Well, no. Of course not. Hell, I did not learn what lucubrate means until this week either. I purposefully sought out a $0.50 word for my post title. Why? Keep reading, we’ll get there.
Among the books I finished reading this weekend was a memoir of poet and author Kathleen Rooney.
For You, For You I am Trilling These Songs is a collection of articles and short stories of a bright, twenty-something wife/professor/senate aide exploring her life. Not exactly a genre most men in their 40’s gravitate towards, however, I wanted to experience more of her writing so I picked it up.
You see, I loved her recently released novel Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk. I became an immediate fan of Rooney’s and I needed to read more of her writing.
It is important to note, however, that For You, For You is markedly different from her novel.
For instance, Lillian is a story of an early-to-mid 20th century Advertising writer who reminisces on her past. For You, For You opens with the true story of our young and attractive twenty-something author, shortly before her wedding, splayed about to have the hair from between her legs hastily torn from the follicles of which they first made their appearance.
So, yeah, that’s like, ya know … different.
To be frank there were only a small handful of stories that I could connect with/empathize with, as a reader because – again – middle aged male here reading about a woman half his age. There were some I found completely entertaining and laughed out loud. But that wasn’t what I got out of the book. In addition to the joy I get from learning about someone, and something, new, there was more than just that here.
I found reading her books thoughtfully, and with patience, yields unexpected rewards. Inspiration for one. A treasure trove of words, words, words for another.
First, the inspiration. I finished reading The Great Gatsby for the umpteenth time this past week also. Early into it Nick introduces us to his cousin Daisy. In his narration there was something he said that immediately made me think of Rooney.
I’ve heard it said that Daisy’s murmur was only to make people lean toward her; an irrelevant criticism that made it no less charming.
That is her. That is her writing. She makes me want to lean in.
Lean in and learn.
This leads to part two, which is the treasure trove of words.
I can’t say with any certainty this is true, but I think she left out of her memoir the time when she was three and swallowed whole the family’s Roget’s Thesaurus. Dear God, this woman’s vocabulary is … is … oh what’s the word ….
(See what I did there?)
The truth is I love seeing so many words I don’t know. New words to learn. New words to use when writing stories. New words that I will hopefully use in their correct context. New words while speaking to others and hope it produces a slight tilt of their head, kind of like my dog does when I say “treat? treat?”
Why? Because they’re not sure they know what that word means, or if they have heard it before, and I do know what it means, and I have heard it before, and I’m using it in a sentence now bitches, and at that exact moment, for just a fleeting moment, I feel the teeniest bit superior. Granted they are probably are thinking “wow this guy is a completely pretentious asshole” and for the next moment or two I am like “I am soooooooooooooooooooooooooooo ok with that” and then moments later I come to grips with reality and stop being a complete tool.
And that, my dear friends is why it is for me, for me I tell you, that I lucubrate these words … because she inspires me to want to learn …
… not so much to be an asshole.
BTW, lucubrate means to write or to study, especially by night, or to write learnedly.
… and I am getting more learnedly every day 🙂
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Words Learned While Reading: If you have seen any of my other blog posts there are those that have a number of words and their definitions that follow. These are words I had no idea existed; words I had seen but didn’t know and words I could infer enough of their meanings in context to get by. Here are some more words I learned from Kathleen Rooney’s For You, For You I am Trilling These Songs. They are:
Commodification – the action or process of treating something as a mere commodity.
Sotto voce – intentionally lowering the volume of one’s voice for emphasis
Basso profundo – the bass voice subtype with the lowest vocal range
De rigueur – required by etiquette or current fashion
Aegis – the protection, backing, or support of a particular person or organization.
Rictus – a fixed grimace or grin.
Hegemony – leadership or dominance, especially by one country or social group over others
Pauvre – Poor (french)
Apercus – a comment or brief reference that makes an illuminating or entertaining poin
Filigree – ornamental work of fine (typically gold or silver) wire formed into delicate tracery
Balustrades – a railing supported by balusters, especially an ornamental parapet on a balcony, bridge, or terrace
Postprandial – during or relating to the period after dinner or lunch
Gelid – icy; extremely cold
Oneiromancy – the interpretation of dreams in order to foretell the future
Scrivener – a clerk, scribe, or notary.