July 22, 2016

Why Do We Have...

...so many words?

That's what an acquaintance actually asked me the other day. "Why? Why can't we just have one word for, say, house and home."

"Because those two words mean different things."

"Well, how about coat? Why can't we only have coat? Why do we need jacket, bolero, trench, blazer..."

I was aghast. Chagrined. Knocked on my side. I did my best, but I think more coherently with my fingers. I tried to compare words to colors. We don't only have red, yellow, and blue. We have all the blends, all the mixes. Imagine trying to paint a picture with only one shade of, say, gray.

"Not the same," said the friend concisely. Precisely. I floundered, flailed, tried to grasp an argument that would keep me afloat.

I've been pondering—thinking, ruminating—this discussion ever since. I spend a major part of my life dabbling with different words. Stroking them, caressing them. Trying to figure out exactly which one suits my current needs. I bank words when I find ones that resonate. I slide them into a special place, under lock and key, for later use. I know I'll come back. I always come back.

"Why?" queried this non-writer. "Why do we have so many?"

Know that I persevered. I drew from my skills, telling a make-believe story with my colorful language... whispering to her in the quiet corner of the cafe how a man she has a crush on might take her behind the building, undo the shiny, pearlescent buttons on her dress one by one, wrap his strong fist in her glossy dark hair, tilt her head back, kiss her neck slowly, so achingly slowly...how the wisp of a breeze might stir the leaves around them, might dance with the hem of her sundress, the hot breath of summer making love to her as much as the man....

Until her cheeks turned that pink you see in the sky at sunset.

"Why do we have so many words?' I asked her back. "Because we're so fucking lucky."


P.S. If you want to purchase 500 of my words—printed out for you and annotated by me—hit me with a note to msalisontyler at yahoo dot com. I am trying something new. More details here.

No comments: