Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Word-a-rama

I'm constantly being accused of inventing words. This may have something to do with the fact that I'm always doing it, but I still don't know why my friends persist in pointing it out. Yes, I make up words. But listen up, people: I DO IT ON PURPOSE!

Mostly, it's just because I have a Bachelor's in English and have to do something to prove that it was worth the time and effort. Because really, all that a BA in English does for you career-wise is makes you a shoe-in to put the letters on the sign outside of McDonalds. Trust me on this one.

The fact is that I love words. I like playing with them, creating new ones, and trying to see if I can use them enough times to make other people pick them up (or throw things at me... it's happened once or twice). Like "snarftastic." I'm sure I'm not the first person in the world to use it, but I've decided to champion it, and when it wins an Academy Award, I'd damned well better be in the acceptance speech.

Er... yeah. Pretend that made sense for me, will ya?

But combining words together to make new ones? Man, if you don't appreciate that, hie thee to the library and pick up a copy of Jabberwocky. Every single computer I've ever had has been named the Frumious Bandersnatch, because that name is just so freaking cool.

Anyway, since I like to play word games, signs with missing letters or ridiculous misspellings make me snarf. I remember two signs with particular fondness. On the way to work, I used to drive past the Red Oof Inn, and I always wanted to stay there just so I could call all my friends and tell them that I was sleeping at the Red Oof. And then I'd go down the street to order the "Big Chicken F" from Rally's, because hey, they were advertising it. I don't know why, but the Big Chicken F really cracks me up. It sounds vaguely pervy for some reason I don't quite understand.

One of my other favorite word games is the reading things backwards game, and again I've got some favorites to relate. See, the mall in Toledo, where I used to live, is called Franklin Park. And there's nothing like going to Krap Nilknarf for a little shopping. After that, I like to go to Niknud Stunod for a glazed chocolate donut. But not with the Big Chicken F, because everyone knows that Big Chicken Fs and Stunods don't go well together.

Part of this is just me being silly. (I know, you're absolutely aghast at that one.) But part of it is I think essential to being a writer. Not that you need to take the silly approach to it, but always to play with words, to squish them around and jumble them up and see what new things you can come up with. To play with anagrams and abbreviations and new ways to say old things. To explore slang, how it evolves, and to find new ways to make it work for you.

And I am the world's biggest geek, because I love that schtuff. But you can call me wobgeek for short.

15 comments:

Jamie Eyberg said...

It is for posts like this that I read what you write.

Aaron Polson said...

This is why the interweb is super. I think "Big Chicken F" is illegal in Kansas.

devonellington said...

Sweetie, we're word smiths. We're supposed to create language!

Go for it!

Catherine J Gardner said...

Well it made me snarf ;)

PJ Hoover said...

I let my kids make up words for me and make sure to write down everything they say.

Natalie L. Sin said...

And if your better-half's first language isn't English, occasionally you can fool them into thinking it IS a word ; ) Heh heh heh.

Carrie Harris said...

I send a respective HA! to each of you in return.

K.C. Shaw said...

Hey, Shakespeare used to make up words! We still use a lot of his word coinages (there, I just made up a word myself, sort of). Of course, look where it got him--dead.

sruble said...

I am a word-a-rama girl too. Snarftastic is great. Almost any word can be better by adding "tastic" to it. It makes the word fantabulous. I also like the backword game, mostly when I have a T-shirt with a saying on it, because then I can look in the mirroe and read it backwords. ;)

Tabitha said...

I used to read forwards, backwards, upside down, you name it. I also created my own set of swear words when I was a kid, so I could curse in front of my mom. It gave me ridiculous kind of pleasure when she looked at me funny. :)

I guess that's just what writers do, no matter how old we are. :)

Mary said...

Big Chicken F sounds squdelibellyicious!

K. M. Walton said...

Again, loving your blog. Love words too. But, does anyone do this with words?

Fringing Swee = swinging free
Papple Ie - Apple pie
Hawking wome = walking home
Shood Fopping = food shopping

Well, I do and NOT on purpose. However, people who hear me say those freaky, out of the blue, reverse words, laugh so hard that tears come, sides are grabbed and breath is lost.

It is dang funny though.

Brenda said...

I snarf everytime I read your blog...

Growing up Pig Latin was my language of choice...

Iway useway otay ivedray ymay arentspay azycray! (translation: I use to drive my parents crazy!)

Candace Ryan said...

Word up, up with the word! Wordworkers of the wor(l)d unite!

What else is there to do with words but play with them? Keep it up!

k.m. walton, check out Jon Scieszka's HENRY (BALONEY P.) for some more fun Spoonerisms.

Skilli said...

Ever been to Xanth? Because I love the word games there.