This week’s word comes from the latest Flavia de Luce novel. To me, obsequious is a challenge. It is a reminder to NOT be the meaning of the word. It is a reminder to take chances, raise your voice, and do what is right for you. It is a reminder to do what you want, say what you need, and not let people walk all over you. The quote below is a wicked example of the word, one that embodies empowerment and the consequences of being an obsequious person.
“It’s obsequious little nicety-nice girls like me who allow assholes to run the world: Miss Harlot O’Harlots, billionaire phony tree huggers, hypocrite drug-snorting, weed-puffing peace activists who fund the mass-murdering drug cartels and perpetuate crushing poverty in dirt-poor banana republics. It’s my petty fear of personal rejection that allows so many true evils to exist. My cowardice enables atrocities.”
— Chuck Palahniuk (Damned (Damned #1))
This week’s word of the week comes from the ARC of the very latest Flavia de Luce Novel, As Chimney Sweepers Come to Dust. Given the character traits of her bookworm sister, Daffy, I tend to learn a few new words every time I read a de Luce novel.
I chose the word tableau even though I’m familiar with it simply because as I ran errands the other day, and got lost in my own head, the world around me stopped. People walking dogs, cars rolling through stop signs, birds in mid-flight. They all stopped, paused, perched in their current state as I sat in my car, thinking long and hard about life choices.
As I jumped out of my own head and looked at the stillness that surrounded me, I realized that each paused person had their own story, one that could be read from the way they walked, the look in their eyes, or the wrinkle on their brow. When I parked my car with one hand on the wheel, the other hand on my lap, my body hunched over my steering wheel slightly, the world begin moving once again and I stopped. My turn to be the tableau, to tell the world everything I felt through the stillness of my body, the frozen expression on my face. I wonder if anyone noticed.
“You are twenty. You are not dead, although you were dead. The girl who died. And was resurrected. Children. Witches. Magic. Symbols. Remember the illogic of the fantasy. The strange tableau in the closet behind the bathroom: the feast, the beast, and the jelly-bean. Recall, remember: please do not die again. Let there be continuity at least – a core of consistency – even if your philosophy must be always a moving dynamic dialectic. The thesis is the easy time, the happy time. The antithesis threatens annihilation. The synthesis is the consummate problem.”
— Sylvia Plath (The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath)
** Tableau photo from BCSS Drama website, I did not take the photo.**
Contrary to popular belief I was a very quiet child. I said more things in my head than I did out loud. I remember being afraid to talk, afraid that I would be made fun of or get interrupted. When I was twelve, I couldn’t take it anymore. My fear grew wings and I picked up a pen. My fear inspired me to start writing, to let it all out. I began writing poetry, short stories, and “screen plays” in my diary. I wrote about my days at school, about my parents, and about my siblings. I wrote because it felt good. Since then I’ve learned to share my writing, I’ve met many people who push me harder, who challenge me, and who inspire me. I’ve read books that trigger my imagination and get my creative juices flowing. I’ve had many set-backs and faced a bit of criticism but even that forced me to work harder.
I chose CATALYST as the word of this week because sometimes in order to feel motivated you need to look around and open your eyes. You need to listen to what people are saying and allow their words to translate into something that can push you to do more, to do something different, and to try. Sometimes you just need to listen to yourself. You need to open up your heart and let it whisper your deepest dreams and desires.
Be your own catalyst. Make it happen.
“They are the ones who bring meaning to our lives, who happen to inspire, who spark a fire that we carry with us for the rest of our days, who are but pillars of hope and sometimes sacrifice, life-changers, life-savers, catalysts.”
― Chirag Tulsiani
It’s been a cold one this week, I can’t tell you how many days I spent in doors, typing away on my laptop or writing in my journal with a warm blanket on my lap and a cup of hot chocolate by my side. Winters were made for hibernating and I can’t help but love it. The day has finally come when it’s acceptable to stay inside, no questions asked. I know that there are tonnes of winter sports and activities to take part in, but even in warm weather sports are not my scene. The first (and only) time I went skiing I ended up in the middle of the mountain, flat on my buns. One of my skis was nowhere to be found, my ski poles were scattered on the mountain. The first time I went snowboarding I couldn’t hack it and spent the day in the chalet listening to some guy tell me what a loser my boyfriend at the time was. So, to winter sports I say no. I’m sure I’ll find myself headed to the city to bask in the beautiful Christmas lights and tree, or out at a friend’s house, but that’s pretty much it.
