Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Where To Look When It's Not On The Tip Of Your Tongue

I am a writer.  Despite the fact that there is a mental voice that immediately compares me (unfavorably) to a whole host of other far more superior authors whose voices I greatly admire and realize I whisper only in their shadow, I still know - I am a writer.  I am also a homeschooling Mom, and so writing has always been my absolute favorite subject to teach my children.  The confidence I hear in my sons as they discuss their love of reading and writing (now all in the middle of or past their college years) always thrills me with the knowledge that I am an inseparable part of what they now own.

This is a battle today more than ever before.  In this day and age, the gift of language and knowing how to handle it well is not held in honor among the masses.  Not only are vocabularies as undeveloped as third world countries, but words are routinely truncated with wanton disregard, hacked and amputated into unrecognizeable blurbs.  The inheritance is seen as no more than a cheap hand-me-down.

Not at my table.

At present, I am in those years of coaxing self-assurance and abilities in my daughters along the roads of communication - in word both spoken and written.  Ah, how they'd laugh to hear me describe what I do as the gentle verb "coaxing."  I do possess a relentless dedication in this, I must own. That I might teach them so that a day will come when they can ably make themselves known to others with clarity - this is my Quest.  Actually, writing is one area where the tears of frustration that may come are not by my instigation.  I really desire for them to love it as I do; and so although I might inwardly cringe at what I have to work with as we begin, my patience is supplied in triplicate.  Only by this might I be able to lead them into the daring steps necessary to develop familiarity, boldness, and assurance with a pen.  My hope is that they will come to describe, depict, and distinguish with literary confidence.

When I began writing in earnest, my father directed me to a thesaurus - my new best friend.  I couldn't believe what a treasure trove was suddenly at my fingertips.  An avid reader since the summer I turned nine when I cracked open Gone With The Wind in my grandmother's basement - this book began forging deep connections between words familiar in my mental safebox and my new attempts to organize creative expression of my own.  Once I began teaching my children to write and they then entered the realm of self-driven drafts, introductions were made to my old friend the thesaurus.

However, a few years ago, one of my sons brought home a new guest, a companion whom we have come to love just as dearly.  The Synonym Finder does the job of a thesaurus, only one step better.  In addition to illuming the vast myriad of choice there is to substitute for the worn-out dishrag of a word like "cool", it holds and reveals truisms and sayings that see too little of the light of day anymore. Figures of speech, turns of phrase, axioms and platitudes all born of man's desire to coin an expression that would stand the test of time are introduced here and saved from being lost forever.

We still use my old and well-loved thesaurus - literally, the very one my father handed to me - although it is now in two parts. But I give The Synonym Finder my highest recommendation as a tool for helping your kids (and you) to navigate the challenge of capturing reflection in word.  It will not only provide a wonderful welcome to concepts and utterances from our shared past, but will readily provide just the expression you are searching for in composing your very own thoughts.

Linked at Far Above Rubies, We Are That Family, Simple Lives, and Petals to Picots

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