Writing Toward Home

Writing , Ideas, and Encouragement

Tag: words

Wordplay Wednesday: Thinking like a Teenager

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  Thinking like a Teenager: Creating New Vocabulary

Each new generation of teens creates its own language by inventing new words and phrases or by taking familiar ones and altering them so they mean something totally different. The purpose behind this is two-fold: to have a common language of belonging and also to bedevil their elders. By the time the lexicon is appropriated by adults, the kids have moved on to new terminology. Think of “rad”, “groovy” and “totally.”

The same is also true of society in general. There are many words that were commonly employed in previous generations that now have passed into disuse. I re-read the classic novel, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, this week and found many expressions that were footnoted for this very reason.  Of course, this gave rise to a wordplay idea.

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This week we are going to play around with using old archaic words in new ways.  I  employed my enormous  dictionary plus some online surfing to find uncommon and interesting sounding words to use for this exercise.

Below I have made a list of words without their definitions. Guess what?  You get to decide what they mean and how to use them in your writing.

The idea is to choose a word that looks and sounds interesting and come up with a definition. Then use the word in a free-writing exercise for five minutes. At the end of the time, choose another word and keep your piece going for an additional five minutes. 

I will post the definitions for the words next week. If your  curiosity gets the best of you, look them up.

Acersecomic                            nugacity

 

Fanfaronade                           bindlestiff

 

Gobemouche                           pyknic

 

Martlet                                        afreet

 

Hamartia                                   bannock

 

Mollitious                                   erf

 

Shamal                                        bardolatry

 

I would love to see your definitions and stories.

As always, have fun writing!

Below is my free-writing based on last week’s  post,  “ The Power of a Single Word.” The prompts were all single words that carry a lot of  meaning and power.

I chose the word home.

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When I hear the word home  my first thought is of the place of my childhood, which we called “ the little brown house with the red door.” I lived there from the age of 6 months until I was a freshman in high school. It is the reservoir of countless memories: Christmases, birthdays, friends, hide-and-seek and Red Rover, lemonade stands, endless litters of kittens, picnics in the backyard, tire swings, and tree houses and running through the sprinkler.

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One of my favorite memories is of decorating for Christmas. Dad, my brother and I would pile on our coats, hats, and gloves and head out into the piney woods behind our house to gather branches. I remember tramping along singing  Christmas carols and laughing at my brother’s antics. Dad would take his saw and cut fresh boughs which he  piled onto our outstretched arms until we could scarcely see. Even now I can smell the pine fragrance and feel the tickle of the needles  and the stickiness of the sap on my gloves.

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Once we were home, Dad would climb the ladder and one-by-one accept the branches that we handed to him, stapling each one in place around our large picture window and our red front door. Next came the traditional untangling of the strings of Christmas lights which always produced a few “naughty” words from dad who insisted he had put them up so neatly the year before. My brother and I would cover our mouths with our sticky fingered gloves and exchange amused wide-eyed looks until the lights were ready to hang. Once the large bulb multi-colored lights were in place, we would plug them in and stand in the front yard admiring our work drinking hot chocolate and tea cakes provided by my mother.

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Happy Writing this week! I hope you enjoy thinking like a teenager and making your own words.

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The Power of A Single Word

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This past Sunday  the sermon at church  was about the power of our words.  We were reminded to be careful with our words as they can be forces for good or ill and can bring hurt or healing. The message was based on a passage from Proverbs, but the Bible is filled with references to controlling our tongues and our words.  God speaks most about those things we have the hardest time learning.

The sermon included an interesting fact that my husband and I discussed in the car on the way home. According to the pastor, we humans on average speak 700 times a times a day with a total word count of between 7,000-20,00 words. To me, that sounded like an awful lot of words. I looked it up online and it was correct, with one caveat. Men tend to be at the lower end of the word count and women at the higher end. 

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I do not want to get into the debate of whether women speak 13,000 more words per day on average than men. In my household, with a gregarious, extroverted male and an introverted woman wed to one another, I think the statistics might be reversed. I tend to be much more verbose in my writing than in my speech. Still, I thought about all of those words and wonder how much of what we say is really important. That is a post for another day, perhaps.

The pastor went on to talk about how some words possess so much more meaning than others. Sometimes a single word can convey volumes, especially in certain circumstances. That thought led me to consider words that carry a great deal of meaning all by themselves. I decided  this week I would make a list of prompts that are all just one word in length.

I came up with longish list, but decided to confine the prompts to five.  All are words  laden with a variety of meanings and connotations depending on the perspective and experiences of the writer. They may not be easily defined, but they are words about which we all  possess strong memories and ideas.

For your free-writing session today, set your time for 10 minutes,  select one of the words below, and immediately start the timer. Don’t spend a lot of time thinking about the word. Write whatever your first thoughts and ideas are.

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The word may spark a memory, an opinion piece, or fictional scene. Keep your hand moving and continue to write until the timer sounds. If you finish an idea, allow another to flow in and keep writing. When time is up, keep going if you have an idea that has energy. Write until you have a sense of closure with your piece.

Home

Courage

Justice

Death

Love

Try each of these words this week in a fee-writing session and see where they lead you.

I will post my free-writing for a word on the list next week.

Happy Writing!

As always I would love to hear about your experiences with the writing.

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Below is my free-writing from one of last week’s prompts. It is a slightly fictionalized version of a real event.  I edited it only for clarity and spelling from my original free-write.

“ The most frightened I have ever been”  10 minute writing.

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When I was about 7 my mom, my grandmother, and I went to my Aunt Eugenia’s house to have lunch. My brother was spending the day with my grandfather because on a previous visit he had practically destroyed my persnickety aunt’s  living room by knocking over her grandfather clock which fell onto a glass bookcase and destroyed many of her beautiful knickknacks. After lunch I quickly grew bored with the chit-chat at the table which would likely last all afternoon. I went outside to escape my aunt’s wary looks, as if I, too, possessed destructive potential ( I did, but that’s another story). I loved Eugenia’s  huge yard because was filled with all kinds of gorgeous flowers. I wandered to the back of the property, where, hidden from view of the house, my cousin Mike had built a tree house. I climbed  the wobbly boards nailed to the tree and enjoyed a spectacular view of their neighborhood. When I heard my mother call, I descended the ladder and was confronted by two enormous, snarling German Shepherds who belonged to the next-door neighbors.

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I froze as the dogs advanced, baring their teeth. I screamed in terror and backed up against the tree. At that moment their owner appeared and called them off. I stumbled through the garden crying and yelling for my mother. I fell at least twice skinning a knee and my palms on the rocky path  which ran through the flowerbeds.

I don’t recall anything else about that day, but  from that incident I developed a strong fear of large dogs  that remained for many years.

Thanks for reading and keep on writing!

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