language

Around the world in 80 days (of Punctuation) by daintydora

Yes, not quite as Phileas Fogg did it in Jules Verne's Around the World in Eighty Days, but it's day 80 of my 100-day project (#100daysofthepunctuationproject) and it feels like a worthwhile milestone to celebrate. The last few weeks I've strayed dangerously into 'symbols' territory, rather than actual punctuation marks, but I always knew there weren't really 100 punctuation marks to go round.

The point of the project is daily creativity and the formation of a regular creative habit, and on that front, I'm totally winning.

The Equals Symbol: Day 74 of The Punctuation Project
The Equals Symbol: Day 74 of The Punctuation Project

So far I've interpreted and featured familiar (and not so familiar) punctuation, letters, diacritics and symbols in a variety of mediums in:

English/American English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, German, Czech, Latin, Greek, Hebrew, Danish, Norwegian, Polish, Japanese, Arabic and Swedish. Possibly more - I've lost track.

And these have encompassed the realms of:

Spoken and written language, finance and currency, bookbinding and typesetting, mathematics, music, computer programming, science, law and electronics. Wow.

I've learnt a LOT about language as an interesting aside and hopefully I've retained some of my new-found knowledge for future use (or at least to appear super-clever in a Christmas quiz?).

The Tie: Day 56 of The Punctuation Project
The Tie: Day 56 of The Punctuation Project

Ever the multi-passionate creative, I love to capitalise on my tactile/textile interests, pattern design skills, love of colour and my graphic/hand-drawn style in ink and watercolour.

That's half the fun in a project like this to shake up the day and allow a cross-pollination of skills and ideas, but I must admit, this is my most bold attempt:

Basis Point: Day 73 of The Punctuation Project
Basis Point: Day 73 of The Punctuation Project

There's only (only!) 20 days to go, and I'm already working on the 100th day - what could it be?

Follow me and the project via Instagram to find out.

You might also be interested in joining THE WORD, my fortnightly newsletter for writers & word-lovers. Check it out here.

100 days of my favourite words by daintydora

“Words, like glass, darken whatever they do not help us to see.”

– Joubert, Pensees

Thank you to Gretchen Rubin's daily happiness email for that thoughtful quote. But it's true isn't it?

When I decided to use words as the focus of my 100-day project for 2016, I understood the inherent power they yield.

Today is 100/100 and the word I've chosen to celebrate my achievement is 'Firework', because it connotes celebration, success, happiness - and on this occasion perhaps even a whiff of relief. This day has (finally) arrived.

It also conjures the joy of bright colour on a dark night, childish excitement, danger, power, spontaneity, laughter and that smell of sulphur in the air. I think words can do all those things too.

Some days I've been playful, optimistic and creative with my word choice; other days I've been a bit darker in tone, bringing the etymological force of the English language to bear. Hopefully in both cases I've inspired others with my 'daily habit' linked so intrinsically to my life as a writer. (Hello 'Alphabet' - I couldn't have done it without you.)

In some cases, perhaps I've even introduced a new word to someone, taking them on a brief journey of exploration or an unexpected linguistic tangent? I'd like to think so. (I'm looking at you, 'Petrichor'.)

And isn't it funny how when you focus on a word - perhaps a word that doesn't crop up in every-day language, like 'ekphrastic' or 'chiaroscuro' or even 'synchronicity' itself - it suddenly appears everywhere as if to say 'here I am, look at me' (use me! play with me!)?

I do have a predilection for personification. I try to resist, but find the new depth - often world - of meaning a personifying verb or adjective brings to the intangible 'inanimates' of life...irresistible:

Thoughts that leap. Memories that stir. Happiness that soars. The 'demonic' inner critic. Grrr.

So here we are. 100 days deep in words. See the rest of the pack via my Instagram profile, or search under #100daysofmyfavouritewords (there's definitely 100 - I checked!)

A big shout-out to Elle Luna who started the 100-day project, and all the creative friends who shared the journey with me.

Finally, check out last year's '100 days of Haiku'. What will next year bring?

50 days of Haiku by daintydora

So, a whole 50 days of haiku...

50 days of haiku - figs, quinces, plums, pears

Halfway through. I can't believe it. I'm impressed with myself.

Creating a 5-7-5 haiku poem each day has really become a habit; words twisted into a semblance of order but with no rhyme or reason (though I still throw in some rhyme now and then. I can't help myself.)

Today, Day 50 of my #100daysofhaiku journey (shared every day without fail on Instagram), I've delved deep into the evocations of hot summer in a faraway finca in the hills of Italy or maybe Spain. A delicious remembering of all that nature provides, of the richness of the earth and also of language:

Figs, quinces, plums, pears
seductive fresh finca fayre
intense night flavours."

Taste those succulent pears and feel the juice run down your face and sticky your hands.

Draw your eyes over the lush green swathe of trees and plants and flowers laid out before you, watch day slip into night where a new menu of seductions await, and know, really know: this is living, this is the true essence of life, this is the nitty-gritty pleasure of it all.

I welcome the illusions, allusions, thoughts, ideas, images, simile and metaphor that swarm into my consciousness for the next 50 days.

Thanks so much to The Great Discontent and Elle Luna for devising this amazing challenge.

 

10 favourite words by daintydora

I really love words. They are my currency, my stock-in-trade. And nobody owns them. They're free for everyone to manipulate and juggle and borrow and blend into structures and sentences. Words are the magic of communication and the literacy of dreams (in my opinion!)

Words are, of course, the most powerful drug used by mankind.
Rudyard Kipling

Here's 10 words, some old favs and others very new to me, that I love:

1. Troubadour - I think I first saw this word in an Erica Jong novel. I seem to remember something about a 'naif troubadour'. Brilliant!

2. Fabulism - new to me this week, 'fabulism' is a form of magic realism and although I at first thought it was related to the word 'fabulous', it is in fact from the word 'fable'; 'fabular'. It all makes sense now. So what's magic realism again???

3. Ennui - but I'm always forgetting what it means! Is that symptomatic of embracing the word itself? (ON-wee. ON-wee. ON-wee.)

4. Pom-pom - isn't this such a wonderful word? According to wikipedia it is "a loose, fluffy, decorative ball or tuft of fibrous material. Pom-poms may come in many colors, sizes, and varieties and are made from a wide array of materials, including wool, cotton, paper, plastic, and occasionally feathers. Pom-poms are shaken by cheerleaders."

5. Halycon - oh how I long for those halycon days...

6. Cornucopia - makes me think of nests filled with Faberge eggs or treasures in a charity shop or a gathering of haberdashery delights in a shop like Liberty. It makes me feel creative just by saying it: CORNU-COPIA.

7. Twig - like twigs that form on branches and branches that grow on trees and trees that are of the oldest plants of the earth; so beautiful and so enduring. 'Twigs' was also the name of the owl that delivered our wedding rings when my husband and I got married. And I like this song by FKA Twigs.

8. Myriad - I use it all the time. I love it. It has myriad uses (haha).

9. Virago - "A virago is a woman who demonstrates exemplary and heroic qualities." Yes. Exactly.

10. Triptych - I'm drawn to this word and it pops up all the time in art and in exhibitions. But I can't say it. It's a tongue-twister. It mocks me. But it makes it even more appealing to me. I want to create a 'triptych' of something, someday. That'll show it!

Other words I struggle to say are obfuscate and archipelago. I'm sure there are plenty more.

What are your favourite words? Is it just me who struggles with triptych, obfuscate and archipelago?