Sunday, June 13, 2010

The Word-Love

This morning I got a hankering to blog about my love-o-words. I'm a writer, it goes without saying, right? Probably.

A simple post-twenty minutes tops. Or, it should have been, anyone who reads my blog knows that nothing ever runs smoothly for me. :D (Which just comes with being a parent, I'm going to assume).

So far this morning I have had three false starts. Yes, a cartoon called "Chuggington" for background noise caused my distraction the first time, now I have music playing softly in my ears. Then a crying, overtired boy who doesn't want to be in bed, but has no other choice, because he decided to wake up at three o'clock this morning and have an intellectual conversation with Mommy about tornadoes and weather, has turned the lightest of issues into the death of an imaginary friend (or what it would be like). I've since calmed him down, and got him to lie down for a little while. Just to rest (bc sleeping is the worst punishment in the world for my kids).

The funny thing is that upon my third attempt, I found stumbling words, my hankering long gone, the easy flow of fabulous evaporated to the place where unwritten words go. (Does anyone know? I haven't figured it out just yet. My two wavering ideals are either they hop from brain to brain until someone uses them, or they turn into Muse dust). And so the reason for the actual ramble of this post is because I remembered things seem to flow easier if I follow an actual train of thought than trying to force anything.

Hence the "fun" fumbling anecdote of nothing quite important, but still somewhat pertinent for the development of this post. (heh, you should see the first couple of drafts from my stories...)

A few months ago while I was reading POETS AND WRITERS magazine they spoke of a fabulous little word site called WORDNIK. It's cute, new and interesting. While I don't recall everything the article said about it, I do remember that where some sites only have a capacity for a certain number of words, Wordnik has an obscene amount. (Again, the numbers have dissuaded me)A little blurb from the "About" page...

**Traditional dictionaries make you wait until they've found what they consider to be "enough" information about a word before they will show it to you. Wordnik knows you don't want to wait—if you're interested in a word, we're interested too!

By "information," we don't just mean traditional definitions (although we have plenty of those)! This information could be:

* An example sentence—we have tons of examples and gobs of other data for most words. But even if we've only found one sentence, we'll show it to you. And we'll show you where it came from.
* Related words: not just synonyms and antonyms, but words that are used in the same contexts. Cheeseburger, milkshake, and doughnut aren't synonyms, but they show up in the same kinds of sentences.
* Images tagged by our friends at Flickr: want to know what a pout looks like? We'll show you.
* Statistics: how rare is tintinnabulation? Well, we think you'll see it only about once a year. Smile? You might see that word many times, every day.
* An audio pronunciation—and you can record your own!
* Something YOU tell us! Use the "Comments" and "Contribute" links to tell us something—anything—about a word.

Does that mean that there can be something in the definition that isn't kosher? Maybe, but I haven't seen any inconsistencies yet. Check it out when you get the time.

Learning new words gets me geeked. I enjoy it, and I was curious to see what other resources everyone else uses as well. Let me know if you're feeling generous. My word-o-the-day emails consist of one from Merriam-Webster, and the other from WordNik. They have entomology, different meanings, and pronunciations. Which is always fun. The best ones, or the ones that strike my fancy the most go into my "favorites" list, (a handmade list that holds such words as chrysalis, mirth, casket, valise, noetic, macabre...etc), along with my daily word fix, I also frequent Thesaurus/ (which also contains a translator and an encyclopedia), and a rhyming dictionary at the ready. (Plus, The Bookshelf Muse does great things with descriptions along with The Non-Verbal Dictionary)

I supposed it goes without saying that I love word games (ie. Scrabble, crossword puzzles), and I make up my own words too (I think every writer does that tho, it comes from the creative part of us. jazziment, synopsisize, publishment... etc, nothing fancy, just play, if you will).

And I also have four dictionaries (one - the twenty pound, unabridged 2001 Webster dictionary), two thesauri, and three foreign language dictionaries (Russian, Italian and Gaelic).

I prefer the term multi-faceted abnormal, thank you very much. I'm a word-geek and I'm proud of it!


Angela Ackerman said...

Oh I'll have to check out Wordnik! I too love words (and scrabble!).

Thanks for mentioning my blog. :) It's always nice to hear when someone has discovered it and finds it helpful for strengthening their description.

All the best and happy writing!


Alan W. Davidson said...

You go, word geek! Better luck next time on the nocturnal writing without childly distractions. I love the new look of your blog, BTW!

Damien Walters Grintalis said...

Word geek - I like that term. When I was a bit younger, I read the dictionary. I started with the A's and kept on going. Yes, I was a strange kid.

I hope your son stays restful for a bit so you can get some writing done. :)

Bea Sempere said...

Hey Hinny! You are putting me to shame and making me second guess whether I truly am a writer. You make goals, keep word lists, and outlines. You're organize with so many things.

It seems I'm not a writer in the sense of muse, outlines, word lists, etc. I don't look into best practices, or seek out advice. I'm horrible. I don't even want to think how it will be when actually decide to submit my manuscript for publication.

I'm doing everything blindly. *sighs*

Kudos to you for your organization and goals. You'll go far, my friend.


K.Hinny said...

Angela - thanks for commenting! I love you site and think it brings up a lot of diverse ways to write a scene (spawning news ones in my head!) Wordnik Rocks! :D

Alan - Thanks! My new background was actually a case of curiosity munchkins running around my head when I saw the tag "NEW!" I clicked on a couple then realized I couldn't find my way back to my old blog page. But I'm liking this :D

Damien - while i haven't read the dictionary cover to cover (which is awesome btw!) I would close my eyes, flip open the dictionary and point to a word - marking it after just in case I had a repeat - every day when I was a kid... :D

Bea - I didn't mean to make you feel bad, I just have to be who I am, I don't know which ways are better or not! This is just works for me, and I've got a lot of quirky interests. :D

You'll do fine, and I'll help you with anything you need!

Bea Sempere said...

Ah, don't feel bad, Hinny. I was just pointing out how great you're doing. We all have to do what helps us sprout.

Thanks for your offer. And I saved your email and added the "Contact" to my profile. :D

K.Hinny said...

LOL!! Angela's site is THE BOOKSHELF MUSE, not WordNik. I was rereading my posts and I saw I wrote it wrong :P But yes, Angela, WorkNik rocks! (So much better that way than the other way :D)

onipar... said...

Oooo, I like the new layout! Very cool. I've been meaning to try a new design on my blog too.

I don't have kids, my writing distractions come in many forms. :-P

bettielee said...

I totally used the Bookshelf Muse for the first time the other day - when I realized I've never really been in a swamp. :)

When I hear about people reading mags called "poet and writer" I feel less like a writer than ever... I don't read those things. I got too much to read what with books and blogs and research...sigh.

damn having a job anyway. I wish writer was my full time job. :(

K.Hinny said...

Onipar - Thanks! I've been thinking about changing it for a while, then again it was somewhat of an accident as well :D

Bettie - don't feel like that! I'm still new and learning, I'm trying to soak up all the knowledge that I can at the moment. You're a talented writer and you have to remember that!

mmcelhinny said...

Jsu think of it this way honey....start looking forward to when the kids are in their teens and we can turn the tables and wake them up at 6:30 AM. Oh, the joy that we'll share!

BTW, I like the new look of the blog. And if there was ever a grand champion of creating new words, it would absolutulously be you.

Aaron Polson said...

Love the look, too. And I think I might be all over WORDNIK for school. Looks like fun. (I'm a big word geek, too. One of my favorite gifts ever is an etymological dictionary.)