Where’s That Word?

September 8, 2010 at 9:21 am | Posted in Writing | Leave a comment
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Too often, although I know so many words, I can’t bring them to mind when I want them. I feel like I’m reaching into a thick, rich alphabet soup, trying to find the one or two words I need out of the millions that are swirling around. As you do with a real soup, you aim for a particular bit, a juicy bit of meat, or a rich slice of vegetable, but it keeps eluding your spoon. It wants to stay there with all its fellows, warm and comfortable.

Little does that word know that if it would only allow itself to be caught, it would grow and multiply – not be consumed. That’s the difference between chicken vegetable soup and a soup of words. Oh, I do wish those words wouldn’t constantly hide from me! I want to have them as friends. Show them off in my stories and poems, or in my cryptic crosswords. You’d think they’d like that!

Other words sometimes jump out of the soup as I stir it. A bit like a fish jumping for an insect, or maybe even for joy. But they aren’t the ones I need right then. They just don’t fit into the line, or the sentence. They don’t have the right meaning or the right cadence. Not like the one I’m really looking for and can’t find. It doesn’t matter whether I scratch my head, chew my pen; or rack my brain for the most suitable word – or sometimes, even for the simplest of words – it doesn’t come.

Right now, I want words for waves – water waves, that is. The kind of words that ripple or roar, tinkle or crash, drip or cascade. Words like ripple, wavelet, comber and tsunami. But that’s as far as I can go. There must be more, but I just can’t think of them. They elude me. I know they’re there in my head. I’ve used them before. You’d think I could find them again, but, oh, no, they’ve gone on holiday somewhere.

I suppose I’ll just have to do what I always do – bring out the thesaurus. And, if I can’t find the words I need, then that award for the best poem or that delightful short story, full of wonderful imagery, brought to life by the apt use of just the right words, will go to someone else’s piece – again!

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