Monthly Archives: May 2012

Monday’s words — D

I’ve got to tell you, while I do have some favourite D words (I’ll get to those in a bit) I find the letter D to be one of the harshest letters of the english alphabet. Not for the sound it makes, that’s harmless enough, but for the many D words that are demeaning, disgusting or just downright depressing.

Instead of embracing diversity and celebrating our differences we delineate, demarcate and differentiate. We would sooner point out someone’s disabilities than discuss their abilities. We discriminate against the destitute and think of them as human detritus, disparaging them by considering them as disparate from ourselves as possible. We destroy much of our environment and disenfranchise our youth, our elderly and our poor, often treating them disingenuously. Our animals suffer from distemper. When we try to understand a literary work we deconstruct it. When we don’t get what we think we want we are said to be disillusioned.

Whew. You may have gotten the idea that there aren’t any D words I like. Well, let me disabuse you of that notion. Disambiguate, as it were. There are indeed D words that I love; their sound, their meaning(s), their inherent hope and sometimes anger. Some of them have already been used in this post. Some others are delicious, delectable, desire and destiny.

Do you think any one letter is better than any others? Do you find, like I do, that D words have a lot to make up for?

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writing

My mother joined a writing group at her local seniors’ centre 2 or 3 years ago. The group is facilitated by a retired high-school English teacher; they meet once a week and present stories or poems they have written on whatever topic was assigned the previous week. My mother writes from her life, she doesn’t do fiction. She says she can’t write about something she hasn’t experienced herself. Her offerings are more often than not the hit of the week. The director of the seniors’ centre publishes my mom’s stuff in the monthly newsletter and on the website. The other night she told me about this week’s assignment (a torrid affair) and said she can’t write about that, she doesn’t even know what “torrid” means. She will write about it, in her own way, and it won’t be some romance fluff piece, it’ll be something that no one has ever associated with “a torrid affair” and it will be good. She probably won’t start it until Monday morning (the group meet Monday afternoons) and it might not seem to be on topic at all, but it will come to her and she will write. She said to me, “I can’t make myself sit down and write. It’s just something that needs to come out. I feel like I have to get it out of my system, and then I sit down and it just flows.” It is amusing to me to hear my mother describe her writing process in exactly the same way that I would describe mine.

Here is a little something I just had to get out. It was a couple of months ago and it was late and I couldn’t sleep. This is why.

 

I stand alone in this crowded room, surrounded.
This is all so new to me; not the aloneness, but the circumstance.
There are thirty to forty people here.
There is maybe one I recognize.
There is mingling, there is milling about.
The obligatory meet and greet.
We say hello, are introduced, chit-chat and retreat; move on.
I stand alone – and wind up with you beside me.

I stand alone.
It’s different now; I know these people.
The cast of characters hasn’t changed but the circumstance sure has.
We’ve been together a number of years now, this motley crew and I.
There are thirty to forty people here.
There are two I don’t recognize.
We still mingle and mill about.
We say “hi!” and laugh, converse, commiserate, hug, move on.
I stand alone; I watch.
I wait for you to show and wind up here beside me.

You enter and suddenly I stand alone;
in the middle of a conversation everyone fades away until there is only you.
I am amazed at how the room can dim and be so brightly lit all at the same time.
We stand alone – you and I together.
Me with you beside me.

I stand alone in this crowded room, surrounded.
Again, it’s all so new.
The old gang’s all here, along with about a hundred more.
Just another meet and greet.
There’s mingling, crying, hugging, “I’m so sorry,” shake hands and move on.
The deafening sound of the hushed whispers is more than I can take.
I step back and realize:
I stand alone – with you nevermore beside me.

 

Do you write? Is it just something that bubbles up out of you, threatening to explode if you don’t get it down on paper?

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Monday’s words — C

Today I am full of love. That is not to say that I am not full of love on any other day, but just that it is something that should be known and proclaimed: today I am full of love. Love is an exceptional thing. It is bubbling inside of me and making me bounce and laugh and cry and grin. It is making me both tense and loose; rigid and flowing. All in all, today has been an exceptional day.

It is Monday, and today that means it is a word day. Today’s words will start with the letter C. I quite enjoy the letter C. It is so changeable. On its own it can sound like a K or an S or a SH or a CH. It can be paired with other letters to create some of those same sounds. Quite versatile.

today’s post is brought to you by the letter C

Some of my favourite C words are cerulean, conundrum, cloister and chameleon. I also like communal and commune (with commune being either a noun or a verb). These of course branch off into community and communication. I like how the CH in chimera is a K sound while the CH in chiropodist can be a K sound or a SH sound or the guttural german combination of the two. Certain. Certainly. Certainty. I wonder if  don’t think  there could be a better word for a large, angry, destructive fire than conflagration. I love how the word caress can sound and feel just like a caress if you say it the right way. I totally love how the word cleave can mean two completely opposite things: to divide or split and to adhere firmly and closely or loyally and unwaveringly.

I also have a favourite C anecdote. It comes from a show called Mad About You and goes a little something like this:

PAUL
Clamenza! Clamenza! (in a high pitched voice)
Clamenza? Clamenza? Helloooo Clamenza’s!
Clams. Clamenza Clams. Clamenza Clams. Ah,
Clamenza. (a la Brando as Godfather) Clamenza,
how about some clams? Clamenza, try the clams.
We have clams. Where’d you get your clams?
Clamenza brought clams. (back to Paul) I’m done
with the Clamenza thing.

LONG PAUSE

JAMIE
Alright, one more.

PAUL
CLAMENZA!

C words. Not always a bad thing.

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have I told you lately?

I recently read a post over at Hands Free Mama titled Six Words You Should Say Today and it really got me thinking. Not that I don’t think anyway, but Rachel often gets me looking at and thinking about things I tend to gloss over. Things we all often take for granted. This particular post gave some good advice for interacting and encouraging our children. I loved it. I tried it. I didn’t wait for an opportunity to arise involving my own child, I used it when volunteering in Kindergarten the day after I read it. It was beautiful to see the effect of “I love watching you write letters” on a little one.

What else happened was that this led me to think of all the times we, as parents, use “I love you” as a precursor for some lesson or reprimand. I say “we” because I’m pretty sure I am not alone in this.

  • I love you but could you please remember to flush the toilet?
  • I love you but if you had done what I asked you to do you in the first place you wouldn’t be stuck behind the couch.
  • I love you but can’t you read quietly for awhile?

I realised that I have a tendency to do this. I think my belief was that starting with “I love you” somehow made the reprimand easier to tolerate. Having given it some thought, I no longer believe that. I now think it actually takes away from the “I love you” and makes the bad stuff even worse. The simple act of removing the “but” and making two separate statements changes the whole thing.

  • I love you. Please remember to flush the toilet.
  • I love you. Let me help you out from behind the couch. Next time try to do what I ask.
  • I love you. Could you please read quietly for awhile?

    … just love …

Don’t get me wrong, I often tell BoyGenius that I love him — without any qualifiers at all. But I also do this other thing. And I’m going to stop. Because my loving him isn’t contingent upon him flushing the toilet or eating his vegetables. It just is.

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