Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Word of the Year

I'm not a 'word of the day' or even a 'word of the week' kind of person but occasionally I do come across new words that intrigue me and which I add to my writer's repertoire. I look them up then promptly lock them away in my memory until such time they can be used in an appropriate context either in writing or in speech. Words have their own unique energy and can activate various responses within people when the conscious act of reading invokes the subconscious processes of the imagination via the internal sensory (visual, auditory, kinesthetic and even gustatory and olfactory) representations which were brought to the attention of the therapy community and the general population during the 70s and 80s via NLP. Reading Perfume for instance, the brilliant novel by Patrick SĂĽskind (whose German surname literally translates into 'sweet child') was an act of relating to the characters by wakening the sense of smell. 

Part of the challenge and the craft of writing is to find the right word to describe things – you can have a long list of synonyms but essentially only one or two of them are usually appropriate to get the effect you desire, which is why some writers (especially literary writers and poets) go through slow torture as they labour through their thesaurus's and dictionaries to find the exact words needed to lift their metaphors and similes into the stratosphere of beauty and originality as well as to create the right image, rhythm, balance, meaning... 

But I digress as I usually do in these posts. Ah, you know me well dear blog readers!!! My word of the year is 'entelechy'. I first heard the amazing Jean Houston who works in the field of human potential, use it in a presentation she did a few years ago. In truth, I thought she had invented it. However, just the other day I read one of her articles and low and behold there was that word again – 'entelechy'. Now that I knew how to spell it I could look it up. Here is the meaning I found on my Mac dashboard dictionary –
Philosophy - realization of potential; the supposed vital principle that guides the development and functioning of an organism or other system or organization; the soul.
I like it. It makes me think deeply about the core of its meaning, and moreover, whether I'll ever get to use the word with honour rather than frivolously for the pure sport of it. How strange is it that I should be so entranced by a word as I 'teeter ', no 'hobble', no 'totter', no 'stagger', no 'stumble' away from my computer on my sore ankle...

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