Answer Me This

English: Country road. The private road leadin...

Imagining myself walking on this path gives me bliss. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

1. What is your favourite “bliss” word?

2. What is your favourite “bliss” food?

3. What is your favourite “bliss” activity?

4. What is your favourite piece of “bliss” clothing?

5. Who is your favourite “bliss” author or poet or writer?

6. What is your favourite “bliss” movie?

7. Who is your favourite “bliss” person?

Answer 1 or 2 or 3 or all the questions and you will give me bliss.

 

Published in: on May 22, 2013 at 5:13 pm  Comments (49)  
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Blissful Understanding

Alligators

Alligators (Photo credit: Jombie9)

“We do not write to be understood. We write in order to understand.” ~ Cecil Day Lewis

These words tell the whole story for me. Writing if done correctly is not easy. According to Willliam Sarovan, “Writing is the hardest way of earning a living with the possible exception of wrestling alligators.” Mr. Sarovan knows whereof he speaks.

Like any other exercise, and I call writing an exercise, as it uses the “muscles” of the brain, one must persevere in order to get results.  Our muscles develop over time and help us with the heavy lifting of expressing ourselves, and in that expression, understanding ourselves.

Often, when I do my workaday writing, which is reporting on what goes on in municipal politics, I find I need to understand the topic I am writing about before I am able to write an article. Sometimes when I am confused, I start with the end in the mind–what the decision was that was made at council, and then work my way back through the story to get to why that decision was made. What went into it? By starting at the end and working back, I find a way to understand the topic. And of course, if there is any question in my mind, I use my due diligence and ask some more questions.

When I write more creatively, I find that much of what I write ends up on the proverbial cutting room floor. When I was in school decades ago, and we edited film, we actually cut out the parts we did not want–until then I did not realize how true to life that expression was. When you write and edit, more often than not, you just delete–but by writing and deleting, and then finally coming up with a product you are somewhat pleased with, you come to an understanding. You delete the things which did not add to the “understanding” and keep the things that seemed to clarify it.

One of my favorite quotes, and one I have used before is that of E.M. Forester who said quite brilliantly, “How do I know what I think until I see what I say?” I am of the same mind. When the words from my brain are tapped out by my fingers, there is a process there–a process of pre-editing–of things that were formed in my mind, chewed up, and spat on the page in a form that is pliable.

The quotes that I have used in this post are from Dinty W. Moore’s book, “The Mindful Writer”, and he has his own take on them, which he admits has a bit of a “Buddhist approach”, or mindfulness. He says though that his writing actually opened his mind to mindfulness and nonattachment, rather than it informing his writing. He says that writing “is not explaining” nor the “mere description of an idea.” Rather, “to write requires learning, discovering, examining and interrogating.” He believes that “writing is the process of putting down words, then stepping back, considering those words, trying to understand them.”

Do you agree with Moore? Is understanding one of the goals of your writing bliss?

Writing samples

Writing samples (Photo credit: churl)

Note to my readers: I have Recipe Saturday, and now Writing Wednesday–so those are two things you can depend upon — I am finding a little calm in the chaos by assigning myself topics.

What Is In A Word?

Words

Words (Photo credit: sirwiseowl)

“What word would you like banned from the English language” was the topic of conversation on a radio morning show recently.  My early morning companions from local radio station CKLW in Windsor, Lisa and Mike put the call out to their listeners to let them know what word was ‘bugging them’.  The listeners called, emailed and facebooked to provide words, phrases, and even some short forms they were not fond of, or in some cases, downright hated.  Lisa let it be known that while it was acceptable to text message lol (laugh out loud) and bff (best friends forever), it was not okay to use the short forms in conversation. Her advice: “Use real words when talking.” She also did not like the word “sagging”.  I must say, as a woman of a certain age, I agree.  Sagging is neither a friendly or pleasant word (even when it is accurate).

Mike’s least favourite word? “Outfit” when it pertains to a man’s wardrobe. He said that men do not wear “outfits”—they wear suits, and they wear pants and shirts, but they do not wear “outfits”.  He also mentioned that his mom always called Kool-Aid by the word Freshie, and wondered what was up with that. I must be part of his mom’s generation, because I remember drinking Freshie long before I remember Kool-Aid. To this day I still call it Freshie, and receive rather blank stares from my kids when I refer to the magic elixir in such a manner.  

Some of the callers least favourite words were “buck” rather than dollar, monies instead of money, loads (as in loads of fun), kudos, and sexting (this was a hated word).  Phrases that were mentioned were: back in the day, from the get go, at the end of the day, and, when it is all said and done.  Many of these words and phrases do not bother me a bit, but here are few that do: grab (seems impolite), authentic (overused), organic (good word but overused), literally (irritating word), slash (violent), push (a pushy word), puce (unpleasant sounding) and distant (when someone is cold or lacking warmth).
As an exercise one day, I listed words I like and do not like. The words I didn’t like (mentioned above) were far fewer in number than the words I do like. Here is a partial list  of  words I  like: still, mist, silhouette, joy, blessed, grace, vintage, sacred, charming, umber, intuition, Fall and Autumn, pumpkin, magic, cozy, warm, soft, jasmine, texture, linen, cashmere, dishevelled, memory, delicate, shimmer, wisdom, creative, ephemera, sharing, harvest, butter, home, cottage, quiet, silence, crazy and chaos.

There are a multitude of reasons why I like these words—some seem friendly, or simply suggest something pleasant. While dishevelled, crazy, and chaos are not necessarily comforting words, they do describe a part (hopefully miniscule) of our lives, and I like that the very sound of those words are descriptive of what they mean.  A number my favourite words, if found in the title of a book or magazine article, instantly attract me. Home is a word I just love, and almost any book with the word home in it, is a book I will pick up. Fall is my favourite time of year, and quite befitting to the season is three of my other favourites: autumn, harvest and pumpkins. I am sure if you think about it there are words that you find attractive, and words you find off putting (such as off putting).

Language is a lovely and malleable thing—but it can also be crude and harsh. I have a number of words that I hate—but I cannot give you examples as they are not words that are family friendly.  I imagine you know what many of them are—and a lot of them are used in mainstream conversations, and have become part of our everyday language—which is a pity. I think I will keep that wonderful wag, Mark Twain’s words in mind: “Actions speak louder than words but not nearly as often,” when I choose how to express myself.

Published in: on September 2, 2011 at 12:29 am  Comments (2)  
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