Minnesota Musings

Drawn to Words

By April 26, 2020May 9th, 2020No Comments

What I write for warm ups doesn’t really matter. It is literally warming the fingers to the keyboard and making room for the words to flow from my mind to the screen. There is a gap of time, but not so much that I miss the words as they come. It takes practice to see the words in the mind’s eye, grab it and let it come out unimpeded so that it can make some kind of sense to the reader. Well, actually warming up topics do not need to make any sense at all. It is just getting the words out. I don’t come to this with some sort of agenda it is just a flowing of words. A melding of the process of the now into the now.

I find that if I do not finish a sentence or thought it just hovers there in my mind waiting to be expressed. It’s like a customer at the local 7-11 waiting in line. Next! I tend to want to explain the metaphor not trusting that the reader will connect to it. It is one of those areas I want to let go of and simply let the metaphor speak for itself. It must be some sort of control wanting people to understand exactly my meaning. People will connect to it and derive meaning however they will. It is not up to me. Just as they asked Bob Dylan to provide meaning to his lyrics, his response, “I don’t man! That’s not my job! You figure it out!”

There is something to be learned about the idea of not really on some level caring about the meaning and just letting people figure it out. That is assuming that people are smarter than we let on. I see it all the time in movies and TV shows wrapping up meaning in a nice little bow for the viewer to understand without having to ever give any effort or imagination on their part. It’s offensive.

As far back as I can remember I have been drawn to words. Not obsessively, just interested in them. I liked taking long words and figuring out how to use them in context. I wouldn’t look up the meaning of the words, simply determine in what context they could be used. In my early days of wordsmithing, I would use a word incorrectly. Some people would point it out and others would just nod as if I knew I used it correctly.

I usually didn’t look up the meaning of words. It came to me naturally. Naturally in the sense that I would hear a certain word used multiple times and determines its meaning. Take the word preposterous. Basically meaning far-fetched, ridiculous. I never looked up the meaning, but heard it used so often that I learned the meaning of the word. “That is a preposterous claim,” one debater saying to another on one of the political talk shows my Father used to watch.

Usually these types of words I heard in the background of my life. During my childhood the political and talk shows where these words were uttered were not the kind of shows I watched. Playing army, or a board game with my brother, my Father would be sitting in his plush, plaid corduroy chair smoking his pipe while watching these shows. It was here that unconsciously these words would become a part of my lexicon later in life.

As an adult, I would be having a conversation with a friend and out comes the word, “The way in which he argued his point was preposterous. It made no sense to me.” These were what I called “SAT,” or “Scholastic Aptitude Test,” words. SAT is an American high school college readiness test. This test had all kinds of these words. I didn’t score well, but somehow the words would naturally rise to the surface. The only time it wasn’t natural is when I tried to force one of the many words rooted in my unconscious to come out. It was only when I let go and spoke without a thought that the word would come out contextually perfect.

To this day I rarely look up words. If I do it is to make sure the spelling is correct or to use a synonym of another word in case I have used one word too many times. The thing is, I don’t want to alienate my readers by adding way too many SAT words. Only a well placed SAT word here and there keeps it interesting. My readers prefer, like myself simple, clear and direct.

Then I do like to shake things up a bit.

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