Monday, April 1, 2013

Where do words come from?

... not a vacuum.

They come from messages I read, hear, or otherwise am exposed to in this here world. In an effort for me to understand the source of my words and therefore my thoughts, actions and behaviors, I'm forcing myself to generate a list. I was that kid that said a word I liked because I thought it sounded neat without actually understanding the meaning of the word. 

Occasionally I still say words I'm not completely sure the meaning of because I like them. This can be embarrassing or entertaining depending on who you are. I try to be more careful, but sometimes I just can't help myself.  Jacob and I had a conversation the other day about the fact that I didn't really understand the meaning of peccadillo. I had always thought it meant quirk, "we all have our pecadillos-deal with it." In fact, I'm pretty sure Robin Williams used it in this way when he and Matt Damon were having a therapy session in Good Will Hunting. I did not fact check that-but I think that is the root of my peccadillo misunderstanding. Peccadillo means sin as Jacob pointed out to me. Apparently he had pointed that out to me multiple times. 

I have a really bad memory. 
I like to think this is an endearing quirk.

Jacob then went on to say how frustrated he was that people used the word literally when they mean figuratively. Which is confusing. "It was literally 1,000 degrees outside." Saying literally when you don't mean literally does not add emphasis. 

I've been to the Mountain View Public Library a lot in the last year or so. I didn't realize I could track my reading list online and didn't click yes on my profile, so most of what I've read is lost in my mind. Perhaps the words come to me in dreams at night, or trickle into everyday conversation, or have made their way into my writing. I want to understand how words I read affect me so this is my effort to do so. This does not come naturally. I have to work at listing.

Without further ado: 

Books I've read in the last few months that I liked enough to remember now:

This Close: Stories-Jessica Francis Kane (2013)
Lucid Stars-Andrea Barrett (1988)
Servants of the Map-collection of short stories-Andrea Barrett (2002)
The End of the Story-Lydia Davis (2004)
Franny and Zooey-J.D. Salinger (1961)
The Psychopath Test-Jon Ronson (2011)
Them-Jon Ronson (2001)
On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft-Stephen King (2010)
No Woman Tenderfoot: Florence Merriam Bailey, Pioneer Naturalist-Harriet Kofalk (2002)
Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer from Within-Natalie Goldberg (2005)
Psychiatric Tales:Eleven Graphic Stories about Mental Illness-Darryl Cunningham (2011)

When I'm not doing other things and spend time on the internets, these are the sites I visit most frequently.

I like all of these sites for different reasons. If I had a million dollars I would donate it all to them for the work they do. Not all of it. But a lot of it. 

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