I am a word junkie. No big shakes. As far as afflictions go, my addiction is pretty harmless. I have several friends who share my disorder, belong to a few support groups that function under guise of “writers’ groups”, and have even compiled a list of favorite words with my nine year-old daughter—evidently an addiction to words is part of the gene pool.
However, there are times I feel my obsession goes a little beyond the “norm”. Let me try to put it into perspective by using an example we can all relate to…
You’re out on a Saturday afternoon shopping at the mall with your family. Passing by one of the various shoe stores, you catch sight of a pair of gorgeous, soft-green, Italian stilettos. They are sparkly…calling your name…but unfortunately are well outside your price range.
You pick them up for a closer look. They are well-made and only one pair in your size remains on the shelf. In a moment of impulse, you take them to the register and add them to your smoldering, over-loaded credit card.
There is no real reason to buy the shoes. You don’t need them. They match nothing in your closet and it’s been approximately fifteen years since a pair of stilettos has been anywhere near your feet. They don’t even come close to practicality (where do you plan on wearing these shoes? Wal-Mart?), but they make you happy and are just so darn pretty, you cannot resist.
One of two things happen: You take them home, display them on your dresser, pick them up often and admire the quality and craftsmanship. You imagine wearing the shoes for a night out on the town…someplace besides the all-u-can-eat buffet…and live vicariously through visuals of the glamorous life those beautiful shoes emulate.
OR…you keep them in your car and spend the next six months searching for just the right outfit. You take the shoes into every store you enter (including Dollar General) and hold them in the natural light, calling the sales associate over to see if she might have anything that would match.
Such is my obsession with words.
Two weeks ago I was helping my son with his 6th Grade Geography lesson when I stumbled across a word I had never seen before. The world screeched to a halt. I wrote the word down, raced to my laptop and immediately Googled the definition.
Quite naturally, my son grew quite confused. “What’s the matter, mom?”, I believe, were his next words, followed by an uncomfortable chuckle.
After learning the correct usage of said word, a thin sheen of sweat broke out all over my body. I had to use it. I needed to use it. This word was too perfect, to pretty for me to ignore.
Maybe I could craft story for this word. I could write something, yeah, a novella or short story. Or perhaps I could jot the word in my notebook for safekeeping until the perfect opportunity came along.
Or…WAIT! I pulled up my WIP and scrolled through the document, my eyes scanning, my fingers shaking, until, thankfully, I found the ideal spot. I clicked in the word, hit file and save. Whew! That was a narrowly escaped disaster.
When I sat back from my laptop, my son was staring at me, his face blank, pencil poised before his worksheet. He shook his head. “There is seriously something wrong with you,” he said.
I smiled. “I know.”
Didn’t matter what he thought. I was happy. I had secured that word just for myself. But a few days later, I had to wonder. Am I the only one who does this? What about you? How does your obsession with words manifest?
AJ Nuest lives in northwest Indiana with her loving husband and two beautiful children. She is the Senior Editor for Still Moments Publishing, and the author of two contemporary romance novels.
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