by Fran Rizer
The young lady farded before leaving to meet the new man she'd met on the Internet.
She hoped he wasn't a grinagog. After all, she'd met one of those the previous night, and it had become a kankedort. That's why she'd chosen to make this a jentacular date, hoping it wouldn't turn out to make her niddick quiver.
The last man had been ambisinistrous, though eumorphous. Unfortunately, he'd insisted on going to a new restaurant and ordering for her. The spitchcock had almost gagged her. It was even covered with shitake. When she'd complained, the man insisted she taste his scrod. She thought it was quisquilious and certainly hadn't want to osculate with the man after he'd stared at her glabella and complained that his coccyx hurt after they'd run into a friend of his who debagged him.
Well, what do you think? Did you understand that brief scenario or did it make you want to run for the dictionary? Did you think parts of it might even be a bit "blue" or off-color? Unless your normal vocabulary far exceeds mine, you may have misinterpreted some of it.
Through the years, I've met writers who like to pull out every ten-dollar word they know when writing. I'm not referring to the jargon specific to a subject, just the habit of using a long, lesser known word when a regular old two-dollar word will do. A friend who wanted to critique each other's writings told me, "I want every paragraph to have a word that the reader has to look up in the dictionary."
I laughed and said, "Then I don't want to read what you're writing. Fiction should entertain, and unless you explain those words in context, I don't want to read what you write."
Unless I'm writing an instructional article, I try to write so the average adult reader will understand what I'm trying to say. I've been told that my Callie Parrish mysteries are great "Beach Reads," because they are easy reading. That comes naturally because I spent over thirteen years teaching fifth grade, so I tend to write on about a fifth-grade level in vocabulary. That doesn't worry me a lot because most newspapers are now written below fifth-grade level.
I used to "collect" unusual words though I don't use them in normal speech, nor in fiction. (Not even in the serial killer novel, which is a different style from Callie.) In case I've collected a few words you haven't, I'll give you these for your edification:
- fard - to put on excessive makeup
- grinagog - person who grins a lot
- kankedort - an awkward situation
- jentacular - related to breakfast
- niddick - nape of the neck
- ambisinistrous - clumsy, opposite of ambidextrous
- eumorphous - well formed
- splitchcock - a special way of cooking eel
- shitake - a kind of mushroom
- scrod - young cod fish
- quisquilious - like garbage
- osculate - kiss
- glabella - facial area between the eyebrows
- coccyx - bottom bone of the spine
- debag - to pull someone's pants down as a joke
Until we meet again… take care of YOU.