Words Hard to Work with

The Ragtag Daily Prompt word today is Imperceptible.

This is an interesting word, but a poor choice for a writer’s tool box. Imperceptible means not perceived, neither by the senses — like something no one can see, smell, hear or feel — nor by the understanding. Something sort of “not-there-but-hovering somewhere-awaiting-some-reveal.”

It’s a word writers tend to work around somehow, seeing they have to show in some way, or let their character sense, the emotion or object. Our hero can’t go out in the rain and not see, smell, hear, or feel it, and still somehow know that it’s raining. Likewise they can’t sense a frown or a sneering tone. So authors are inclined to tack “barely” and “almost” onto the word:

 “We expect you gone by sundown, stranger.” Kid Goodson caught the almost imperceptible menace in Black Bart’s tone.
A frown, barely perceptible, darkened the Kid’s brow. “I’m not leaving until I find out what I want to know.” He tossed the bartender two silver dollars and walked out. His ear caught the almost imperceptible sigh of Sally Saloon-Wench.

The thing is, if no one perceives the whatever, there’s not much point in mentioning it, either, unless as a narrator-to-reader aside:

 Indignation, as yet imperceptible to Kid Goodson, was simmering in the bosoms of the town folks. Looks were exchanged and heads silently shook as unspoken sentiments were shared by the listeners. They weren’t going to stand for a show-down in their streets.

No, imperceptible isn’t a word story writers are apt to employ very often. News commentators, on the other hand, may use it at times.

Initially the jury seemed completely swayed by Slick Lawyer’s defense presentation, but at some point an imperceptible shift took place. When the jurors returned from deliberation the defense was shocked to hear their unanimous. “We find the defendant guilty as charged.”

 “While Governor Lord ruled the state, the majority of voters seemed quite content to let him. However, when his successor Tyson Rant took office, an imperceptible grassroots discontent soon began to make itself felt.”

Like smouldering coals, feelings aren’t usually unperceived for very long. Sooner or later Ty Rant is going to see signs of that grassroots discontent.
 “One day the Governor found a dozen dead ducks on his doorstep. The next day university students staged a sit-in on his lawn. A week later farmers blockaded his driveway with hay bales while old ladies carried protest signs and boys pelted his house with rotten tomatoes.
 “Slowly, almost imperceptibly, he became aware that his constituents just weren’t happy with him.”

And thus ends my discourse on this unusual word.

Weather and Words

I see that our prompt words today are FALLING, given us by Ragtag Daily Prompt, and NAIVE, from Word of the Day.

I’ve no problem responding to these, as snow started falling Sunday about 8pm — within a few hours we had a white blanket over our land — and I’m not naive enough to think this will soon disappear.

At first the snow was coming down more evenly, but later Sunday evening the wind picked up and we had near-blizzard conditions at times. We haven’t had much more snow, but yesterday’s and this morning’s weather continues with icy wind.

Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Day is LACKADAISICAL, an interesting word for sure. At least I always thought it meant something like HAPHAZARD, or lacking plan, order, or direction. Like my approach to cleaning: do a bit here, a bit there, a bit now, a bit then. It’s what this weather makes me feel like being. 

However, reading the definition I see that lackadaisical has come down from an old English expression, “Alack a day.” A “Woe is me!” type phrase. More like when you haven’t got the heart to start some project. Or when ice, snow, and wind rob you of the spirit or zest to go strolling or frolicking outdoors.

Speaking of spirit and zest, are you aware that NaNoWriMo starts in only three days? At 11:59 on October 31 writers all over the world will be taking their place at their computer to zealously power out their first session. The more laid-back writers will wait until first thing in the morning to begin the month-long writing jag.

Are you doing NaNoWriMo this year? Are you gathering facts, working on your outline, plot and resolution? I always get enthused and enjoy the challenge of Nanowrimo, but this year I’ve decided to rather do my own marathon in November. I’m calling it ATCUSS: A Total Clean-Up of my Sewing Space. “Mend it, sew it, finish it, or out with it” will be my motto this month.

Unlike Nano participants, I set my own rules for ATCUSS and can start today. My sewing room tends to be a catch-all —“just until I can take care of this.” You know how that goes, right? Well, I’ve learned that having a cluttered work space is depressing and contributes to a lackadaisical approach to any project, so yesterday I took care of the clean laundry and ironing the sewing room been catching for the last two weeks.

