I keep a diary of words. Nothing formal. This diary has many forms – a notepad where I keep ideas for my books, a note draft on my phone, a document on my computer, a scrap of paper, a highlighted word or sentence amidst a blocky paragraph.
Some days I am a hoarder, collecting words like a magpie. I read the words in newspapers, blogs, books, and magazines. I take note, and I think how can I share this word which so perfectly expresses this idea? I treasure them, these little dictionary fragments and tuck them away for a rainy day. Big or small, unknown or known, each have their place.
When the sun appears I start over. I regularly pitch the words, deleting or tossing the words away. I’m determined to unclutter my ever-growing list of words like a relentless wood chipper, hacking at the words until there’s not even a reminder of their roots. But no matter how many times I ditch them, words keep coming back to me. Not always the same, but sometimes the very same.
Some words are tenacious, hanging on with unforeseen diligence, determined to have their say. Some are airy and blasé, eager to come and go as they please with a laissez-faire that is admirable. These words are secure in their meaning, they know if they’re not the right fit for today they may be tomorrow. So the list grows again with careful attention on my part.
It might sound strange, but as a reader and an author words have always drawn me in and taken me down a rabbit-hole of possibilities, whispering like the wind in my ear and dancing away just as intangible to hold. Do words speak to you? What word travels with you today, dear reader?