Words from a Captivating Book

I get my words for WordSmithie from the books that I read.  (Seldom the newspapers or magazines because on good days they usually limit their vocabulary to that of a high school ninth grader.  On bad days, well, they are very elementary.)

One of my wonderful nieces (was it you, Julianne?) suggested that I read The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde.  It is such a spot on book for my literary soul!  It’s part fantasy.  Part thriller.  Wait, it’s a murder mystery.  No, no, it’s literary humor.  Oh my, just exactly how does one classify this book?  I fear one does not.

I’m having such a pleasurable time reading this book.  It appeals to the English major in me since there are so many literary references.  And, there are two words that have jumped out at me and said, “Learn, me!  Learn, me!”  Since I’m such an obedient person, I went ahead and did just that.

First word:  chimera.  Chimera [ki-meer-uh] is a noun that refers to a mythological, fire-breathing monster, commonly represented with a lion’s head, a goat’s body, and a serpent’s tail.

This reminded me of the mythological creature I created in the fifth grade for a writing assignment: a chicken with an elephant’s head.  (Hey!  Cut me some slack.  I was in the fifth grade, ok?)

If you’re absolutely disgusted with someone, you could call them a chimera.  Like your mother-in-law.  Or your boss.  Or a bothersome neighbor.  You would know that you were commenting on how absolutely beastly they were.  They probably wouldn’t have a clue as to what you were talking about!

The other word was grotty [grot-ee — the first syllable rhymes with bought].  Grotty is an adjective that means seedy, wretched, dirty.  A run down neighborhood could be grotty (seedy).  Or worn-out clothing (seedy and/or dirty).  If someone’s behavior was wretched you could say it was grotty.  The airline lost our son’s luggage when he went to France.  They also lost it on the flight home.  You could say his experience was grotty (wretched)!

I’ll for sure have to read more of this author’s works.  Methinks I’ll learn more new words.

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How My Brain Works — Especially at 2:00 a.m.

Some nights, my eyes pop open around 2 a.m.  That signals my brain to start thinking.  And thinking.  One thought leads to another that leads to another and to yet another.  Then, I can’t get back to sleep.

So, I clamber out of bed, grab a fleece blanket, head to the family room, and read.  When I straggle to bed an hour and a half later (or sometimes two hours later) I instantly go to the land of Nod.  (And belligerently wake up at 5:15 a.m. because I haven’t had more than 2 consecutive hours of sleep.)

I wish my brain was less tumescent at times like this.

Tumescent [too-mes-uhnt] is an adjective that means exhibiting or affected with many ideas or emotions; teeming.  Teeming with ideas.  A plethora of thoughts.  That perfectly describes what my brain does on a rather regular basis during the wee hours of the night.

Teen-aged girls are often tumescent — teeming with many emotions.  One moment they are sublimely happy.  The next, they are in an abyss of despair.

Tumescent also means pompous and pretentious, esp. in the use of language.  Bombastic.  This could describe politicians, professors, or narcissistic people. Shysters, too.  Humble people don’t seem to have any problems with being tumescent.

If you work in a research and development department, it’s great to have a tumescent mind.  But only if it is tumescent between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m.!

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