A Group of People

Finding New Words

In author, depth, devotional, life, writer on February 23, 2011 at 3:18 pm

By Lori Lenz

As a struggling writer, I’m always trying to play with words.  Sometimes hours are spent looking at the blank spot in a sentence just looking for the one set of letters that make the thought, the concept, more colorful, more poignant.

This morning is one of those moments.  So I took a break and picked up a daily devotional of thoughts by Frederick Buechner, one of my favorite wordsmiths of this century.  And this is what it says:

Words.

Words – especially religious words, words that have to do with the depth of things – get tired and stale the way people do.

Find new words or put old words together in combinations that make them heard as new, make you yourself new, and make you understand in new ways.  “Blessed are the meek” are the words of the English translators –words of great beauty and power- but over the years they have become almost too familiar to hear any more.

“Heurex sont les debonaires” are the French words – Blessed are the debonair – and suddently new beauty, new power, flood in like light.  Blessed is Fred Astaire in white tie and tails.  Blessed is Oliver Hardy in rusty black suit and derby hat as he picks his dapper way toward the unseen banana peel on the sidewalk.  Blessed is my old friend as she tries to let me win at Aggravation, rattling her dice in the cup which the pills that keep her alive come in.

Arrange the alphabet into words that are true in the sense that they are true to what you experience to be true.  If you have to choose between words that mean more than what you have experienced and words that mean less, choose the ones that mean less because that way you leave room for your hearers to move around in and for yourself to move around in too.

Now my mind can’t stop rattling with more ideas than I had before..

Debonair – of the old French ‘de bone aire’ – “Be of Good Disposition.”  Matthew 5:5 Blessed are the debonair, for they shall inherit the earth.

As someone who tends to over explain, I’ll just stop there and let your words move around.

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