Words

I realized it was time to retire the notebook when the back cover came apart a month or two ago. It had followed me wherever I went and the wear and tear that age brings was visible on its shabby pages.

I started maintaining it while I was in school. It was something that I had started on a whim and I was surprised to find that, years later I still kept at it.  It began as a way of adding new words into my limited vocabulary but soon grew into something less impersonal. Every time I came across a new word or a word which piqued my interest, it would secure a place in the notebook.

Gradually old words I had forgotten about made its way into the pages. Words for rainy days, words I wouldn’t use now but might need later (filigree, disingenuous, bilious), volatile words, jagged words, hostile words (‘pogrom’ makes me shudder every time), mutated words, sensuous words, over used words, words that have the power to break hearts, tired clichés – they’re all crammed in there somewhere between lines of teenage doggerel and hurriedly scrawled shopping lists.

Two whole pages were devoted to colours (Prussian blue, burnt umber, carmine, cosmic latte, radical red and tangerine. Aren’t these lovely?) Phrases from songs, lines of poetry and interesting word-pairings which occurred to me or which I’d encounter in my reading were also immortalized in my little yellow notebook (Casual aplomb, repositories of dreams, sandalwood days, inheritance of loss. My favourite so far is lecherous octopus. Not very poetic, but apt on occasion) Marriages between words interested me. Sometimes the most unexpected of unions sound so right.

Internalizing new words into your vocabulary isn’t always easy. We usually fumble for familiarity and words need to grow on you, it isn’t something you can force upon yourself. When I was younger I would pepper my conversation with ‘big’ words. Why? Maybe I wanted to exude an air of intelligence, maybe I wanted to impress people. I don’t know. Thankfully I’m more prudent now. Use your words wisely, children.


(I know some of these are fairly obvious ones but every now and then, I’d come across a word in an entirely new light and would pop it into my notebook)

I have a new notebook now. I look forward to filling it.

 

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15 thoughts on “Words

  1. Lovely!
    Used to have one back when in school, but never kept at it. Still have the tiresome/arduous/taxing/onerous habit of pausing at each unknown word though. Probably why I’m such a slow reader.

  2. I do this too! I started off when I was in school and I’d pick up these new words from all the books I read and tried to insert them into conversation, for pretty much the same reasons you mentioned above and also, when the English language consists of so many words, why waste, I thought. I’d rather contribute into using them a little rather then keeping them hidden under the rug. But then I came across as verbose, my friends wouldn’t really point it out but sometimes they’d just stare in utter amazement, rather puzzled. “Why can’t you just talk english, they’d ask!’ so I reduced the usage of such words or rather battled my own verbosity. Now I choose words according to company. Anyhow.. point is. I thought I was peculiar to do so.. but glad to see company down that road! Kudos!

  3. Your handwriting is beautiful. It seems so carefree (no I don’t analyse handwriting but this is what jumps out at me). Your recent blog posts have made me smile so much – I actually love you! 🙂

    I wish I had the idea of doing something like this but instead I will live vicariously (one of my favourite words!) through you. Lovely lovely post. *hugs*

    • I’m incredibly amused by how you guys think my handwriting is legible 😛 As a kid, one of my teachers told me that I was destined to become a doctor because my writing was so bad.

      @Angel, I did!
      @Chavie, thank you and it’s never too late to start 🙂
      @citizenlk, you don’t need a large handbag to store words in.
      @Scrumps, thank you. Your comments always make me smile. See –> 🙂 (Vicariously is one of my favourite words too)
      @Tash, I think its really balancing a fine line between eloquence and verbosity. Big words don’t necessarily mean eloquence, sometimes even the most unassuming of words are powerful – something I learn’t slowly 🙂
      @Dili, take your time yo 😛
      @Shaahima, I’m no word-smith either. I keep my dictionary close at hand 🙂

  4. im reading blogs nearly 3 years but due to some reason i always avoid English blogs. may be it because im not fluent..but recently i have read some blogs including yours very interesting to read and causes to expand my blog roll..hope to read ur future posts and leave a comment every time possible. I also had this notebook but later it replaced by my phone..but phone never gave that feeling u get when write in a personal note book.

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