Perfect Words

This morning I wrote in my journal, as I do most mornings.   This habit is what remains of something I started 25 years ago called Morning Pages, a practice invented by Julia Cameron, author of The Artists Way to help revive your creative self.   As she describes it, Morning Pages are three pages of stream of consciousness writing, putting down whatever comes to mind without concern for grammar, form or content.   As you might imagine, it is a practice that leads you down some passages you didn’t know existed.  It also teaches you to write without interference from your Inner Critic, that nasty fellow prides himself on telling you that your writing sucks.  These days I’m down to two pages most days, and sometimes I run out of patience with the process and stop after one.  The philosophy gets pretty heavy in my pages some days, as it did today.   I was writing about the beauty in the world on one hand and the pain and ugliness on the other.   I wrote I don’t know how to ______  the good and the bad in order to believe, as I prefer to, that the world is basically good.   The blank was the space for a Perfect Word, one that danced tantalizingly on the tip of my tongue but refused to make an appearance.

I love words.  I am used to finding the right word because I have, if I say so myself, a considerable vocabulary.  Some, on the other hand, would say I am pedantic (I would disagree).  I especially love finding a Perfect Word that concisely says exactly what I mean to say.  Unfortunately, as I push into the second half of my seventh decade, the search for the Perfect Word more frequently brings me to a halt.    For some strange reason, I always think I know the first letter of the word … this morning I thought the word I sought stated with C.  I can usually come up with half a dozen other words that are similar in meaning, or I can phrase the word’s meaning in a sentence.  One by one, I Google each of these … and eventually, the Perfect Little Sucker shows up.  This morning’s missing word was (not starting with a C) ReconcileI don’t know how to Reconcile the good and the bad in order to believe, as I prefer to, that the world is basically good.  Perfect.

Let me offer some additional Perfect Words, while I can still remember them.   Melancholy a feeling of pensive sadness, typically with no obvious cause … a word that just aches with longing.   You don’t even have to know the word to know that it’s about sadness.   Another one is Poignant … arousing deep emotion, especially pity or sorrow.   It could be a sad memory, a touching memory, a bitter memory.   But only a Poignant memory captures the pain of something beautiful lost.  I like Mellifluous … the perfect sweet-sounding word for something pleasant to hear.   Obsequious is a Perfect Word for one of my least favorite human traits … showing servile obedience and excessive eagerness to please.  I love the term Synchronicity, coined by Psychologist Carl Jung to describe the meaningful (or even miraculous) coincidences that occur in your life.   I even believe in it on my good days.  I’ll close with Crystalline, a word so perfect that you can almost see the sparkle between the letters.

How about you?  Do you have Perfect Words you love to use?

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One Comment on “Perfect Words”

  1. Tee Says:

    I had forgotten your Morning Pages habit. I’ve often thought I’d give it a try myself, AND read The Artist’s Way, but I’ve done neither. Maybe today’s the day I’ll start. 🙂

    I don’t think I’ve got a strong vocabulary, for all the reading that I do. Or maybe I lean a bit on the lazy side. When I go back to read my own writing, I see a pattern of the same words and phrases that I’ll realize I could have stated so much better. I LOVE words, but I have trouble making the unique ones stick in my brain. So whenever I want to find a more colorful or creative way of describing something, I almost always have to rely on the thesaurus. But you’ve inspired me to work harder at this. After all, what’s the point of writing if you can’t do it well?


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