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18 October 2021


At 10:35 this crisp morning, as the sun marked a southerly and oblique path toward winter, he transformed Sandia into a textural plaything:

Tufted cotton clouds

Moss-down evergreens

Crumpled burlap scrub

And rose cheeks wrinkled in deep, shadowy creases –

Evidence of untold emotions spanning her lifetime

The textures called to my fingers, and I longed to touch her: fluffy, soft, scratchy, stony – all off her. That longing, ever unfulfilled, is bittersweet, and thus rendered divine.

Oh, sensible Sandia.

I love this word, sensible. Most think it means only to be “of sound judgment,” but as anyone who’s read Austen’s Sense and Sensibility would know, this is not the case. Words, words, words – words are my favorite thing. Sandia is sensible in more ways than one – oh yes, she is.

Speaking of words, it’s time I got something off my chest: more than one person has indicated to me that my writing is challenging to read. I’m not sure what causes this for others, but I suspect it could be the depth and complexity of my vocabulary. If this is the case, please rest assured, that this is my vocabulary – and it is my vocabulary in its natural state.

There is nothing pompous or presumptuous or arrogant about my word choices; these words abide in me, and I love them as family. For every English word, my brain tumbles along with it at least four English synonyms – and then also the German, French, and Spanish translations. They rumble and turn together in there like tennis shoes in a dryer: crashing and clamoring, each vying for its turn to be used.

Language fails. Language fails daily at representing the universe around us. It lacks the nuance, the detail, the color. A million and another million words would continue to fail this universe.

Therefore, it is our duty to use the greatest variety of words in the most skilled and deliberate ways to minimize misrepresentation of our universe! And as a bonus, if we choose the best words for self-expression, we can likewise minimize interpersonal misunderstanding.

So, no. No, I won’t dilute my writing for any reader. Remember that I’m an English teacher, above all. If you encounter a word of mine that is new to you, instead of setting my writing aside or misjudging my intent, please consider looking it up in the dictionary. Use that word three times in your own day – and take ownership of the word for yourself (this method actually works)! Don’t be lazy.

My vocabulary is not about expected kudos or bragging rights; it is how my brain functions. And for that, I will never apologize, and I will not change to suit others’ comfort levels. This is me, and perhaps I’m not for everyone. I’m OK with that.

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