Category Archives: Language

And Now (And in No Particular Order) A List of Good Words*

  • Splendid
  • Redolent
  • Peccadillo
  • Ornery
  • Flotsam
  • Crux
  • Dire
  • Rot
  • Nasty
  • Jazz
  • Pluck
  • Gumption
  • Crotch
  • Sultry
  • Cracked
  • Unrepentant
  • Pit
  • Moist
  • Bum
  • Despondent
  • Junk
  • Thingy
  • Bold
  • Sallow
  • Exuberant
  • Rancid
  • Dick
  • Grotesque

 

                                                    – Etc.

 

 

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*Please use at will and with or without restraint.^

^Enjoy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Logistics of the Illogical and Frankly Stupid (re: “I Love You”)

“Cindy. I love you. But [HORRIBLE THING SAID ABOUT ME WITHOUT REMORSE].”

Has this ever happened to you?

Why not just tell me to fuck right off? That would have been preferable. It would have been so much better.

Not, “I love you.”

And don’t call me by my name. Don’t use my name and “I love you,” so you don’t have to feel bad about that horrible thing you actually wanted to say in the first place, but were too cowardly to do so without some desperate preface.

In any case, the love, the particular love cited here: it was not mutual. We weren’t that good of friends, not to warrant that.

That horrible thing; it didn’t have to be true to be effective, if that’s what you were going for. But you cheapened it with “I love you.” That horrible thing could have stood well enough on its own and maybe we could have worked through it…

JK, JK, JK!!! You and me? We’re done. Oh, we are so over.

So I’m just left to conclude that what we had when we started was already less than what we ended up with.

In other words, we made some excellent progress, you and I.

 

 

 

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Filed under Friends, Friendship, Language, People, Relationships

Bad, Worse, Worst Advice

A lot of bad advice – some solicited, most decidedly not – over the years.

1. “If you don’t want to have a baby, just have one.”
2. “You should get married so my daughters can be flower girls at your wedding.”
3. “Just feel sorry for them and help.”

Of these three, only the third has been truly damaging (the first two are blatantly self-serving, but also so patently ridiculous as to be laughable – actually laughed in the face of Advice Giver #2).

Of the three, the third has caused me so much trouble, some heartache.

No one wants to be pitied. To help or be with anyone just because you pity them diminishes you both. Makes you linger in a relationship long after it’s gone bad; makes you engage in one that was bad to begin with. Makes you excuse behaviour (yours, theirs) that in any other circumstance (i.e. those outside the parameters of the pity party circle) would simply not stand in the harsh but brilliant light of day.

Took a while to learn all that because it sounds good, doesn’t it? Pity does.

Pity (noun):*

1. a. sympathetic sorrow for one suffering, distressed, or unhappy; b. capacity to feel pity.

It is as evidently self-serving as it is apparently self-sacrificing. It’s what allows you to invest massive amounts of emotional and physical labour – of time, effort and expense – with little or no or (more often than not), negative return.

All because you feel sorry for someone. Because you feel bad for them. Because you’re a good person doing a good thing for someone you truly, truly needs it (and from you in particular).

Ha.

I have stayed in all manner of toxic relationships because of pity. Pity is what kept us together, even if it kept us down.

Whose fault is that? Whose responsibility? Who’s to be held accountable?

Pity (noun):

2. something to be regretted.

More’s the pity, I suppose.

And less is more.

 

 

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* Source: https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/pity.

 

 

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Filed under Communications, Language, Relationships

Things I Never Said

1. That you were annoying (not in that capacity).
2. That I didn’t like X (rather, that I’m allergic to it).
3. That that, now that, was a cute kid.
4. That I’d love to (I would not).
5. That it was a good idea (it wasn’t, but we only knew that in retrospect, didn’t we?).
6. That it couldn’t be there (only that it was unlikely that it could have been there).
7. That it was more, or less, than that.
8. That I got this (I do not…or god, do I do not).
9. That didn’t know (I mean, not exactly).
10. That is was the correct thing to do (what is correct that it can’t be amended?).

