My word, I think I found my word today.
In Eat Pray Love (both the movie and the book), Elizabeth Gilbert attempts to figure out her word. Her dreamy (and off-limits) Italian language tutor introduces the concept that every city has a word. The word of Rome, they decide, is sex. (In my experience, it’s first base then gelato, which is, I’d put forward, arguably superior.)
So it’s natural that E.G. (what with all the self-discovery-journey and the being-a-writer) wants to pin down just the right word to describe herself.
I don’t really know what prompted today’s pinning-down for me.
Maybe the fact that it’s back-to-school time and so my thoughts have turned to studenty things.
(My word is very English class.)
Maybe the fact that I spent a good chunk of my day knee-deep in trip planning and googling London literary destinations circa: Charles Dickens, William Blake, Samuel Johnson. hear that, fellas?
(My word is very do-that-with-your-Sunday-and-like it.)
Ready yet? Because…it’s kind of a big deal to claim a word as my own, right? I’m henceforth in a public relationship with this word after I claim it as my own. And honestly, it’s more that I want this word to be mine. I’m enamored with the idea of it. It is the Helen Hunt to my Jack Nicholson.
Google my word, and this is the first thing you see:
1. Of or characteristic of a professional author.
2. Consciously literary
Writerly. I love that it almost sounds made up. I love that it feels like it has texture. Heft. Dimensions.
I think it looks like a professor.
It smells like the inside of a musty library hardback.
It sounds like Billy Collins reciting, bringing to life, his lines.
It just makes me feel like being how I want to be. (which is what you want out of “the” word, after all.)
Last night I talked with a fellow-writer friend about writing. We had a really nice “OMG! me too!” exchange about the paralysis difficulties of just getting started. She said she feels writing is the one thing she’s good at, but it’s also the most challenging. I said I’ve been thinking about working on a book. A collection of essays, more like. I’ve been thinking, off-and-on with moments of serious intention, about this since I finished college. Each New Year and birthday marking another milestone where This Could Be The Year.
Could this be the year? Because it’s writerly to think about writing a book, but it’s oh so much more writerly to go ahead and write it.