On Words I Love…

Image result for image bespoke

When the world is too much with me, as it is so often these days, I find retreat and solace in words. Sometime the words of my favorite authors, sometimes simply words. Words that, somehow, make me happy. Who knows why?

Here are a few:

Image result for image bespoke

Bespoke

Now I was sure that this had to be some type of derivative of “to speak.” In fact, I was so sure that I used it in a poem I was working on. Bespoke. The word, the rhythm, matched beautifully, or so I thought, with the melancholy, Victorian mood I was working so hard to present.

What made me go to the dictionary “just to be sure” I cannot tell you. But it brought me up short. And so I changed the word in my poem, but I must admit that my heart broke just a little. For bespoke means custom-tailored. But I still love this word, as my thoughts drift to a bygone era in beloved England.

Image result for image close to goal line

Penultimate

Last but one, second last. Doesn’t this 50-cent word imply an importance that should not be eclipsed by the ultimate? Penultimate, in my mind, should be more than ultimate. Can there be such a thing? I’m writing this on the penultimate day of June, and I declare that it is much more important than June 30th. After all, this gives me one more chance. Penultimate. I like it.

Image result for image blithely

Blithely

Oh, to do anything blithely these days. Is it something that remains only for the young, those who haven’t experienced enough of the world to forever wring out any trace of blithe? I’m not sure that I’ve ever done anything blithely, so serious a world-view have I. But the word still fills my heart with something that comes close to joy. So maybe there is hope for me. And just maybe there is hope for the world.

And lastly (for blithely was my penultimate word)

reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one - a quote from Albert Einstein on a vintage slate blackboard

Albeit

How I love this word. I actually used it in my morning’s journal entry. All those Henry James novels, E.F. Benson, and other English writers of the early part of the last century. Their characters, their way of speaking, their syntax, their vocabulary gets into one’s blood. I’m comfortable living there, albeit with an understanding that we view the past through a sepia lens. Some days it is exactly what we need.

 

And so I blithely leave you, dear reader, to return to my sunporch and penultimate volume of the adventures of Mapp and Lucia. Thank you, Mr. Benson. I’m sure your wardrobe was bespoke, albeit a bit threadbare by the end of your journey.

http://www.cynthiastrauff.com

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On Gifts That Last Forever

Sometimes a book just appears in our lives — a delightful langniappe that stays with you, one that just might change your life. I happened upon Nuala O’Faolain’s Are You Somebody years ago – a chance encounter at the High Point Library, long before I ever dreamed that I could actually be a writer. I thought, reading her memoir, that if I ever wrote, that’s how I would want to do it. Her searing honesty stayed with me, and in every word that I put to paper, I endeavor to be as honest, as authentic, as she.

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Another chance encounter, shortly after I moved to Greensboro, came again in a library, this time a tiny branch that was soon to be replaced by a modern, up-to-date location. This branch still had catalog cards, and was a delightful escape from the pressures of my very modern job. And there I discovered Miss Read, a sort-of 1950s answer to Alexander McCall Smith. Her tales of an English village where nothing really ever happened proved just the ticket to an evening of unwinding from a job where my brain was full-wired and ever-alert.

 

Barbara pym chronologically:

And then there are the lovely suggestions of friends, those who know more about you than you imagine. One such friend, from my Chicago days, looked at me shortly after we met and said, “I’ll bet you’d like Barbara Pym.” And was she ever right. Those stoic women-of-a-certain-age and their quiet courage certainly influenced me personally and in the characters I portray in my novels.

And now toStoner. Ah…John Williams’s book reached down into the depths of my heart, and I am ever grateful to dear Jane for recognizing that resonance.

 

And from my Raleigh days, I learned about E.F.Benson and Mapp and Lucia. Kathy, a quilter, a knitter, and a reader, opened my eyes to this writer and his fictional band of characters. I even visited Rye to walk the bricks that Miss Mapp and Mrs. Lucas had fictitiously trod.

Alice Steinbach passed away on Tuesday.

And finally Alice Steinbach’s Without Reservations. This recommended by a distant relative, whose reading menu I respect impeccably. I thought that it would be a worthwhile read, but was delighted to read of Steinbach’s honest insights on being on one’s own, of learning, digging deep, to find just who she really is.

So, this are just a few gifts that have made my reading life, or rather my life, my soul, fuller, deeper, more committed. I pass these few on to you with the hope that some, maybe even all, will do the same.

http://www.cynthiastrauff.com

On Gifts That Last Forever

Sometimes a book just appears in our lives — a delightful langniappe that stays with you, one that just might change your life. I happened upon Nuala O’Faolain’s Are You Somebody years ago – a chance encounter at the High Point Library, long before I ever dreamed that I could actually be a writer. I thought, reading her memoir, that if I ever wrote, that’s how I would want to do it. Her searing honesty stayed with me, and in every word that I put to paper, I endeavor to be as honest, as authentic, as she.

Product Details

Another chance encounter, shortly after I moved to Greensboro, came again in a library, this time a tiny branch that was soon to be replaced by a modern, up-to-date location. This branch still had catalog cards, and was a delightful escape from the pressures of my very modern job. And there I discovered Miss Read, a sort-of 1950s answer to Alexander McCall Smith. Her tales of an English village where nothing really ever happened proved just the ticket to an evening of unwinding from a job where my brain was full-wired and ever-alert.

 

Barbara pym chronologically:

And then there are the lovely suggestions of friends, those who know more about you than you imagine. One such friend, from my Chicago days, looked at me shortly after we met and said, “I’ll bet you’d like Barbara Pym.” And was she ever right. Those stoic women-of-a-certain-age and their quiet courage certainly influenced me personally and in the characters I portray in my novels.

And now toStoner. Ah…John Williams’s book reached down into the depths of my heart, and I am ever grateful to dear Jane for recognizing that resonance.

 

And from my Raleigh days, I learned about E.F.Benson and Mapp and Lucia. Kathy, a quilter, a knitter, and a reader, opened my eyes to this writer and his fictional band of characters. I even visited Rye to walk the bricks that Miss Mapp and Mrs. Lucas had fictitiously trod.

Alice Steinbach passed away on Tuesday.

And finally Alice Steinbach’s Without Reservations. This recommended by a distant relative, whose reading menu I respect impeccably. I thought that it would be a worthwhile read, but was delighted to read of Steinbach’s honest insights on being on one’s own, of learning, digging deep, to find just who she really is.

So, this are just a few gifts that have made my reading life, or rather my life, my soul, fuller, deeper, more committed. I pass these few on to you with the hope that some, maybe even all, will do the same.

http://www.cynthiastrauff.com