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At A Loss For Words

February 24, 2012

One of the problems that I’ve been dealing with has been a difficulty coming up with the right word when talking. Typing still flowed pretty quickly but even there I found myself searching for words that used to come easily. I had already developed the bad habit of letting other people finish my sentences, but as time wore on the motivation behind that habit went from “You know what I mean” to “Oh god, I can’t remember what I was going to say.”

The other day, I was trying to write a description for a website. I turned to Moose and said “What’s the word for something that’s old but not, like, antique?” He looked at me, puzzled for a moment, and then said “Vintage?”

And that was it for me. That was my wall. I couldn’t remember the word vintage. I’ve spent most of my life working with words, and the loss of such an obvious one was hard to take. Whatever was going wrong inside my head, whether it be insomnia, depression, or just being out of the writing habit, needed fixing. I was losing my words. Losing my stories. Losing the one knack that I have had since I was old enough to put my pencil to paper. It felt like I was losing the thing that defined me.

In part, that feeling was caused by the emotional stress of exhaustion. Though writing is a big part of my life, there is no one single thing that defines me. We are all much too complicated creatures for that sort of thing. Yet I think that if there ever comes a day when my joints fail me, a day when I can no longer dance, no longer sew, no longer do all of the things that help keep the traitor voice at bay, I will still have this.

So long as I have my words, I can carry on. Losing individual words is not such a loss. That is what dictionaries and thesauri are for. So long as I can string together the pearls of a sentence, I can come back later and place the jewel I am seeking in the blank. So long as I can make the little words go together, I have faith that I will always be able to find the big ones. So long as I keep writing, I will never truly be at a loss for words.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Evelyn Logan permalink
    February 24, 2012 8:09 am

    I think it’s just insufficient RAM. At least, that’s my excuse and I’m stickin’ to it.

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