November 21, 2011

Portrait of a Wordie


A letterboxing friend gave me this plaque a few years ago. Interestingly, it was quite a while before I started writing on a regular basis. At first sight, I thought the sentiment was nice, but didn't give it much thought, really. However, it seems most appropriate now, as I most definitely consider myself a wordie. Hard as it is to believe, writing has become a refuge, an escape, even a guilty pleasure.  My former English teacher would be thrilled, as she tried and tried to get me to write more than just the bare minimum to get by.

word-ie, noun; 1) one who enjoys words of all sorts, especially unusual, rare or vintage words, and is intrigued at their spelling and how they interact with other words; 2) one who gains pleasure from writing and speaking beyond what is considered average or normal usage of their native language; 3) one who is adept at playing with words in unusual ways, such as reversing their order or pronunciation, including other languages and pseudo-languages into their native speech, oftentimes incorporating singing, rhymes, chants, word puzzles or anagrams into their daily language usage.

My grandparents were wordies.  I well remember sitting on Gramma's lap, listening to her read aloud stories from books, magazines or the newspaper. She and my grandfather (both of blessed memory) had made up their own language of exceptional vocabulary words, yiddish, pig-latin, reversed pronunciation, rhymes and puns. I remember enjoying their banter back and forth as they would read articles, translating from the written word to this unique and incredible language. It is amazing what a young child can learn, as this five year old could understand and communicate in this made-up concoction of words.

As a life-long wordie, there are times when I have so much on my heart that it is almost impossible to fit the contents into the confines of consonants and vowels, but I continue to try. Frequently, I am fighting the urge to say things that perhaps shouldn't be said at all. I know from experience that I'm not the only one who has this problem. (The upside of this failing is that one gets rather good at apologizing. *smirk*)

Here are a few simple tests, if you will, to determine if you, or anyone you know, is a wordie.  See if you recognize any of these tell-tale signs:
You may be a wordie if you are excited at hearing new words, want to know their definitions and instantly vow to incorporate them into your working vocabulary.  This vow, however, gets broken rather easily, I've found.

You may be a wordie if you are fascinated with languages other than your own and you look for commonality with your native tongue.

You may be a wordie if you behold a beautiful landscape and instantly start describing the scene in your head with seldom used adjectives and descriptors.

You may be wordie if, when you hear conversation, you visualize the entire interchange in written context, complete with correct punctuation.

You may be a wordie if you search writing blogs for enjoyment, have several different online dictionary sites bookmarked just to compare definitions, or love word games such as crossword puzzles, word scrambles or word searches.

You may be a wordie if you find yourself textually critiquing the pastor's notes from last his sermon or teaching, or frequently wish you could be someones ghost writer just to help them out.

You may be a wordie if you use twice as many words as possible to get your point across just because they are so appropriate for the situation, or conversely, if you can distill a concept or thought into few words very succinctly.  You may even refer to words as 'delicious', 'sweet' or 'perfect'.

You may be a wordie if you have ever been referred to as a 'master wordsmith', or if others have commented that they would love to be able to write or speak as you do.

You may be a wordie if you thrill at the well-crafted paragraph that leads to a crescendo, shake your head in amazement at the perfectly thought out response in a debate, delight in the poem that paints a vivid picture in your mind or marvel in awe at the amazing lyrics of a song that were obviously written just for you (and a million other people).

You may be a wordie if you personally challenge yourself to stating ideas or responses in the most diplomatic or sarcastic way possible...depending upon the situation, of course.

Yes, words are the voice of the heart. I will always contend that you can know a lot about a person by the words they choose, either written or spoken.

(Just don't judge me by my over-use of commas, semi-colons or ellipses, OK?)


I love writing.
I love the swirl and swing of words
as they tangle with human emotions.
~James Michener

2 comments:

Ari C'rona said...

Oh, yeah! I'm a wordie, alright - this whole flow made me smile as I took in every phrase making my own connections to the memories tucked in the corners of my mind.

Hats off to my master wordsmith friend! :o)

Mama Cache said...

You know this makes me smile! All of it!