BONUS ROUND:

That that was that (that being what it’s always been, or always will be, or always has been).

Curious, that.

 

 

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Filed under Communications, Language, Words

The Art of Conversing…

…with other people. It’s not easy, but it’s not always hard. Or, at least, it doesn’t have to be. Not always.

Evidently, it’s best to let conversation flow by allowing, at times encouraging, the other person to talk about themselves. Forget topics like politics or work or religion or the weather.

Get them to talk about themselves.

Hardly a feat.

People love to talk about themselves! So many of them just do. Which can be a great advantage because information is power and there are so many fools out there and fools slip up all the time, inadvertently showing you who they really are in a few poorly contrived quips or two (or three or four depending on the fool and their personal level of foolishness).

 

*Bronze Level Foolishness*

“I don’t know exactly. But. I. Am. Sure.”

“I know you said you’re not interested, but I’m going to leave the door open. I’m just going to leave it open. It’s open.”

“I only drink water in the morning so that it will last all day and I won’t need to stop to drink. My body knows. Saves time.”

 

**Sliver Level Foolery**

“Well, when I’m up, I assume everyone is up! Because they should be.”

*[Scoffs wetly to emphasize point]* 

“I will not abide graffiti.”

“See how slim my fingers are? Intelligence!”

  

***Gold Level Fools***

“Gay guys hit on me all the time! I’m what’s known as a ‘bear.’”

I’ve never seen anything racist, so…you know?”

*[Blinks slowly for effect]* 

“Listen, if I had started fathering children at sixteen I’d be a grandfather by now!”

“I should make lesbian porn because I know what lesbians like!”

 

Maya Angelou said it best: “When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.”

Believe.

 

 

 

 

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Filed under Communications, Language, People, Relationships

Good Intentions

What are these actually worth, especially when what they amount to is hurt and pain and misery…or inconvenience or humiliation or shame?

No one says, “Well, at least I had good intentions” when everything turns out OK and no one is upset or offended or otherwise injured. When the shit doesn’t hit the fan.

You can’t take credit and admit guilt. Absolve and take responsibility.

But you can try, and probably get away with most of what you’re after. Eat that cake, and have it too. Big bites, anyway. Juicy ones.

If that’s what you intend.

If that’s the best you’ve got.

If you know what I mean.

 

 

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Filed under Ceremony, Communications, Language, Words

Q&A

Asking questions to which the answer is known is one thing.

Asking leading questions in search of an answer is another.

Questions are said to be more important than answers.

Because there are no stupid questions.

There are no stupid questions?

How about ridiculous inquiries? Pointless inquires? Abject probes?

Yes and yes and oh, hell Honey, yes.

But I guess that depends on who’s asking, never minding why.

 

 

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Filed under Communications, Interruptions, Language, Ritual, Words

The Loving Huntsman

A minor triumph recently: I finally secured a nice copy (an excellent edition) of Sylvia Townsend Warner’s Lolly Willowes; or The Loving Huntsman.

It’s taken about a year to achieve this. Over a year, actually, plus a month or two.

I was, and remain, committed.

***

Lolly Willowes is a story of struggle, privilege, humiliation and personal retribution (which looks very much like vengeance, though it is not). There is a cool intelligence in the writing, a wry and discerning mind behind the prose. A rarity, even now. Even today. Possibly always.

***

Lolly Willowes (or The Loving Huntsman) also has the best narrative portrait of the Devil I’ve ever come across:

 

To be this – a character truly integral, a perpetual flowing of power and cunning from an undivided will – was enough to constitute the charm and majesty of the Devil. No cloak of terrors was necessary to enlarge that stature, and to suppose him capable of speculation or metaphysic would be like offering to crown hi with a few casual straws. Very probably he was quite stupid. When she had asked him about death he had got up and gone away, which looked as if he did not know much more about it then she did herself: indeed, being immortal, it was unlikely that he would know as much. Instead, his mind brooded immovably over the landscape and over the natures of men, an unforgetting and unchoosing mind. That, of course – and she jumped up in her excitement and began to wave her arms – was why he was the Devil, the enemy of souls. His memory was too long, too retentive; there was no appeasing its witness, no hoodwinking it with the present; and that was why at one stage of civilization people said he was the embodiment of all evil, and then a little later on that he didn’t exist (1999: 220-221).

