No 5

THE WON­DER OF WORDS

The Simple Things - - THINK -

When did you last fall in love? That thrilling, al­most mag­i­cal, re­cip­ro­cal glance of un­der­stand­ing fol­lowed by a sense of in­fat­u­a­tion is of­ten mir­rored as we cul­ti­vate our re­la­tion­ship with words: pur­su­ing them with fas­ci­na­tion; be­com­ing an ex­pert in their nu­ances of mean­ing and ef­fect, and us­ing them with de­light and love. Be­gin by ex­pand­ing your vo­cab­u­lary. This is where a tra­di­tional dic­tionary wins over com­puter spellcheck­ers. As we flip through the pages, seek­ing a word’s mean­ing or spelling, un­looked-for words catch our at­ten­tion. Choose a page at ran­dom and find a word you haven’t heard of. Try to write a sen­tence con­tain­ing this word, en­sur­ing you use its mean­ing cor­rectly. Think about the way the word sounds – be­yond its mean­ing. The words “shriek” and “shout” have sim­i­lar mean­ings, but the for­mer has a sharper vowel sound. Choos­ing one or the other in a sen­tence would af­fect the at­mos­phere of a scene, in the same way that some­one’s tone of voice can af­fect how we feel about what they say. With aware­ness of what you wish to ex­press in words, and the mood or at­mos­phere you want to cre­ate, you can write with greater in­tu­ition. Read more in The Joy of Mind­ful Writ­ing by Joy Ken­ward (Leap­ing Hare Press). The Sim­ple Things read­ers can save 50% on all ti­tles in this se­ries: thes­im­plethings.com/blog/leap­ing­hare.

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