It’s Only Words, And Words Are All I Have

I love words. Always have. Always will. And having declared myself on Tuesday to be a writer (!), I’m noticing them more. This morning I exchanged emails with a couple of authors – co-incidentally – and one complimented me on my choice of a particular word and with the other, I noticed a phrase she used which resonated with me. Two phrases, actually.

Let’s do the word first.

Sanguine.

I know from the dormant part of me that fancies herself a linguist that sanguine has something to do with blood. And that awareness colours (pardon the pun) my use of the word, but on this occasion that had nothing to do with what I meant. I meant content to be patient. When my correspondent said “sanguine is such an apt word in so many cases”, I had cause to look it up. This is something I do most days, look up the definition of a word. It may be a word I think I already know and enjoy e.g. sanguine, and just want to be sure of its usage, or choose to look at the word afresh.

The definition of sanguine is “cheerfully optimistic, hopeful or confident” which pretty much describes me to a T. No wonder I like that word so much. It can also mean ruddy-faced, bloody or blood red which seems to add something to the word for me, although I try to avoid all of those things in my daily goings-on.

Unless you are also a wordsmith, you have probably lost the will to live by now. Increasingly, with my advancing years, and especially in conversation, I notice that I cannot always bring the word I want to mind in an instant. I know there is a word which perfectly describes what I am trying to say; I just cannot call it to mind fast enough. This can be somewhat frustrating if, like me, you like to express yourself precisely. Sometimes another word simply will not do. I notice that most people I am talking to when this happens don’t care. They are probably just hoping I will shut up. Anytime soon would be good for them, so that they might get a word in edgewise.

And so to the phrases.

In the first one, my correspondent describes herself as an “independent old bird”. Cripes, me too! Those three words sent me off into a thoughtful few seconds contemplating if and how that was a good or bad thing. Generally good, of course, though equally bad for those who want to share more of my life and my time than I am prepared to surrender.   Bovvered?

The second phrase in the same email that connected with me was … actually I am going to re-produce the whole sentence as I realise this isn’t about the collection of words my pal chose to use or how she put them together, rather the sentiment she expresses when she says:

“I’ve overworked and over-diversified myself too much over the last couple of years, as you know, so this winter is to be a mixture of focus and slow down to really recover and rebuild from the last few months of stress and worry.”

This woman thinks very hard before she chooses words to describe how she feels, or anything else for that matter. And you can see that in her sentence. It resonated with me because it also reflects my own life experience over the same years she describes. It’s mostly what my gap year is all about and I am nicely into it, thanks very much. I don’t think I could even have started this daily writing intention at any point in the last nine months, such was my depletion.

If you love words too, here are a couple of innovative ways you might enjoy them:

1.   There’s a fabulous little charity I support and follow on Twitter called I CAN. Their mission is to ensure no child who struggles to communicate is left out or left behind. You can Adopt A Word and help the I CAN cause from as little as £15 and own and enjoy your word on keyrings, T-shirts and more. My word is ENTREPRENEUR. Stephen Fry’s word is WORDY. Bliss. Wish I’d thought of that!

2.   Do you know about Wordle? Here you can create beautiful word clouds just for fun, or for use on a variety of media such as business cards. As they used to say on Blue Peter and may still do for all I know, here’s one I made earlier.
Wordle: JM Wordle demo

What’s your favourite word? If you too love words, do share a few in the comment opportunity below.

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