Words, Words, Words

I’ve just returned from an extended holiday in the UK.  It was first vacation I’ve had in probably 8 years that wasn’t work related, even though there was a smidge of work done on the trip.  This time I went further than just the city of London, which is one of my favorite cities on earth.  Even though I was a French major in college and have a fondness for Paris, I absolutely adore and am in serious crush with England.  And it returned the affection.  The weather was fabby, the people wonderful and the sites everything I’d want them to be.

I’d hoped to do more inhaling of the accent than I was able to but circumstances prevented that.  What I did do was listen to all the talking going on around me, which was so easy to do on the tube.  And for a word junkie like me, it was quite the treat.  I’d read somewhere that Americans use about 2000 words but the Brits use approximately 5000 words.  Very soon I was suffering from word envy.  And it was a serious case of the green eyed monster.  They use the language so richly that I was embarrassed to open my mouth sometimes.  Not really but you get my drift.  When you are in the presence of someone who has more skill than you do at something, a shyness comes about when you realize that you don’t measure up to their expertise and you’d be a fool to even try.

Instead of letting this stop me, I’m resolving to try to increase my master of language and all the wonderful words we have available to use.  After all, I just visited the home of where so many words were created hundreds of years ago.  I wouldn’t be doing my travels justice if I didn’t at least try.  So fair warning dear reader, you may need a dictionary nearby in the future.

Circular Reasoning

The other day I had to go to the Apple store to get a tweak done to the old gal.  I’ve had this laptop for coming up on 4 years and I love it.  I’ll be very sad when it dies and I’m hoping that won’t be for quite a while.  So anywho, while I’m there I said hi to my favorite Apple guy, Andrew, who sold me my first laptop almost 4 years ago.  Andrew and I always get in the best of conversations when I get to see him.  Which isn’t as often as they used to be as I’m not working downtown anymore.  The random topics we cover, once I get finished bugging him about when Apple was going to hook up with Verizon for the iPhone.   That’s just not happening fast enough for me.  But I digress.  On this particular day we were discussing word and number games, crosswords, suduko and the jumble.  Andrew does the jumble which I occasionally tackle but don’t relish it like he does.  He gave me a hint.  He said his grandmother taught him to look at letters in a circle, to write them that way so you can try letters on with each other until you find the ones that go together to make the word.  I thought this was a brilliant strategy.  Take out the linear in the letters and you’ll find the answer.  I’ve employed it many times over the past few days to much success.  I’m now enjoying the jumble a bit more.

This can be applied to so many aspects of life.  I, especially, have a tendency to find a way of doing something and thinking that’s the only way that task can be accomplished, that audition performed, that path followed.  Sometimes things do have a definite way of doing things, such as constructing a house or baking a cake.  But the key here is to shake up the thinking on things that I tend to put on auto pilot.  Not just the letters in a jumble but all aspects of my life and career.  I’m going to put many things in a circle as I look at it so I don’t get stuck in a linear rut.

Use Your Words

My Sister in Law sent me the nicest note of encouragement recently regarding my writing and posting.  She said she looked forward to reading them every day and she thought my Dad would be proud of how I was using my words.  Her phrasing made me smile instantly.  It was such the thing for a Mom of 4 to say and I could hear her saying it to one of her kids whilst they stumbled for the words that weren’t coming as fast as their developing little minds were wanting them to.

But the phrase “use your words” got me thinking.  I’ve always been a geek when it comes to language, at least in my adult life.  Scholastically not so much, in fact I even misspelled surgeon in a spelling test, not so good for the daughter of such a man.  But as an adult, with a voracious appetite for reading, some of that language sunk in.  To the point I became something of a collector of words.  Using them in a sentence correctly alway gave me a bit of a thrill.  I am the kind of person that actually uses the word harridan, proclivity and as evidenced by the previous sentence, voracious.  Not in an intellectually snobby way at all.  Finding new words was a treasure to be unearthed with glee.  The English language is endowed with wonderful words that seldom get taken out and dusted off.  Crossword puzzles were a great source of new material.  It became something wonderful to share with my Dad, the English major turned surgeon, and when he consulted me on a french word or phrase that he was unfamiliar with, a great source of pride.

I think these postings are a way to continue the conversation with my Dad, something I am no longer able to do.  I am able to craft a story and a message I think he would be happy to read as my SIL (our acronym for sister-in-law) pointed out.  I continue my hunt everyday for new words and thoughts and take an immense amount of pleasure in each post.  S-U-R-G-E-O-N.  Never forget that one!

Use your words.