The Prompter Room

For Saturday, January 16, 2016:


“A word is not the same with one writer as with another.  One tears it from his guts.  The other pulls it out of his overcoat pocket.”

Charles Peguy

Last night I finished the first round of line edits for the novel-in-progress (does that make it the second draft now?) and discovered, in the process, that I must have one heck of a big overcoat pocket.  There’s one word I used over and over and over, so often that I started to circle it every time it appeared so I can go back and find other options.

I’ve looked through the thesauruses but there are limited choices – which rather surprises me, actually.  I could take the easy way out and alternate among them, but not all are appropriate for the various circumstances in which the word is used.  Besides, I don’t want to dip into that pocket again.  It’s a simple and familiar concept that I want to convey, but I don’t want the word to be simple every time.

My hope is that I can follow the wisdom of Eugene Ionescu.  He writes that “The poet cannot invent new words every time, of course.  He uses the words of the tribe.  But the handling of the word, the accent, a new articulation, renew them.”

So now it’s on to the more complicated part of the process.  Along with some rewriting and reordering, I need to go into my gut and find a way to renew one little word.  Some of the time, at least.


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