Famous (or infamous) comedian George Carlin had a spiel on the uses of language society employs to distance ourselves from unpalatable truths or concepts. One example I enjoy using is the phrase "involuntary dismount." It restates and softens the painful truth of being bucked off.
Sometimes, the beast gives advanced signals and the rider can anticipate what's coming. Other times, the buck comes as a surprise. Neither one portends good fortune. In the first scenario of anticipation, the rider--consciously or not--braces for the upheaval which can put him or her at a disadvantage when the bucking starts. In the second, the rider may not have the skill to react and counteract in time to avoid eating dirt.
While many reasons exist for softening language, writers often employ five words when one will do to pad their word counts or because they don't know the one correct words that means exactly what they want to say. Or they coin new words because the correct, existing word escapes their sum of knowledge--and they don't think to consult a thesaurus or dictionary.
This results from a general "dumbing down" of education and expectations which further results in an expectation that effective writing means writing for the lowest common denominator of adult reader. Where once publishers encouraged romance writers to write for an eighth grade education level, they now urge writers to write for a 6th grade education level. Somehow the idea of stretching one's vocabulary--easing a reader out of his or her comfort zone with the occasional, uncommon word such that the reader may be spurred to consult a dictionary--has become anathema.
Balderdash. Poppycock. Nonsense.
We learn by venturing beyond our comfort zones. Reading, even for pleasure, offers an opportunity to learn something while being entertained. If that learning happens to be a new word or twelve, then so much the better.
The pitching and heaving of a beast trying its best to rid itself of its rider also describes many other aspects of one's life and career. Frankly, I've experienced many involuntary dismounts, both literal and figurative: efforts that led to disappointment or outright catastrophe.
We are doomed to suffer disappointments large and small. Authors, musicians, and artists especially must learn to cope with the concept, whether rejection comes in the form of negative reviews, low sales, lack of appreciation, whatever. Disappointment following disappointment discourages continued effort; however, I suggest that it should encourage continued improvement. Ask yourself the important questions of why and what. Discover the reasons for failure and learn from them. Then accept that your creative endeavor won't please everyone.
Hard boiled, scrambled, over easy, and sunny side up: eggs are the musings of Holly Bargo, the pseudonym for the author.
Looking for a place to swap blogs? Holly Bargo at Hen House Publishing is happy to reciprocate Blog Swaps in 2019. For more information:
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