Effervescence and the Architecture of Words
The Beautiful and Aesthetically Pleasing Museum of Natural Sciences – Raleigh NC
I see this and my brain immediately wants to form words–words like curvilinear and symmetry. Was Shakespeare ever captivated by the architects of his day? Could I even describe this place in such a way as to sound interesting? To do it justice?
“Words mean things” a wise man once said. Obviously and yet profound I thought. As writers, of course we want to convey our thoughts, our stories, dialogue, and facts using the best words possible. When I write, I want words to fizz, pop, and bubble up to the top like an Alka-Seltzer tab, and not fizzle out like a flat soda. I want them to linger a while with the reader and leave an after taste. But how?
Ah, the mystery of writing. What gives some words gravitas where as other words just sink and sit ho-hum like, forgotten as soon as they are read? Do intelligent words actually exist and if so–are they effective? Or do they simply sound pretentious and arrogant when simple words get the thoughts across? Are we in such a rush these days, we just want the most easily digestible words possible?
When I write fiction I’m tempted to give my characters names like Raul, Josephine, Antonio, and Cleopatra. I tend to want to bypass Ron and Mary. I want them to eat cherimoya and dragon fruit when they are not busily having love affairs employed as sommeliers or crop duster pilots. I don’t want my characters speaking inaniloquently (idly) but lamprophonically (loudly and clearly)!
And descriptions? Don’t even get me started. Adjectives and adverbs are like crack to the literary lover! Words like surreptitious, titular, uncouth, precocious, swimmingly, and unseemly rush to the parietal lobe as I write.
Then I remember this: I don’t like pretentious people. I’m not impressed with pedigree, status, or anything else I deem artificial. Do today’s readers value clever language or economy of time?
Equally wise wisdom I learned as a kid: KISS—Keep it simple, stupid! Hmmmm…
You decide. Please the masses or please yourself when you write, please the outer critics, or please the inner one? Only you know. Good luck wading in the deep water of words as you press some words today. May you write true without losing you. Have fun!
How about you? Your thoughts?