At what point does a writer earn the right to create (and use) their own words?
I ask because, a year on, I am still mourning the absence of the non-word “vandalous” from my book. “Vandalous”… it’s a great descriptor, don’t you think? And this is how it should have been used:
‘She rolled out her poverty-stricken beauty before me with vandalous honesty, the kind that cuts sharpest when given with love.’
Now how poetic is that?! But ‘vandalous’ is not a word (yet, and the day it is finally listed in the dictionary will be a very proud day for me, for I shall shout it far and wide that I MADE THAT WORD!). My editor asked me to substitute it with something, well, real.
I spent days pouring over thesauruses looking for something that captured the frustration, voiceless lashing out at the status-quo, a kind of honest commentary in the harshest way without being violent or bloody; anger with a kind of beauty embedded; something very human but raw at the same time; something like ‘vandalous’ language (where you describe something in the harshest possible terms to get a reaction – another valuable use for my word).
There was nothing. I had to settle for ‘ferocious’. Blah.
So, at what point did ole’ Bill Shakespeare earn the right to start creating his 1600 new words? Did he have an editor telling him, “Not yet, Billy Boy. One more theatre show gone good and you may craft words a-plenty, but for now, return thee with thine pages to the Book of Real Words.”?
I’m not saying I’m ready to redefine our language (I’m not really qualified, now, am I?), but one word? Pretty Pleeeeese?
Perhaps when I am riotously famous (now there’s one that’s similar and made it though the spell check) like Barak Obama and the bookshops suddenly all crave copies of that long lost memoir that tells “with such elegance, wit and wisdom” of my life before, perhaps then I will reinstate ‘vandalous’ to her rightful place on the page.
I can only hope.
Which leads to question two…
Actually, it doesn’t lead to question two at all. There is absolutely no possible connection. These are the random thoughts that crossed my mind while giving my legs a badly needed shave last night.
Why are nipples not made of the same tough stuff that the soles of you feet are made of? Or why don’t they, like a tradesman’s hands or a guitarist’s fingers, become calloused with use? Because, let’s be honest, it’s much less torturous (another cousin of ‘vandalous’) to keep a calloused heel soft than to make a silky nipple tough. In fact, I’d argue that the former is possible while the latter is impossible.
This came up during the last couple of weeks of illness. My milk went west when I was at the peak of my suffering (and peak of my Panadine Forte consumption), leaving Blossom desperately chewing on my nipples for hours, trying to glean every drop.
It made me feel like I had an especially large, capable and hungry newborn, and I wondered why, if that’s what boobs are made for, did God not protect them a little from wear and tear?
Ok, so a calloused nipple is not the most enticing thing a baby (or man, or woman, or whoever it is you want) could choose to suck on, but the thought then occurred to me (and bear in mind, people, I have been doped to the eyeballs and somewhat delirious), that the Ped-Egg could have a sister product, the Nip-Egg. I can hear the advertising now:
“Looking for a smoother surface? A softer place for you baby to suck? Let Nip-Egg help keep those dry, hard nipples feeling soft and silky without compromising their hard-wear capabilities…”
So now you know why I don’t work in advertising.
So there you have it – my very long-winded two questions. Any thoughts?
PS: This a blog-hoppin’, flogging, bloggin’ Friday over at Lori’s RRSAHM place. Go see!