by Jacqueline Luckett
I recently defended my Spelling Bee title at a local fundraising event. I didn't prepare in a conventional way. I simply thought about words.
Thankfully, words come to all of us quite naturally. Some of us are better at vocabulary than others, not so much in the grasp of meaning, but in sheer volume.
In my novel, PASSING LOVE, French words play an important part of the story. Each chapter begins with a French vocabulary lesson that sets the tone and theme for what follows. I wanted these words to convey a sense of the Paris experience, to give a feel of the sound and nature of the language that plays such an important part in the main characters’ lives.
We think about words all of the time, especially in this era of texts and emails where the wrong word (or even the right one in the wrong context) can be easily misinterpreted. We've all had experiences with auto-correct giving new and unintended meanings to a sentence.
Writers think about words, not only in day-to-day conversation and thought, but every time we put pen to paper or fingers to keyboard. Words are our business. Yet, they’re a time-consuming task: thinking of them, looking up definitions, synonyms, antonyms and homonyms (See? Simply thinking of and spelling those words was hard work.). We fret over their order, their impact, their placement. And we love (most of the time) every minute of it.
But words are magnificent and powerful tools.
Writers do more than communicate with words, we create:
Conflict and mystery.
Success and failure.
Words are marvelous. And strung together in a perfect sentence (oh yes, I've read more than a few), they’re nothing short of amazing.
Last year I won the spelling bee by correctly spelling hirsute (hairy). This year I went down for the count on flocculent (having or resembling tufts of wool) the adjective, not to be confused with flocculants, the noun (substances that promote clumping). Who knew?!
Today my favorite word is susurrate. What's yours?
Jacqueline Luckett is the author of two novels: Passing Love and Searching for Tina Turner. She collects unusual words, a habit picked up years ago when her aunt introduced her to a list of 100 words all girls should know.