Sunday, October 01, 2006

Savoring Words

On Agent Kristin's blog, she posted about her author's German covers. She mentioned that the sound of German thrilled her. (I'm positive she didn't mean it thrilled to her in quite the same way it thrills me.)

On Miss Snark's blog, a commenter used the word, "frenemy." Totally cracked me up. I love words, especially made up words, that have so much meaning you just want to trip over yourself finding that perfect opportunity to use it.

In the meantime, I can just sit here and smile as I repeat to myself, "frenemy," over and over looking just a little insane.

I was reading Neil Gaiman's new release of short stories, Fragile Things, and almost orgasmed when I discovered the made-up word, "upsettling," which is, as he explained, halfway between "upsetting" and "unsettling." *grins*

God, I love language.

It reminded me of the days when I first started writing. How was it for you? For me, I sat for hours, grinning at the screen and toying with a sentence. Ohmigod, I had so much fun. I'd play with the words until I found precisely the exact word that made the sentence pop.

Nowadays, it's write, write, write; faster, faster, faster. I don't play with the language much anymore. I could delude myself into thinking that I'm more practiced, more efficient, and that I know the right word right away. No need for playtime.

*insert big knee slap here*

Back to savoring German words, I was trying to remember what made the German language so beautiful to me. One, the poetry. Two, the literature, and Three ... HUGE THREE ... the art songs. The study of all three in college gave me the pleasure of dissecting the words and analyzing why one was chosen over the other. The study of art song and music made me search poetry for the most meaningful word, and to give those words even more meaning with the interpretation of the music.

Art song is my greatest musical love. Poetry and music together ... I can't even express the pleasure I feel in art song. Dear god, please don't let the form die while I'm still alive.

Back--yet again--to savoring the language. When I listen to English people speak, I get the impression that each word has more meaning--or maybe more precise meaning--than when Americans speak the language. Something about listening to English people talk makes me feel like the language is appreciated more.

I don't read that richness in a lot of American prose. In the poetry, maybe.

The English use the language with relish, whereas Americans just speak the words.

Anyway, I miss those days of savoring words. In conservatory, we spent a little bit *insert grin* of time discussing the correlation between sex and music. Form, sex, and music.

You know, language can be orgasmic, too.

7 bonus scribbles:

Bernita 10/01/2006 08:31:00 AM  

Yup.
And I get annoyed at people who snot at "new" words - as if language was a static thing.

spy scribbler 10/01/2006 10:26:00 AM  

You're kidding me! People really snot at new words? They're witnessing invention and evolution of the language and they turn away? But that's the beauty of it!

StarvingWriteNow 10/01/2006 03:31:00 PM  

I have no real problem with new words, but it is somewhat distressing to me when I hear about the breakdown, due to modern fast-fast-fast times, of the English language. Turning every word possible into an abbreviation; hacking away at proper spelling...they don't even teach penmanship with any enthusiasm any more. My son can print somewhat neatly, can barely write cursive (I think they spent maybe 2 weeks on it in 3rd grade and never returned) but he can type a text message like a maniac. I was always so proud of my penmanship, and now feel like a dinosaur whenever I write something out in cursive.

spy scribbler 10/01/2006 04:23:00 PM  

I hear you about the breakdown of the language. I tried writing with a pencil the other (not writing writing; just moving a pencil on paper) and I couldn't believe how much it hurt.

My muscles aren't trained to do anything but type anymore. Isn't that crazy? The fact is, I hardly ever need to use a pencil. I've got a palm pilot for notes, a computer for work ... so there's not much left for writing.

It makes you wonder how quickly writing will become a unnecessary skill.

But 2 weeks!!! We spent a whole YEAR on it, and then we had to write everything in cursive for two or three years after that!

Bernita 10/02/2006 08:25:00 AM  

Yup.
There are those who will declare that one cannot - absolutely cannot - use "snot" as a verb, too...
Language is communication. It is organic. It adjusts to needs or it dies.

sasha 10/02/2006 07:34:00 PM  

like your blog. i don't even know how i found your blog, but i love spy stories and am a writer, too. i don't write spy stuff, though. i write more mainstream love story (NOT romance novel genre) or mystery with a mix of a tiny bit of paranormal.

in about a month i hope to finish my wip and start sybmissions.

spy scribbler 10/02/2006 09:31:00 PM  

That's cool, sasha! I love spy stories, too. What is it about them that makes them so fascinating?

Good luck with your submissions!