Words carry us places.

I've been called a wordsmith, a gatherer and gardener of words. I'm a farmer whose soil composition includes syntax, syllables, and semantics. 

I like how words feel on the tongue. I like how words look. I like how words sound when spoken with care. Words can act as passenger trains, carrying us to far-flung places, beyond the boundaries of our present imagination. Words can also be locomotives that steamroll right over others. Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me...and you. Words create worlds that we live in and which others inhabit as well, often against their will. Precise language can act as a key to unlock previously hidden landscapes of meaning, like a Narnian wardrobe escorting us into greater depths of meaning and purpose. Words are power. We are not only word-beings, of course. Words come more slowly than our fast-track brains that run on joy, images, senses, attachment. But, without a doubt, words are a distinctive mark of what it means to be human. 

Among words I've collected over the years, I notice an affinity for words outside of my native English language (the version of English that has evolved within the past four decades) that help me access more of the human condition. If English is the vessel that carries me effortlessly across the seas, perhaps these new words from other languages and cultures are like subterranean vessels that plunge me into depths of beauty and meaning to which I was previously ignorant. Maybe I had a vague sense of what was there, but no single vantage point from the ship's prow allowed me to capture the vast range of exquisite vitality that lay beneath.

We all know words can become too familiar, too easy, worn out, empty, limp. Love. Awesome. Cool. Language is a living organism, growing, changing over time. We need fresh language to access new portals of meaning, discovery, and imagination. We do need to be thoughtful gatekeepers over language, too, lest it stripped of meaning and trustworthiness. Even the word truth itself has devolved. My truth. Your truth. 

Writing is a sandbox where I play with words. Maybe I play too carelessly at times. But, I play nonetheless. The technology of internet and social media - not neutral technology, mind you - has encouraged us to push our words into the public domain with unprecedented velocity. We feel pressure to feel we exist. We feel anxiety if we don't say something

Lately, I've been losing a taste for two commonly used, tired words: awkward and interesting

What words do you have a penchant to overuse? What precise, fresh language are you discovering?

Among the new morsels I've been savoring includes the Portuguese word saudade (pronounced sow-dodge-ee). Thank you, Jeff Crosby, for pulling back the curtains to unveil a new vista of meaning! In his book Language of the Soul, Crosby discusses this most Portuguese of words, untranslatable. Within the habitat of this word exists the deepest longings and desires of the soul, a wistfulness and restlessness for what is because of where one has been while also aching for the sweetness of what is not yet, a burning in the heart for a world we currently don't grasp but have somehow tasted. 

I'd like to do some more etymological and linguistic study of this word, and also seek out any possible connection to the German word sehnsucht


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