Thursday, October 15, 2009

My Word Affair

"The Mermaid" by Howard Pyle
I’ve decided, in my middle age, to have a word affair. It would appear to be painless, less expensive (after all, I have to admit books aren’t free), hurt no one else and be vastly more satisfying than a love affair. I wouldn’t mess around with small miserly words either. That wouldn’t be worth it. No, I’d go for those sexy, descriptive literary device-types that slip off your tongue so smoothly, silkily and slyly. Homer caught it when Odysseus veered near the Sirens:
"The Sirens sitting on their flowery plain, To lend no ear to their enchanting strain; Me only she allows to hear their voice, If you will bind me in a grievous chain, "So sang they sweetly; and with yearning strong I fain had listened to their lovely song..."
Or when he encountered Circe on her spinning wheel:
"As works of Goddesses are wont to be,
A web thin, lovely, wonderful to see.”
But I know I would eventually stray from Homer and his words.  Let's face it, there are so many other word affairs to have. I’d be bound to go cavorting with something else like, say...Exuperatio. In that case, I would most definitely take up a fling with Huckleberry Finn:
“Tom said he slipped Jim’s hat off of his head and hung it on to a limb right over him, and Jim stirred a little, but he didn’t wake. Afterwards Jim said the witches be witched him and put him in a trance, and rode him all over the State, and then set him under the trees again, and hung his hat on a limb to show who done it. And next time Jim told it he said they rode him down to New Orleans; and , after that, every time he told it he spread it more and more, till by and by he said they rode him all over the world, and tired him most to death, and his back was all over saddle-boils.”
However, if feeling fantastically frivolous and playful I'd most likely seduce Master of the Word, Dave Barry, who would fully satiate my desire for exuperatio and cause me to split a gut all along the way as well!

"I have never met a woman, no matter how attractive, who wasn't convinced, deep down inside, that she was a real woofer. Men tend to be just the opposite. A man can have a belly you could house commercial aircraft in and a grand total of eight greasy strands of hair, which he grows real long and combs across the top of his head so that he looks, when viewed from above, like an egg in the grasp of a giant spider, plus this man can have B.O. to the point where he interferes with radio transmissions, and he will still be convinced that, in terms of attractiveness, he is borderline Don Johnson."
But affairs, like the wind, are often fleeting, and I’d be wont to roam again. The Psalmist says it best:   "As the deer pants for the water" I’d be searching on to quench my thirst among all the metaphors and similes in the great gulf of words. Where would I wash up next?  Perhaps:

"By the shores of Gitche Gumee
By the Shining Big-Sea-Water,

Stood the wigwam of Nokomis,
Daughter of the Moon, Nokomis,
Dark behind it rose the forest,
Rose the black and gloomy pine-trees,
Rose the firs with cones upon them;
Bright before it beat the water,
Beat the clear and sunny water,
Beat the shining Big-Sea-Water.
My lover and I would splash and play amongst the shallows and the reeds where that great American poet,Wadsworth frollicked.  But alas, soon--too soon, a lover false I'd prove to be; so off to sunnier climes and different words in space and time I'd go to gaze into the soul of the Greatest of the Great.  (The answer may be obvious to you, dear reader, but in case you wonder--well--to Shakespeare, none other!)  The words of Shylock, in "Merchant of Venice", would do nicely here to demonstrate the word:

"Hath not a Jew eyes? 
Hath not a Jew hands, organs, dimensios, senses, affections, passions?
If you prick us, do we not bleed, if you tickle us, do we not laugh?
If you poison us, do we not die?

One could go on and on, I confess, but rambling amongst his voluminous words and pages I'm bound to think I'd end my roaming days to settle down forever with that Great Bard, whose love affair with words bests all the rest--by far.....But...then again...who knows?  Tomorrow the winds of change may blow anew and off I'd go--ever the infidel--like a harlot--chasing after her insatiable lover, words. --The End 
Dear Reader, the above was inspired after teaching a writing class on literary devices namely, hyperbole, alliteration, metaphors, similes, rhetorical question, onomatopoeia, assonance, etc


  1. Goldie, Your self exposure of your most recent love affair made me jealous and captivated me at the same time. I couldn't quit reading!

  2. I found assonance, anastrophe, hendiadys (Odysseus & the Sirens); polysyndeton (Twain); metaphor, simile, hyperbole (Dave Berry); anaphora (Gitche Gumee); asyndeton, parallel construction (Shylock); and some possible alliteration with the Sirens and the description of Jim's hat.

  3. Okay, Well YOU won the Principia skin care! Maybe you can save it for Christmas for your mom or Anna...I'm impressed...who taught you??


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