on words

21 Sep

There’s a quote by Thomas Mann that says, “A writer is a person for whom writing is more difficult than it  is for other people.” It might sound strange to some, surely the writer must have more skill for writing than the average person, but it’s true. Writing is harder for writers. Other people think of what they want to convey and write it out as it comes to them, satisfied with the results. Writers… writers toil with it. Because, like Nathaniel Hawthorne said, “Easy reading is damn hard writing,” and writers have this insatiable hang-up for words.

I came across this quote today:

A writer is a person who cares what words mean, what they say, how they say it. Writers know words are their way towards truth and freedom, and so they use them with care, with thought, with fear, with delight. By using words well, they strengthen their souls. Story-tellers and poets spend their lives learning that skill and art of using words well. And their words make the souls of their readers stronger, brighter, deeper.

URSULA LE GUIN

Now, did you know you can get an account with Dictionary.com and star all of your favorite words? It’s true. Here are some of my favorites: evoke, alfresco, elicit, keen, lest, rend, ebb. Then there’s the word of the day and all kinds of interesting articles and tid-bits on words. Did you know that ‘dreamt’ is the only word in the English language that ends in ‘-mt’?

It’s great if you’re into that kind of thing. And if words are your chosen medium, then you will be.

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