels on the tongue; the rhythm it makes as it's spelled, all of the letters pairing up so neatly: id-en-ti-fi-ca-ti-on. I must have driven my parents crazy...

Do you harvest words? What's your earliest memory of a word you love?

24 comments:

  1. I've always collected words. Great post, Dana. Actually I collect Names. Used to have a list, but not sure what I've done with it.

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    1. Thanks, Fran. I collected names when I was pregnant--had quite a list!

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  2. Love words! Earliest... Cellar door... two words actually, but, oh well...

    Another wonderful connection. Thank you!

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  3. I've never collected words. This is a very inspiring post. I need to start being more intentional with my writing. This is one thing I've learned during the A to Z Challenge. Thanks, Dana.

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  4. When I was a kid, I read the word "ethereal". After asking my mom how it was pronounced, it became "my" word. I would say it over and over again while walking to school.

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  5. My "big" word from childhood was antique. We were driving through some old town and there were so many stores...several of them with the word "antique" in their names. I was very little. It was difficult to pronounce. I wondered, pondered, got my nerve up and finally said to my dad, "Hey, look at all the ant-e-q stores." (Say it just like I wrote it to get the full effect, please.) Everyone in the car burst out laughing. Loved that word ever since and to this day, I visit antique stores whenever I get the chance:)

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    1. Funny! It is a pretty-sounding word--whatever way you say it!

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  6. When I was a kid, I liked the word, "Magnanimous." It just sounded cool, and I liked its meaning.

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    1. I like this one, too--fun to say!

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  7. That's a great word! I remember really loving names of Egyptian rulers. Also, one I used for a title of a story when I was a young teen: juxtaposition.

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    1. Another great word! I'm starting to think the great ones outnumber the bad. ;)

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  8. First memory of a word I loved. Wow, I need to think about that one, interesting question!

    Love
    S / http:// mydarlingsolitude.blogspot.com

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  9. For sure I collect words - love them! Serendipity was one of my first favorite words. I liked the way it sounded and what it meant.

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    1. I love serendipity! That's another one on my list.

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  10. I don't harvest words per se but I like the sounds of some words (and of course none come to mind at the minute, LOL :) I remember as a "young one" liking Mississippi; spelling it, seeing it spelled; not sure what attracted me to it though :)

    looking forward to seeing what your Z is :)

    betty

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    1. I felt the same way about Mississippi. I thought it was fun to spell!

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  11. Spontaneous combustion. Learned it in 5th grade. The combination of those two words totally fascinated me. :)

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    1. That term reminds me of Charles Dickens. It seems like so many of his characters would spontaneously combust!

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  12. "Akimbo" -- I was fascinated that there was an actual word to describe that position. [side note -- did anyone else learn to spell Mississippi this way: M-i-crooked letter-crooked letter-i- crooked letter-crooked letter-i-hump back-hump back-i ]

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    1. I did! I'd forgotten all about that. Thanks for reminding me.

      Akimbo is one of those strange but perfect words. Love it!

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