Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Writing Blabberings -The Games We Play with Words

Meaning is in the eye of the beholder.
I love words, I always have. I make it my personal endeavour to find creative uses for as many of them as I can. And I thought my word choices were imaginative... until I had children. Then I realised that I am a mere dwarf among the true giants of this language game.
My two year old has me beat hands down. He not only appropriates whatever word he feels inclined to use in the place of words that we might ordinarily choose, he also invents his own words.
Googies are blankets. Big Daddas are tractors. Heblicobta's are, no, not helicopter's, they are planes and some times birds. Butterflies are ants or really anything that creeps on the ground and moos are anything from horses to pigs. Interestingly, moos are never cows.

See, he is not restricted by all the language rules we adults rave on about and beat our heads in trying to follow. He just lets the words flow.
And while I am not advocating that we all start re-inventing the English language (although someone clearly needs to overhaul the English spelling system), I do think I write better when I stop trying to search for the 'correct' word and start fleshing out images in my head with normal words used in unexpected ways.

I love the quote by 'Pegleg3941' in the comments section on KM Weiland's blog.
"Forcing people to see common thoughts in uncommon ways is a lot of fun. The tough part is making people enjoy the times you play with their heads."

I couldn't agree more. And, yeah, I must admit I don't always enjoy the trip around the mountain we have to take to deceiver the meanings behind some of the words my toddler uses. Oh, he understand what he said alright. What the heck is Mummy's problem? He asked for a 'flocwif' ten minutes ago and still hasn't got what he ordered! I'm left madly searching through the fridge where he is pointing and stomping his pudgy legs crying, "flocwif!"
So, I guess all writers take the risk that their unconventional word pictures do in fact convey the image intended and not just a general angst whilst sending people on, um, searches through their fridge???

Oh, and by the way, a 'flocwif' is a sandwich. Just in case you ever find yourself looking for one.


  1. I love your posts. Especially this one. I can't wait until Brogan can start talking. I'm eager to see what things he says. :)

    So true...especially during hte first draft. I think we need to just let hte words flow...like little kids. :)

  2. I am sure you will enjoy that little guy of yours as he learns to talk. There is nothing as sweet as that chubby face you love trying to figure out the intricacies of the English language. :)

  3. Maybe we should send 'flocwif' to the macquarie dictionary people. They need to know that they haven't got the english language covered.

  4. I agree Megs. There are probably a few words you could send them that they haven't got covered, right? Foo foo, snitch and there are others aren't there? Ad's could add a few of yours that he loves!
    Nice to have ya commenting on the blog :)

  5. Thanks, I'll try to remember what a "flocwif" is. Thanks for the quote too. ^_^