Words I always wanted to use

Amish clothesline by Bruce Stambaugh

Perhaps this post, like this clothesline, is just a lot of literary laundry flapping in the wind.

By Bruce Stambaugh

I have loved words for as long as I can remember. That’s a good thing for a writer.

Following the instruction of a highly regarded journalism professor, I never tried to use highfalutin words in my written endeavors. To be absolutely clear, it was best to write with everyday, run-of-the-mill words.

I have tried to stick to that advice ever since, earnestly desiring to avoid platitudes. Over the years though, I endeavored to expand my vocabulary. I noted catchy words that I either liked or sent me to the dictionary. I gradually created a latent lexis cache for future use.

Procrastinator that I am, I never got around to incorporating most of those exotic words in my dissertations. Consequently my verbose hoard burgeoned.

I figured a quick way to rectify that error would be to incorporate a multitude of those expressive descriptors in one fell swoop. My writer’s itch would then be scratched.

If and when I did such a deed, I pontificated that I had better generate a productive manuscript that actually resonated with the readers. I didn’t want to simply create a haberdashery of verbiage. I saw no need to hemorrhage words just for the sake of typographical splaying.

No matter how many syllables they contained or how obscure, the use of the words had to make sense. I wanted such exhortation to be both sanguine and seminal. That amalgamation would be a challenge. I emphatically didn’t want my text to be blowviating.

It would be inscrutable of me if the sentences were disparate. Therein lay the quandary. There could be no dissonance to what I wrote. I had to maintain my own aplomb. I certainly didn’t want my writing to be disingenuous. The content had to be sublime and easily assimilated.

I had to be succinct, too. A sheer plethora of words would not be acceptable. I couldn’t fathom allowing hubris to interfere with my communiqué. By my own volition, my certitude had to temper my cognition to avoid a panacea of a wanton wordy warren.

I could not permeate my writing with supercilious words that meant zilch to the readers. This discourse had to have evocative consonance. I certainly didn’t want the piece to be an Archipelago of disassociated declarations.

Intuition told me that the document had to be symbiotic. Being glib would never do. Creating a cacophony of jibber would not suffice either.

I knew I had to approach this sensitive assignment with both timidity and temerity. It would be a narrow literary line to walk. I would simply have to conjure up the pluck to pull it off.

Simultaneously, I understood that this nuance of style could not be maniacal in any way, shape or form. There was no room for duplicity.

To be true to both my readers and myself, I absolutely had to use discretion. Otherwise, the entire peripatetic piece would culminate into nothing more than an oxymoron. Such a paroxysm would be extremely unfortunate.

Whether you are agog, aglow or have a sense of animus after reading this, I just hope that this quixotic, idiosyncratic reverie of mine hasn’t dissuaded you. Otherwise I will have orchestrated my own demise with this effusive enigma, this pretentious prattle, this demonstrative claptrap.

Ergo, I would have to plead for impunity. Wait. I better go look up that one.

4 Comments

Filed under Amish, column, photography, writing

4 responses to “Words I always wanted to use

  1. Awesome. You had me at “latent lexis cache.”

    😉

    My favorite word: penultimate, which we word geeks know to mean “next to last.” I use it every chance I get, and I’ve taught my kids (8 and 11) how to use it, too. In fact, just a few weeks ago they celebrated their penultimate Friday of the school year. It was quite a proud moment for me — they used it in context! Woohoo!

    And as a former college journalism instructor, I’ve always advised that my students stick to common language — but every once in a while, throw in a fun word (or heck, an entire post of fun words) just to mix it up. Keep those readers guessing!

    Now I’m off to the dictionary to look up “peripatetic.”

    Like

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