*A.k.a The Word Nerd
***Adult content alert
This is another first draft of an assignment for my Creative Non-Fiction class. We had to write a lyrical essay where every sentence started with a sequential letter of the alphabet, and contained a one-word sentence and a 250-word sentence.
I agonized over it for days. We have to do a 10-minute freewrite every day, and of course I’m behind, so I used several day’s worth of catch-up to write about my anxiety over the essay, figure out how to tackle it, and finally start to practice. I wrote a couple of decent ones but there was no way I could twist either of them into an ABC format. I decided to construct a 250-word sentence first and work off of that, but the longest one I could possibly concoct only had 46 words. Finally, when my brain throbbed and my nerves frayed and my eyes lost focus, I broke down and went to my professor for help.
She told me I was thinking too hard. Shocker. She said to ignore the parameters and just write. Ignore the…you mean…you’re telling me to break your rules??? I couldn’t comprehend. I got dizzy. I started to twitch.
(Not really, Daddy.)
Yes, she said. What could she do about it, make me do it over? It’s creative writing. Be creative. Have fun. Quit stressing.
The nice thing about a lyric essay is that, despite the name, it’s really a free-form essay with no rules. So I finally knocked it out, but I followed all the rules anyway because my CDO kicked in and I had to.
Detention For Missing Vocabulary Homework (or The Word Nerd)
Open the dictionary and I’m off on an adventure, roaming through words as if they are forests. Pages of verbs and nouns become mountains to be explored. Quests to find stories from Greek mythology, Biblical illuminations, Austrian folklore and nautical superstition are embarked upon. Réchauffé leads to remoulade and R’emolade and farriery. Strings of definitions entice me to hop from one word to the next, like stepping stones across a pond of English language, drawing me farther and farther away from my intended task. The words I should find remain undefined, replaced by terms and idioms of fascination, intrigue, and curiosity. Unmarked notebook paper waits limp and taciturn on the desk, abandoned under a cheap blue ballpoint pen in the wake of Merriam-Webster’s siren song.
Vocabule: Word, term, or name.
Xanthous: Yellow or yellowish; of or pertaining to a race with blond hair and fair skin.
Zoic: Animal, animal-like, relating somehow to an animal.
Baetulus: Consecrated stone or meteorite.
D’Oyly Carte: English light opera company founded specifically to present works by Gilbert and Sullivan.
Fuck: (Giggles threaten to erupt. Head down, lip bitten, too enticing for a teenage word-lover to ignore.) Intercourse; the act of sexual intercourse; an act of copulation; to have sexual intercourse with; to engage in coitus with; make love; copulate; fornicate; a partner in sexual intercourse; a person who is annoying or contemptible; to treat unfairly or harshly; cheat; screw; used to express anger, contempt, disgust, or peremptory rejection, often followed by a pronoun <fuck you, fuck it>; used especially with the and WH-questions as a meaningless intensifier to express annoyance, impatience, etc. <what the fuck are they doing>; to meddle, usually followed by with <if you fuck with it, you’ll make it worse>; fuck around: to behave in a frivolous or meddlesome way; to engage in promiscuous sexual activities; fuck off: to shirk one’s duty; to waste time; malinger; used as an exclamation of impatience, meaning to go away, equivalent to the expression get lost; fuck up: to bungle, botch, or ruin; to act stupidly or carelessly; cause trouble; mess up; give a fuck: to care or be concerned, usually used in the negative <I don’t give a fuck about politics>; cluster fuck: an act of group rape; any event as riotous as an act of group rape <this day has been one long cluster fuck>; flying fuck: a real or imaginary act of copulation where the male leaps or dives onto and into the female; something totally worthless <who gives a flying fuck>; French-fried fuck: see flying fuck; mind fuck: to affect or destroy someone’s mind, as with drugs; to confuse or disorient <he mind fucked the teacher by asking stupid questions>; a question, phrase, or action that confuses or disorients.
Keep my head lowered. Lift my eyes to gaze through eyebrow hairs. Mrs. Mason dismisses me from detention with, “Your hour is up, so if you’ve finished your vocabulary homework, you can go.”
None of it is complete.