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And whatever connections I can make between these chapters of my life.

Sunday, September 7, 2014


Isn't STEW the funniest word?
My mother used it all the time. 

Recently, I realized I'd used WORRY twice in the same paragraph of dialog. 
The character is a woman, a grandmother, who could well have been a contemporary of my mother's. I grabbed my handy Flip Dictionary and looked for another word.

I couldn't believe it. STEW was listed as a synonym for worry. And it wasn't even a southern list of words. It didn't mention how old-fashioned it is.


Today I happened upon this excellent article I'd saved to read "later"- when I had time to savor it. 
So much good writing advice to think about.

Like this, from Stephen King's book ON WRITING:

A book won't stand or fall on the very first line of prose -- the story has got to be there, and that's the real work. And yet a really good first line can do so much to establish that crucial sense of voice -- it's the first thing that acquaints you, that makes you eager, that starts to enlist you for the long haul. So there's incredible power in it, when you say, come in here. You want to know about this. And someone begins to listen.

And lo and behold, there's my word STEW. From Mohsin Hamid, author of How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia. Talking about walking.

My head cleared. My energy soared. My neck pains diminished. Sometimes I texted myself ideas, sentences, entire paragraphs as I walked. Other times I just floated along, arms at my sides, stewing and filtering and looking.

(I know what he means. I often STEW over ideas while driving. Not the smartest of moves if you're in traffic...)

Now I'm sure I'll find it every time I open something. It's a fine word, stew.
And I'm not about to stew over kids today not knowing what it means. When I put my earlier blogpost on Facebook and Twitter, about the irony of finding STEW when I looked up worry, a teacher commented that she loved finding words kids might not know, challenging them to figure them out. I totally agree!
Let's hear it for new/ old words!

Have you run across an old friend in the word department lately? Did you add it to your writing?

1 comment:

Rosi said...

Stew is a fine word. I use it now and then, but not often. This is a fun post. Thanks.