Fiction Daily.
A blog on writing, writers and why we read. Posted most mornings by Marion Blackburn.
Mystical words
How often do I see a word and think to myself, I need to look that up, and never do. I regret my sloth; words are meaning, they are experience, they are the very blood that allows us to be fully human.

OK, as the French say, j'exagere. Maybe it's not an exaggeration, though, to ascribe profound value to words.

For me, the right word is like the perfect pitch. It fills a space with enough meaning, without saying too much.

I embrace other words for their resonance. For me, "bell" is our language's most beautiful syllable. I can repeat that word and feel calmed. It has evocative value as a symbol of a gentle ringer, which complements is sound. The two work together so well for me that it serves as a sort of literary mantra.

J.R.R. Tolkien compounded the phrase "cellar door" for many of the same reasons and called it one of the most beautiful in the English language. For me, that phrase, with its deep, mournful "o" and "r" sounds -- and for the dark place it evokes -- just doesn't serve well .

"Bell" and "moss" are elegance and perfection, in this writer's mind.
2007-11-15 15:12:33 GMT
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