Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Dictionaries and Divine Madness

Do you ever have that situation where you suddenly wonder how to spell a word, a word you suddenly and achingly really need, because only it is the one that describes what you’re trying to say, so you pick up your Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate or your Concise Oxford—or probably your Brewer’s Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, because you really like that one best and it’s so full of fun words that you might happily get stuck reading for the next two hours when you should be writing—but because you know you shouldn’t be breaking the flow of your fabulous Stream of Consciousness writing by stopping to look something up in the dictionary, let alone editing what you’ve written previously instead of getting on with the actual plot (*Plot!*? Did someone say *Plot!*?) for the last fifteen minutes—which you did even though you know it’s Death to Progress—but then you find the word you were looking up in the dictionary ISN'T actually LISTED, even though you’ve used it all your life even (*amused horror*) at that embassy dinner you found yourself at years ago, so you start to wonder if you’re going batty and pick up your Chambers Dictionary of Etymology, certain that this Great Book will dispel your confusiosity and put your fears of lunacy and early dementia to rest, only to find that it ISN’T THERE EITHER and perhaps it was, in fact, one of those made-up words particular to your family, like ‘moggies’ which means ‘little rocks’ or ‘pebbles,’ or ‘bratters’ which are dowels, or or ‘bears’ and ‘windies’ which are code for farts, , so determined to settle this stupefying enigma once and for all, you turn the wireless router back on to Google it, even though you have a writing PACT with your writing-PACT-partner not to turn it on until at least 9:30, but it’s only 8:38, but you absolutely need to know if the word ***** really exists?

And then, you find your fruitless search for that oh-so-familiar word— a search which was really a diversion for having nothing to say and a possible new case of Writer’s Block—ends up dispelling said case of case Block, even if it just did result in another blog post. (Except for the bits you had to black out because you knew you were going to use them in your novel, the one you’ve been stuck on for a really long time.)

That happens to you, too, right?