 

Forgive and forget. Who doesn’t need that, once in a while?

Who doesn’t crave it, the reprieve of disremembering just the right thing, at just the right moment, so that everything (present, future and past) will be alright. Will just turn out that way?

Pick and choose, overlook. Exonerate.

That would be nice, wouldn’t it?

Speaking especially of the Devil himself.

 

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Warner, Sylvia Townsend. (1999). Lolly Willowes or The Loving Huntsmen. NYRB: New York.

 

 

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Filed under Books, Language, Philosophy, THE FUTURE, THE PAST, Words

Thin Slices

As a warm-up/breaking the ice kind of exercise, the class facilitator asked us each of us to name ONE GOOD THING that has happened in the past week to SHARE with the class.

In her case: she won resort tickets from the local radio station.

In another: a pregnant person in class said that she felt her baby kick for the first time.

In another: someone got the unexpected (but very much welcomed) gift of cash instead of the dreaded presents they were expecting.

Or was that the dreaded present?

I can’t remember. And I forgot the rest. 18 of us in the class, but I forget what else was said.

I was too busy scraping my dregs of my mind for something – anything – GOOD that happened that week to SHARE.

Recent memory is sometimes the worst memory.

“It doesn’t have to be a big thing, like winning radio tickets,” the facilitator added hastily, sensing the trepidation among those of us in the class facing the immense, the profuse difficulty of finding something – anything – GOOD to SHARE. Anything GOOD that happened that week.

It had to be GOOD and you had to SHARE it.

Big ask.

“Not anything that big. You can slice thin. Slice it really thin and share.”

She gave examples: not stubbing your toe. Not getting stuck in traffic on the way to class. Not having a swing a dead cat anywhere to make a point. Not being diseased in any serious way. Not being (as) destitute (as you could, and probably someday will, be).

(I may have made some of those up.)

“Slice it real thin, and you’ll see how having just a few good things happen can get your through the day.”

Slice it thin and you’ll see.

How thin, though?

But how thin? 

How thin must we go until we get there?

 

 

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Filed under Communications, Education, Language, People

Dead & Deader Till We Get to Deadest

Books are dead.”

I keep coming back to this, not because of any apparent (or is that obvious?) absurdity of the statement itself, but the mean-spirited intent behind it. It is one of the funniest things (intentional or not) that I’ve had another person say to my face in a good long while. It has become my dead horse. A true gift.

But anyway, it is Friday – week’s end! And with that in mind, here is a list of the books I’ve been reading over the past couple of weeks and months.

There is no order to the list, no rankings or ratings or reviews. I just like to keep a tally so that I know what I’m reading after having read it. I also know that this list will tell you less about me than it will ultimately reveal.

That’s good for both of us.

That’s what’s best for everyone:

  1. Vi – Kim Thuy
  2. Barracoon – Zora Neale Hurston
  3. Trail of Lightening – Rebecca Roanhorse
  4. Pachinko – Min Jin Lee
  5. The Red Threads of Fortune – Jy Yang
  6. Marriage of a Thousand Lies – S.J. Sindu
  7. Eloquent Rage – Brittney Cooper
  8. Kilkenny – Louis L’amour
  9. Chicken With Plums – Marjane Satrapi
  10. Mr. Fortune’s Maggot – Sylvia Townsend Warner

These are books that I will say that I recommend – or don’t, depending on what you’re looking for in a book, depending on what your particular whims or needs or desires are.

In any case, if it is indeed true that books are dead, they can’t possibly get any deader, can they? They’re the deadest they’ve ever been!

And how could you argue with that?

 

 

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Filed under Books, Death, Language, Words