The Ragtag Daily Prompt this morning is VIVID.
“Caught up in the river of people which flowed through the narrow streets, I wandered happily along under the sound of the bells, which competed with the subdued roar of voices.”From THIS ROUGH MAGIC by Mary Stewart
The vivid description of Lucy’s first visit to the market on this island. Now available as an e-book, This Rough Magic was first published in 1964. Amazon blurb:
Lucy Waring, a young, out-of-work actress from London, leaps at the chance to visit her sister for a summer on the island paradise of Corfu, and what’s more, a famous but reclusive actor is staying in a villa nearby. But Lucy’s hopes for rest and romance are shattered when a body washes up on the beach and she finds herself swept up in a chilling chain of events.
I read this book, a compelling romantic mystery, a few weeks back and gave it five stars, though the ending does have some violence. This heroine isn’t one to avoid dangerous situations! Love how Lucy insists on rescuing the dolphin, and later the dolphin repays her in kind! It’s told in First Person and the character’s use of vivid words, phrases, and descriptions is amazing. I wanted to blog about this someday; today’s prompt can be my nudge.
For example, driving to town with the radio on: “Some pop singer mooed from under the dash.” I had to laugh. 🙂
In Chapter 4 Lucy, sunbathing on the beach, hears frantic chirps from the nearby woods and goes to see what’s troubling the birds. She spots a white Persian cat only a few feet from a baby blue tit, ready to spring, with the parent birds trying vainly to shoo the enemy away. So she grabs the cat. Though not happy, it submits to her holding it “while the parent birds swooped down to chivvy their baby out of sight.”
She carries the cat away and sets it down. “Still purring, he stropped himself against me a couple of times, then strolled ahead of me up the bank.”
This wording gives me such a vivid picture. However, I’ll be turning 70 on Monday and I’ve only seen the word STROP a few times in historical novels. Today it would be an anachronism – yesterday’s prompt word. I picture a man stropping a straight razor, but how many readers younger than me have no clue what the word means?
Anyway, Lucy follows the cat along a narrow path up the hill and comes upon a beautiful rose garden, where “the air zoomed with bees.” She admires “one old pink rose, its hundred petals as tightly whorled and packed as the layers of an onion.”
Here she meets the retired actor, Sir Julian, the cat’s owner, who tells her, “His name is Nit. Short for Nitwit. He’s a gentleman, but he has very little brain.”
A few minutes later… “The white cat rose, blinked at me, then swarmed in an elaborately careless manner up the wistaria, straight into Sir Julian’s arms.
“Did I say he hadn’t much brain? I traduced him. Do you think you could manage something similar?”
I had to look up TRADUCED, which means thoroughly insulted and offended. If you’re a lover of words, too, here’s a snippet from Merriam-Webster re: insults + my own examples:
TRADUCE: to expose to shame or blame by means of falsehood and misrepresentation. It’s one of several synonyms that mean “to injure by speaking ill of.” Choose traduce when you want to stress the deep personal humiliation, disgrace, and distress felt by the victim.
For statements that aren’t outright lies, MALIGN suggests specific and often subtle misrepresentation but may not always imply deliberate lying.
Like, “Guess what? John was on time for work this morning.”
ASPERSE implies continued attack on a reputation often by indirect or insinuated detraction.
“On time? John? That’s amazing!”
If you need to say that certain statements represent an attempt to destroy a reputation by open and direct abuse, VILIFY is the word you want.
“As long as he’s worked here, John’s been at least ten minutes late every morning.”
To make it clear that the speaker is malicious and the statements made are false, CALUMNIATE, though rarely heard these days, is a good option.
“The manager shook his head. Once in awhile John was late – but so were these others who were calumniating (or slandering) him.”
SLANDER stresses the suffering of the victim. It’s a false charge or misrepresentation which defames and damages another’s reputation.