• j.mee

Don't be glom...


That's not a typo.

Well, technically it doesn't make sense on it's own, which does make it seem like a typo. But it's a reference, not an error.

It references what I'll be discussing in this very blog post... which you won't get until after you've read the whole blog post... so maybe it wasn't the best word choice to start us off, but now I've written this follow up paragraph discussing it. If I try to change it now, a bunch of dominoes will fall.

So, why did I write that you shouldn't be glom?

Well - do you know the definition of glom?

One of my readers didn't. She also didn't know the words: muse, gesticulate, tungsten and plethora. And she was a high school English teacher for more than two decades. (Okay, the reader is my mom. Hi Mom, thanks for reading my stuff!) She pointed out the vocabulary in my story might be a little higher than the breadth of my readers. I know, I know, no one wants to pick up a dictionary or even go to dictionary.com to help them understand a story about rainbows or unicorns.

But hey, I like... nay... I LOVE words like glom.

(Still don't know what it means? Let me give you some context: She glommed onto Marybeth. It's a verb meaning take possession of with a hint of unwantedness.)

Let me tell you a story: years ago, as a waitress, I was hanging out after a shift, doing some writing on the patio and a fellow waiter came over and asked what I was writing. He was cute but not so cute as to be intimidating, so I showed him my story. The particular paragraph was about a girl driving away in a rainstorm. In meticulous detail, I described the wiper blades arduous journey back and forth across the window pane.

He said, "I don't know what arduous means."

I said, "oh, it's kind of like hard or difficult."

He said, "why didn't you just say difficult?"

And I never spoke to him again.

I'm kidding.

I just didn't date him.

Because he didn't like me.

But, all truthful jokes aside, there's a reason now, that I used the word glom, and there was a reason then, that I wrote the word arduous and not difficult, hard or even tough.

Because, to me - word choice matters. In two ways:

Firstly, although similar, arduous has a slightly different meaning/context than difficult does. Bear with me, it might be difficult to explain (but it's not arduous to explain. No one says that. Ever.) To wit, here are their definitions:

arduous: requiring great exertion; laborious; difficult; hard to endure

difficult: not easily or readily done; requiring much labor, skill, or planning to be performed successfully; hard

Is something that's difficult always arduous? Is something that's arduous always difficult? I would argue no, they are not. Sure, there is lots of over lap between the definitions, but there are areas the one or other doesn't necessarily cover as well. (Huh, that wasn't as arduous to explain as I thought.)

And secondly, there's the way the word sings. Not a literal chorus, of course, but the playful interconnection of multiple words to form the tone and voice of a piece of writing. One word will usually sound superior to its synonyms in the word play of a particular sentence. Even if it does mean the exact same thing, it doesn't sound the same. And that matters.

So, the question becomes, do I alter my work for my writing to become more accessible to more readers?

That's a case-by-case conversation for me and my future publisher.

For now, I can say this:

muse: a goddess presiding over a particular art.

gesticulate: to make or use gestures, especially in an animated or excited manner with or instead of speech.

tungsten: metallic element having a bright-gray color,

plethora: overabundance; excess:

Hope that helps :)

#TheImpersonators #glom #vocabulary #spelling #dictionary

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