Thursday, October 15, 2015

A Problem with Reading?

by Patricia Cates

Let’s face it…there are a finite number of words in the English language. So it's probably safe to say that at some point, words & concepts will be repeated. Much like music...both can only be arranged in so many ways based on what we have to work with. Although it is known as being the most difficult language to learn...we are lucky as writers to have access to such a complex language as English. Could that ever be a problem?

Perhaps. People can find more adjectives to describe “feeling bad” than in just about any other culture. There are the basics like sad, blue, lousy, crummy, cruddy, crappy and melancholy. There are vocabulary words galore. There are also expletives galore. (Yes, I used galore twice and it felt fabulous. Ha…that makes three!) Thankfully we can choose to use a word once, or twice, or not at all. It is indeed great to have the choice of so many choice words!

For instance, one can choose a myriad of words to tell about a fellow pining away after someone or something. An author can paint a character as feeling depressed, because a love is unrequited, or a dream is left unfulfilled. One can write about suffering intensely and even immensely, or becoming morbidly morose. We can envision teens who are emo and like scream-o, or might be going Goth. That’s just the tip of the "feeling bad" English writing iceberg. So, so many choices.
Our friend Bucky we met at the Tautphaus Zoo
However, my advice today is just to write and journal about how you, or your MC, or your kids are feeling. Dark or otherwise, try not to look up words and forego the thesaurus app. JK. Just try to use what is fitting for the mood and moment. Don’t pay attention to anyone or anything else. Just look into your heart and the right words will emerge and emote. I promise. We have enough of them.
Sadly I have found myself many-a-time actually changing the words I have intricately woven. This happens because a day or two after I have written, (or maybe even a month or year,) I see someone else has already penned the same words. They have used my catchy phrase...and since I don’t want to look like a copy-cat I edit it out. Then I feel really lousy and ripped off somehow. But I didn't invent the isn't solely mine. Thankfully I'm doing better with that. 

Still...I often think, "How is it possible that someone else thought of that first?" SHOOT! Bangers and mash. Barnacles. Fish food flakes. Not a tasty image but its what comes to mind. 
But alas...I need to be reminded that it’s alright to share all of these glorious words, and catchy phrases and funny sayings. It’s okay as long as it’s original….and it’s original if you haven’t already read it somewhere else, right?
That being said, if I have ever used any of your words, I apologize. It would only have been completely coincidental and absolutely unintentional. So the answer is simple.  Avoid reading. It’s downright distracting. 

Oh...and try not to read too much into what people say.  Bucky doesn't and he's clearly found his zen.

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