An Apt Word

Auto-fill is the bane of my existence. I want to say something just the right way, and it prevents that. Even worse sometimes it embarrasses me when I try to say, “Wait a sec” and end up with “want a sex” or something similarly off base.

I was thinking about the shift in our culture where we now have hand-held devices that fill in the blank (rightly or wrongly) for us, speeding our communication, and allow us to fire off missives (often prematurely).

And in contrast, I’ve recently been engaged in the slow process of writing a book. And I love those hours-long sessions at my desk where I flip through the thesaurus — a heavy, seventh edition of Roget’s — looking for just the right word. Am I leaning towards “ameliorate,” or does “transform” suffice? And I hadn’t really thought before about “mend” and “amend” being synonyms… and I wonder how “getting one’s ducks in a row” came into usage… and I really might spend much of the day in the “392 IMPROVEMENT” section. That’s how it often goes.

Such a slow pleasure in a fast world. And such a thrill to find a word that punches up a sentence, delivers it from being “plebeian” (or “ordinary” or “commonplace” if you prefer), and cannot in any way be inadvertently distorted to say “psychedelic” or “proper” or something I wasn’t trying to say.

I like choosing my own words.

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