Wednesday, March 27, 2013

286/365: A Thesaurus is Not a Dinosaur

Today I assembled:

a list of synonyms...

I've been helping one of my young writing students understand the power of word choice in getting his message across.  Now he eagerly reaches for the thesaurus (despite it not being a cool prehistoric reptile like he once thought). While it may seem nearly as extinct as the dinosaurs, with all the accessible Internet sources these days, a thesaurus is still a handy tool for young writers who are building their repertoire of words.
"The difference between the almost right word and the right word is really a large matter—’tis the difference between the lightning-bug and the lightning."  ~Mark Twain
I know what you really mean, Mr. Twain, but I happen to be a a big fan of lighting bugs, so I appreciate this quote for different reasons. Sometimes we want a word to strike our readers deep down to their core. Other times we need the perfect word to inspire a sweet bit of child-like magic and mystery. Each version brings with it its own power.

It occurred to me that I've been using the phrase "Today I made..." just about every day since the start of my 365 project. Not only can it get boring, but after thinking about the alternatives, I realize there are so many more empowering verbs I could be applying, both in my writing and in my awareness of how special it is to be a maker. It's the difference between the almost right word and the right word. All our creations deserve to be clearly expressed.

So I pulled out my trusty thesaurus and made a list of synonyms for "make" that best describe what I do as a creator, both in my art and my day-to-day living.

to make:

accomplish, actualize, assemble, author, brew, bring into being, compose, conceive, concoct, create, design, devise, discover, dream up, express, fashion, form, generate, give life to, hatch, initiate, invent, manifest, originate, produce, realize, shape, synthesize...

Not surprisingly, my favorite words all have to do with making things tangible or creating something that didn't exist before my hands, heart and mind had their own way with it.

We are all makers, you see. The trick is to find just the right way to express ourselves.

No comments:

Post a Comment