I love words. No surprise there, right? I spend hours each day glueing them together, selecting the perfect choices, moving and deleting and replacing. New words fascinate me. I love being the first kid on the block to use one, but much more often a word sneaks up and surprises me. In fact a word can be in usage, appearing in other novelists’ books, on tongues everywhere, but it’s still new to me. Sometimes I catch on so late that using a “new” word automatically dates my character.
I hate it when that happens.
I’m particularly fond of words that sing their identity the moment we hear them.
How, for instance, did we live without “ka-ching?” Theoretically, ka-ching is the sound of a cash register, but for me, the meaning has expanded beyond that. In my personal life, “ka-ching” is that moment when an answer falls into place. A “ka-ching” moment precedes most important decisions. How did I live without it? How did I figure out what to do?
And “webinar?” Does that one take an explanation? I attended a webinar from my publisher on the use of online promotion. The workshop was great, “webinar” was brilliant. Now I feel the need to use the word in a novel. I might need an entirely new plot line in my next book, and I can absolutely guarantee it will be humorous. Doesn’t “webinar” make you smile?
Of course, thanks to JK Rowling, we have wonderful new words. Who among us hasn’t met a “Muggle” or two? How about a “Voldemort?” I hope you don’t know anyone you can so label, particularly in your own family. Then we have “dementors.” I swear I’ve seen them drifting above my house a time or two. That, by the way is a good moment to be a Muggle. Just occasionally, not noticing what’s going on around you, is a good thing.
The New Oxford American Dictionary declared “unfriend” the Word of the Year for 2009, claiming it has both “currency and longevity.” Of course once you’re “unfriended” your longevity as a friend has no currency whatsoever. You are, to quote a great slang word, “toast.”
Frankly, I’ve always liked toast. But I know for a fact, I never want to “be” toast. Nor “unfriended.” But I’ll take “ka-ching” any way I can get it. How about you?
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