Beginner's Heart

Beginner's Heart


epeleolatry (and the worship of words) ~

I confess. I’m a total word nerd. I was that kid you hated in 4th grade, who begged for spelling words, and won the spelling bee, and had her nose in a book so often that even my grandmother – an old teacher – yelled at me: Girl! Get your nose out of that book! I didn’t invite you to read all weekend!

This past semester I learned a new word: ‘squeg.’ It means to ‘oscillate between max and zero, as in an electronic current.’ But the student who brought the word to class (we have Daily Word in class – words we love, don’t know, want to share…) thought it meant the apogee of a conversation. When I heard her definition, I thought: hmmm… who knew conversations had apogees?

Still, it’s a new word, however discordant it sounds. It’s hard to make melody from a ‘q’. I used to love the word queer, until it began to be used to beat up friends. I liked the way the mouth purses to make the qu dipthong, and then almost smiles to make the ee. It’s noticing (and caring about) things like this that confirm my complete word nerdiness.

All of this makes me quite odd, if you think about it. Because I find squeg an unlikeable word. How can you like or dislike a word, you ask? A sentence – that’s different. It may be poorly written, unclear, etc. We all remember THOSE classes :). But an orphan word? Unattached to parents subject and predicate? Naked of modifiers? Ungendered in its lack of pronouns? What’s to hate about that??

I give you… music. There is no music in ‘squeg.’ It even lacks the onomatopoiea  of ‘squelch.’ Or the whispery finality of ‘squish.’ It’s the ‘g.’ The whole word becomes guttural. And for word nerds? That’s enough.

Except actually, according to the Venn diagram , I’m a word ‘geek’: if you’re obsessed w/ words (guilty :)), and reasonably intelligent (debatable), then you’re a word geek. No rhyme, unfortunately, but accurate… Which should be worth at least as much as rhyme, even if it doesn’t sound as good…

So are you asking what this has to do w/ Beginner’s Heart? All the small things we love make us who and what we are. I heard the poet Carolyn Forché speak recently, and she called our little, everyday decisions the ‘rucksack of our aesthetic.’ We become them, these tiny habits. Perhaps even more than what we think matters, what matters are the infinite & infinitely small day-to-day choices we make. Our quotidian existence :) (another great word!) Like collecting words…

 

 


[1] The worship of words.



Previous Posts

snowy days
Today my son & DIL's back yard is snuggled in under a white blanket of new snow. Actually, the new inches are layered over the previous feet. This is the Blue Ridge Mountains, and snow is part of winter. A

posted 3:13:05pm Mar. 05, 2015 | read full post »

the pain we bring to others
There are days we will hurt people. Days when our thoughtless actions will crack through the protective shells we all wear to get us through our lives. There are times when some thoughtless action -- with no ill in

posted 1:36:57pm Mar. 02, 2015 | read full post »

contrasts and contradictions (or not...)
See the snow outside? It's inches -- nothing for Boston (they should be so lucky!), but a big deal for Oklahoma. And more to come, the weather folks predict.  A cardinal is on one feeder, a vivid splash of colou

posted 11:42:43am Feb. 28, 2015 | read full post »

a long long time ago, or, updating our moral software
  This used to be the way America looked at women voting. And to be honest, some of these jokes are still around. But for the vast majority of Americans, we accept that women have the right to vote. Even though it's not in the original Constitution. That's an important 'even though,' sin

posted 10:52:31pm Feb. 26, 2015 | read full post »

the vulnerability of grace
This is a post about sharing. About a man who has inspired me for a long time, and his impending loss. It's about intelligence, wit, and vulnerability. And the irreplaceable magic of those braided qualities

posted 4:25:29pm Feb. 23, 2015 | read full post »




Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.