11.17.2009

The One About Words

I love big words. Perhaps, not as much as Lara Flynn Boyle's character in the 1994 film Threesome. Big words really floated her boat. Don't get me wrong. I'm a huge fan. But they've never satisfied me that much. Yet.

Language has always had great allure for me. I studied Greek and Latin. And briefly entertained the thought of Russian because. Wait for it. Wait for it. Because I thought it would be fun. Yeah, and like Greek, it's an entirely different alphabet. I. Thought. It. Would. Be. Fun.

I find some words inherently funny or delicious to say. I am certainly not the first or last to appreciate the beauty of the use of language by a great writer such as Shakespeare. Duh. I have had much time to think of my love of big words because I have started to record audio books. The one I'm just finished is called Lost and Philosophy. It ties in TV show Lost with philosophical concepts. And you know those philosophers like Plato and Sartre, well, they don't just ten dollar words, they use twenty dollar ones. And sometimes in different languages. It has been a delight.

I've said beneficence, sadism, internal determinism, guerrilla ontology, and that's just the beginning. Throw in a bit of relativism here and there and a whole lot of French and German and Greek philosophers with their two cents and it's been a hey day for my mouth. Luckily, I could already say supercalifragilisticexpialidocious. Thank goodness.

My love of big words also leads to a love a turn of a phrase, which, for me, is connected to music. I do not tend to read poetry very often. I'm not against it. I just never took to it. Though I appreciate a lovely poem, naturally. I realize that lyrics are just poetry set to music. I believe that statement also called for a Duh to follow it.

Some lines that please me, from The Beatles Norwegian Wood "I once had a girl, or should I say, she once had me." From Mary Chapin Carpenter's It Don't Bring You "Now there's a hole here in my pocket where all my dreams have gone, Fallen out like so many nickels and dimes." From Brien Travis's Dispatches (buy it now on Tales of Lazy Wednesdays at iTunes and Amazon) "And I'm hoping to catch fire again with these matches, As I sit and drink a few, Sending out these little dispatches, A couple of ounces for you."

The turn of the phrase in the entire film of My Fair Lady from 1964 is nothing short of brilliant. Well, it as all about language now isn't it? It is a well-written film that appeals to me the most. I go for dialogue then imagery. I can appreciate a well-shot film. But if the words are poorly strung together and ponderous then I am not going to participate in the snooze-fest.

Give me something to wrap my mind and mouth around. (And get your mind out of the gutter for once.) Don't be afraid of big words. They are precise and exist for a reason. Don't say chew if what you really mean is masticate. I know I don't walk, I prance. And slink. But plain walk? Even I know I don't do that. Haven't done that for years. Words are wonderful. Open your mouth and speak them clearly. Mumbling will get you nowhere. I do not speak mumble.

Use a big, glorious, stupendous word today. It will feel exquisite.