Since I have been struggling a little lately with my writing, I thought I would give myself an assignment and maybe that would help the creative juices come to the surface – wow – that sounds really icky – like I’m a big ol’ roast in the oven just seeping juices – or that I’m sitting in my sweat lodge oozing fluid from every pore – not sure which image is more disgusting!
Anyway – I digress. I thought I would try a trick my high school teacher had used on us a couple of times – assign a word or a quote – and we would have to write about that item. Sounds simple, right? It’s just a word – maybe use it throughout the article, a nice little love scene or maybe a chase scene through the streets of a European village. Oh – did I mention one little catch? The word has to be random – you don’t get to choose the darn thing! That can put a whole new wrinkle into the whole situation. (Okay, now I’m wrinkled, oozing, sweating and a little dehydrated in my sweat lodge – I really need a different image to keep popping into my head!)
So – in my quest to ‘break’ my writer’s block – I decided that I would go to dictionary.com and use the Word of the Day as my muse, my impetus, my cattle prod. As I typed in the address and waited the few seconds for the page to load, I kept thinking, “Please don’t be bumbershoot, cantankerous or blastoma. Please be a nice word, a kind word, an easy word to spell.” Then, the word popped up on the screen – Zeal.
Who the heck uses the word ‘zeal’ any more? I felt lucky that I at least knew what the word meant – but really – zeal? I was beginning to think that ‘bumbershoot’ was a much better word, at least it is fun to say – but ‘zeal’? As I’m sitting there in a panic, I see myself in that darn sweat lodge, my creative juices lying in a puddle beneath my feet wishing I could feel the ‘zeal’ of this stupid exercise!
Next step – look up the synonyms for ‘zeal’ – and hope it got better – but that only made it worse – alacrity, ardor, bustle, determination, devotion, diligence, dispatch, drive, eagerness, earnestness, enterprise, fanaticism, fervor, fierceness, fire, gusto, hustle, inclination, initiative, intensity, intentness, keenness, mania, passion, perseverance, push, readiness, sincerity, spirit, stick-to-itiveness, urgency, vehemence, verve, warmth, what-it-takes, yen, zest (with a little note about ‘zest’ – besides being a bar of soap – it isn’t quite the same as ‘zeal’ – zeal pertains to a keen interest while zest is keen enjoyment or added interest- What??? So – He had a zest for living but only a zeal for breathing – or would it be the other way around?)
By now, my sweat lodge is stinking from all of the sweat and anguish over this silly word – so suffice it to say, I think I’ve learned my lesson about using the Word of the Day. I’ve realized that I have ardor for my husband, devotion to my children, gusto for life, an inclination to wordiness, an intensity of desire and the spirit to excel – this is only matched by my determination, diligence, drive and eagerness – and don’t get me started on my alacrity!