Friday, February 10, 2012

Writing Prompt: The Word: Talk

Lately, I can’t talk. I know what I want to say, but usually I have to use several sentences to describe the word that will not come to my middle-aged, hormone-depleted mind. Like today, I was trying to tell Lloyd that a lady cop, I mean, female peace officer looked like both a man and a woman, but really neither one and what is that word again?!


The word was androgynous, and it landed on my tongue about 20 minutes later during an entirely unrelated discussion debating the advantages of being over 50 and out of shape and its relevance to the ability to even find someone worth cheating with.
Don’t ask. (Not because o f the ridiculousness of the discussion itself, to which I cheerfully stipulate, but because it’s been a few hours since that discussion and I really can’t remember any more about the conversation than that…hormone depletion again!) *

And like right now! See that asterisk left dangling above? It’s not a typo, It’s...well… I was going to put the syllable representing the sound of the ba-dum-DUM that comes right after a bad joke. It has a name, I know it does, but I can’t think of it to save my life. Okay, Ba Da Bing is a better syllabic representation….but what is it called….oh oh…I know this one…. Ummmmmm. Oh yeah, *Rimshot!!!
See what I mean? It takes so much work….and language…to get to a single word, that sometimes I wonder if it’s really worth it, you know?

Here’s another example that illustrates my point: I used to play Jeopardy with the TV. I’m pretty good, and can come up with a lot of the answers/questions/whatever. But these days I have to cheat. I have to hit pause right after the answer is read so that I can take the 10-15 minutes to think of the word(s) that are required and form it/them into the correct question.
It’s a real problem. A conundrum.(I’m not saying how long it may or may not have taken me to come up with that particular word…) Especially for a writer for whom the right word at the right time feels as  crucial as drawing breath!

I remind myself of my mom, who had a stroke when I was junior in high school. She calls us all the wrong names, can’t for the life of her correctly refer to our gender and can get really close to saying what she means, but not quite. Like once, she was trying to tell me that my little brother popped the question. She kept saying things like “pushed the button” and “pulled the plug”. She had the right idea, but the wrong verbs and nouns.
Nouns are mostly my problem too, but I haven’t had a stroke.

That I know of.
So if you’re listening to me try to get to the word I really want to find, thanks for your patience in advance, and feel free to offer suggestions. When I finally get the word I’m looking for it’s like a hit of pure oxygen or endorphins. It’s a Thesaurus lover’s high, and let’s face it, at my age? I’ll take those experiences any way I can get them.

And, also,  I know that to keep challenging my mind is important in keeping…you know…that one disease where you forget everything you used to know and call people other people’s names…and drive to a job you haven’t worked for in 12 years…you know the one….what is the name of that….?
Ummmm…..don’t worry, I’ll think of it eventually!

I hope.
 Next week’s word: foil