Monday, September 14, 2009

How can you fight it if it's in your blood?

Honestly, I don’t think I even stood a chance.

After all, virtually everyone in my family succumbs to logophilia1, many before they even reach puberty2. And when a condition like this spreads across your family tree like moss in Seattle, you might as well face the inevitable, learn to accept it, and get on with your life.

But how much of it can be blamed on heredity? There’s the question of nature versus nurture to consider, after all. And I can think of one person in particular who nurtured this irrepressible penchant3: dear old mom.

She must have realized how it would affect me, all those hours with Dr. Seuss and Richard Scarry, not to mention the weekly treks to the library. With a childhood like that, it should have come as no surprise when the terrible teen reared its ugly head and she would find me hiding in my closet, reading yet another book rather than doing as I was told and cleaning the ghastly hellhole that I inhabited.

Seriously, how was that my fault? After all, I learned it by watching her.

1Logophilia. This word fills me with rapture. It really does. I know, I know, earlier I made it out to be some kind of affliction, but once you accept it as a part of yourself and learn to embrace it, you can begin to recognize its magnificence. And magnificent it is. I mean, what isn’t beautiful about a word that means, literally, an appetite for words? What better way to describe this irresistible craving for the finer elements of expression, this urge to savor the most delectable morsels offered up by the English language?

2Puberty. No, not an exciting or particularly interesting word other than the fact that the mere mention of it tends to inspire feelings of embarrassment or at least vague discomfort. My mother, whenever she felt compelled to refer to this unfortunate period in her children’s lives, would always drop her voice into a half-whisper when she said it, as if that term stepped dangerously close to the line between decent conversation and all things unmentionable. And heaven knows, with 5 children spanning 11 years she witnessed more than her share of the train-wreck that is puberty.

3Penchant. Ooh, now that’s a rather nice word. It starts off with a P, which of course puts it high on my spiff-o-meter; it can be pronounced with a light accent (päⁿ-shäⁿ) if you want to sound cosmopolitan (or maybe just a tad snooty); and it adds a little spice with its slightly naughty connotations--that “Ooh, I want it so much, but maybe it’s a sin for me to want it at all” sort of thing. Other rather nice words that could be dressed up penchant’s clothes to stand in its place are proclivity and predilection; both are pleasantly ample, roll off the tongue with a lovely rhythm and, as a bonus, also start with a P. I suppose fondness or obsession would have sufficed in a pinch, but they’re not nearly as sexy.


Emily Cross said...

Hi MM,

How are you?

i'm sorry to bother you, but I've recently started up a community forum for writers called the The Writer's Chronicle where we can meet and discuss all that is writing with other 'online' writers. Also with the recent addition of some published author members we have decided to set up a section to support published writers and help them promote themselves and their books - as we all know how hard it is to get published and how its even harder to get a large readership!

I know this email is out of the blue, but i was hoping that you might drop in and take a look around and perhaps join if your interested?

I'd greatly appreciate it,


Emily Cross

Writer's Chronicle Link:

The Sesquipedalian said...

I'm glad you stopped by, Emily. That forum looks like a great resource for writers. I just joined. Thanks for the invite!