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I love words, crew. I adore the play of words. My father was a punster and I grew up reading the masters of words and puns. Like Isaac Asimov. And the magician of the impossible, Ray Bradbury. Aye, I grew up reading the classics of science fiction. But these men were more than writers, they loved words. Especially Asimov.
I love words. They are the basis of magic. Of the spells that created worlds like Middle Earth, Hogworts, Narnia, The Foundation… I love words! I grew up reading Edgar Allen Poe, who played with words and the sounds of words. I fell in love with poetry, with songs…
And I despise seeing words corrupted, or misused. I rant and rail at words being used to debase or belittle. Like real as you all know.
You’re not a real writer.
Oh, you write romance? That isn’t real literature.
When are you going to get a real job?
That isn’t a real religion.
OK. How about the word enough’ Another one of my pet peeves. I dislike words that are born with a nebulous limit. But they are used to dictate value…with a nebulous limit! Define exactly how much enough is, if you can!
Some words are simple poison. Enough is one of those. So is better. Better than what, exactly? And there is the perennial favorite, should. Always used by those telling us what we ‘should’ be doing with our life. I find the ‘shoulders’ often use ‘real’ a great deal. Or misuse real. And they nearly always believe we could be ‘better’ or do ‘better’.
Considering the bloodbath I instigated some months ago, tossing inner critics to the Kraken…ever notice how many of these words are favorites of the critical types?
I know there be ‘sweet’ words that drive others insane. Like the word ‘sweet’. I’m not one of those, I find the word works for me. But I know there are those overused words. I believe they fall in the ‘purple prose’ category. (Why did they choose purple to demonize these words? I like purple…)
There always be the simple malapropisms. Those can be fun, but they ain’t in my hate category. Nah, it be the misuse of words. Not to mention the hijacking of words. Why is bitch a bad word? Or witch? And all the ‘nasty’words, of course. All those words used to discuss genitalia, either gender. I do not understand why words are assigned values that are purely part of denigration. Why is it an insult to call a man a dick? Or a woman a cunt? I do not understand this, really.
Now, words change meanings as generations use them differently. (I can’t tell you all how many discussions I’ve had with my mother over the word ‘gay.’) I understand how words change according to the society…but I don’t like it. No, let me put that differently, it isn’t that I don’t like it…I don’t like seeing good words turned bad. Or simple plain words turned evil.
I do understand the difference between definition and connotation, but I don’t always like that there is a difference. I’m a dreamer, sue me. I’d like to see words returned to their origins, to their purity. Allow the usage to be ascertained by the surroundings. And strive to restore honor to much maligned words, condemn those that limit to their limits!
We are writers. We owe it to the world to use words correctly. To encourage the reader to open their mind and embrace the correct usage of words. Tracing words to their origin often opens minds to how far meanings wander. I have a friend who went to school to study pedagogy which means, basically, the science and art of teaching But I bet that isn’t what most of you thought when you read it!
We all have pet peeves regarding how words are used. What are the ones that drive you crazy? And why? You have any words you are determined to redeem as a writer? Any stereotypes to see slain? Any you see misused that cause you to toss a book into a wall? Or any clever uses that make your heart sing? (I don’t want to be totally negative today!)