If you’re doing NanoWriMo or some other special project this coming month, I do wish you the Passion, Fervor, Ardor, Enthusiasm and Zeal to establish and carry out your game plan. According to Merriam-Webster, these words ” mean intense emotion compelling action.” You can wish me the same as I begin my project.

On Hues of Blues

I checked out the Ragtag Daily Prompt this morning: How Green Is Blue. If this is some expression in common use today, I’ll admit that I’m rather uncommon and have never heard of it. At any rate, I was struck by the unusualness of it.

But wait…is unusualness actually a word? My word processing programme accepts it but the built-in Word Press spell-checker highlights it as an error. (It highlights programme as an error, too, but I’m using Canadian English today.)

I slid my mouse over to the Merriam-Webster site and they list unusualness as the noun, with the adjective being unusual, though its awkwardness does cause my mind to stumble a bit. STUMBLE is the Word of the Day prompt word this morning.

For the word unusual M-W offers alternatives like unique, off-beat, curious, odd, peculiar. If you want another word for your tongue to stumble over, try chromaticity, which isthe quality of color characterized by its dominant or complementary wavelength and purity taken together.”

In The Eyes Of The Beholder

The hues of blues are a common debate at our house: my beloved sees every blue-green shade from aqua to turquoise as green, while I call it blue. For example, is this fence blue and the sign green? Are they both green? Or both blue?

Blue fence + quote

Likewise, are these ducks swimming in green water or blue?

Ducks.Amy Spielmaker

The Colour of Emotions

It’s interesting how, in English, certain colours have become attached to emotions. A blue sky is always a sunny, cheerful one. Not so with a blue day or a blue mood, which rather suggests depression. It could be that people were green with envy long before Shakespeare came along, but his use of “green-eyed jealously” forever sealed the colour and the feeling in the Anglo mind.

Thus if you say, “How green is blue?” folks may hear, “How much sadness is caused by jealously?” Knowing someone has what you want, or that others have so much more than you do, can get you down if you focus there. Human as we are, envy does cause us to stumble at times as we go through life.

Asking, “How blue is green?” could be interpreted as, “She’s depressed and that’s why she’s looking at others and thinking they are so much better off.” Sad to say, when a person’s depressed they are usually inclined to see “everybody else” as upbeat, prosperous, and content with life. Other sad, lonely, desperate folks tend to fall below their radar.

And now I’ve exhausted my thoughts on this topic and shall wish you all a day in the pink.

Picky, Picky

As I wrote in my last post, The Haiku Foundation’s dialogue this week is about Food, focusing on the sense of sight. Here’s another senryu I’ll add on that theme:

get a life
he grumbles — she slowly picks
sausage off the pizza

 

Pizza slice
Open clip art from Pixabay

Since the Word of the Day prompt this morning was CHIC. For lack of anything more erudite, I’ll give my response in this gem of wisdom:

It’s never chic
in public view
to carefully pick
anything from your stew.

Is That A Leg?

The Haiku Foundation’s dialogue this week is about Food, focusing on the sense of sight. I missed contributing to this round, but I’ll post a bit of nonsense humorous senryu on the subject.

just a coffee ground
she assures me —
I look for little legs

Coffee black dot

Interesting fact:
The word unadulterated is celebrating its 300th anniversary:
according to Merriam-Webster, this word first appeared in an English publication in 1719.

Initials

Today’s Word of the Day prompt is INITIAL

My initial reaction was to recall various initials we recognize today. Some are historic, the initials of famous people that most North Americans are familiar with:

Masque Regular and Masque Regular

and organizations like Masque RegularMasque Regular
and the Masque Regular

Here in Canada we have our own popular acronyms, like the

Masque Regular, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. And there are many initials used for sports organizations, like the Masque Regular, the Masque Regular, etc.

I thought of current initials, unheard of when I was a girl, that denote health woes of our day:

Masque Regular and Masque Regular

and my own past health woe, Masque Regular, which stands for chronic lymphocytic leukemia

Then I recalled the most famous initials of all time:
Masque Regular

This is such a well known acronym — if you want to call it that — that various devises and many computer sites routinely ask you, when you’re done and satisfied that the work is complete, to hit OK.

Who was this unknown OK, who jotted his initials on things–or important documents?—so often that they’re so widely used? With it’s common variation, OKAY, this term has become so universal that, hundreds of years later, we’re still using them?

And more importantly, where would we be without them?

Okay, enough said. There are oodles more well known initials, but I think this will suffice as my response to the prompt.

Note: Initials done in the Masque font by Apostrophic Labs, at 1001fonts.com