I am a bigamist. A polygamist. A seductee. A ravening sensualist. A devotee of the serial relationship. A practitioner of the art of love-’em-and-leave-’em. For words.

I am crazy for words. I am, perhaps, crazy period. And I’m okay with that.

The sound of them. The way they linger in the air. The way they twine together, whispering, like two people in the act of love. The way they taste. The textures of them. The way they change the air or a paragraph. Words.

A dear friend in Chicago, back in the day, loved words as I did. He kept clippings on his wall of odd phrases and bizarre headlines; kept a folder of words he liked. I haven’t gone that far. But the love is there and constant.

I am easily suggestible. The wonderful bloggist Alexander Zoltai used the word “exquisite” recently; it has been with me ever since. Other words have stalked me in this way. For the book-in-progress, I have been obliged to keep a laptop folder of words with which I have been too much in love. Some of them are well-loved, oft-used and familiar. Some are coined. I find it difficult to trade in any of them.

A word used well can call the attention; can seduce the reader’s eye into pausing and reading again. The right word can be punctuation, drama, the crash of a cymbal. It can startle. It can change the direction and understanding of everything that came before it. A word can be an entire sentence. It can be an entire world.

Sometimes, they are the words spoken to me.

My latest beta-reader/friends have checked in about the first five chapters of Everything, the most recent of them this morning. Edgy, interesting, beautifully written, bestseller, crackles, deep, sharp…these are some of my favorite words, now. Especially when they refer to me. Thank you. Humbly, thank you.

What are YOUR favorite words? And why?

What are mine? I won’t name them here. My choices may well have changed in the moments between this one and the clicking of “Publish” for today’s post. For now, I am delighted to have a three-hour drive on my afternoon schedule: The road offers a long white line. And my head writes words there.

 

*My little tribute to Vladimir Nabokov’s amazing ability to pun in several languages at once. L’amour fou…get it? Get it?

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