You live like this, sheltered, in a delicate world, and you believe you are living. Then you read a book (Lady Chatterley, for instance), or you take a trip, or you talk with Richard, and you discover that you are not living, that you are hibernating. The symptoms of hibernating are easily detectable: first, restlessness. The second symptom (when hibernating becomes dangerous and might degenerate into death): absence of pleasure. That is all. It appears like an innocuous illness. Monotony, boredom, death. — Anaïs Nin
It’s one thing to hibernate for the winter, it’s another to hibernate from your life. Once again I’ve got some decisions to make; answers to questions I’ve been successfully avoiding since August. What am I good at? What do I want for my future? What am I willing to do to get it?
Send hot chocolate, positives vibes, and help*
I’m sure you’ve heard of serendipity, either thanks to the 2001 film starring the gorgeous Kate Beckinsale and handsome John Cusack or the restaurant/cafe in New York City, but what does the word really mean? I love the word serendipity, the way it sounds in my head, the feel of it rolling off my tongue. Say it out loud, it feels good. It makes me feel giddy and hopeful, it also makes me think about love. How did you meet the one you’re with? Thinking back on it, it just seems like a series of happy accidents. I met my boyfriend at the age of nineteen. We met at a club in Toronto about a week after I decided to stop looking for a boyfriend and just “live my life”. He knew my cousin and wasn’t even going to show up at the club that night, but then he did.
Think about the way you got your job or how you met your best friend. I bet is was all just a happy accident, a coincidence. I bet you took a risk on life, decided to stop focusing on one thing and suddenly the thing you stopped focusing on fell into your lap, and it was much better than expected. Or maybe just when you decided to let go of someone, something else amazing walked into your life. It gave you hope and allowed you to feel an unabashed kind of happiness where your mouth won’t stop smiling and your heart doesn’t just beat, it jumps with enthusiasm.
“Vital lives are about action. You can’t feel warmth unless you create it, can’t feel delight until you play,can’t know serendipity unless you risk.”
― Joan Erickson
*word recommended by cousin Amanda*
This week I have been searching for a word that explains the person I want to be, a trait that I want to embody. I’ve looked up adventurous and the various synonyms that surround it, but it isn’t quite that. I want to be bold in the face of danger (or uncomfortable situations), I want to feel confident in what I have to offer the world (inside and out), and I want to take chances and create experiences. I want people to look at me and think her life may not be perfect, she might be getting rejection slips left-right-and-centre, but at least she’s trying. At least she’s taking a chance on her writing, on herself.
Somehow or another I found the word Intrepid and I knew it was the word I had been searching for. If you Google the word, you’ll find other definitions, similar in thought but slightly different wording. I hope that no matter what comes my way I can be
aggressive be be aggressive intrepid, like my favourite superhero…
My cousin is studying to become a dental hygienist and during my last cleaning session she pointed out that I’m a little tongue-tied. I thought she meant that I couldn’t talk while she had her hands in my mouth, but she clarified saying that I have slight Ankyloglossia.
It might take me a little while to feel comfortable talking in a crowd, but once you get me started it’s clear that I don’t have trouble moving my mouth or making sounds. Although the clinical term is cool to know, the metaphor is so much better. When we talk about being tongue-tied it’s mostly from shyness or embarrassment, from not being able to get our thoughts out of our mouths to form coherent sentences. I used to get like that when answering questions in class or talking to a boy. Once I called a guy I had a crush on to ask him out on a date and instead I asked him for help with homework (even though I was smarter than him).
I’ve gotten tongue-tied during job interviews, on the phone and in person. I’ve gotten tongue-tied during confrontations, losing my backbone at the slightest hint of defeat. I’ve lost my voice in front of complete strangers, while ordering at restaurants, while crossing the border, and even while talking to people about my writing. Becoming tongue-tied has gotten the best of be during book events (most recently when talking to Lena Dunham) — WHAT DO YOU EVEN SAY TO LENA DUNHAM?
BUT I like to think that I’m working on it, one mouthful of babble at a time.
“What happens to me when I’m provoked is that I get tongue-tied and my mind goes blank. Then I spend all night tossing and turning trying to figure out what I should have said.”
― Nora Ephron
I bet you a quarter that you’ve called someone a hypocrite at least once in your life. Maybe you’ve even used that word when all the person did was change their mind about something that doesn’t affect you at all. I’ve battled with this word a lot, especially when it comes to blogging or submitting articles. When your words are published on the Internet they are there forever. Anyone can look up my posts from four years ago and compare them to the person I am now. Maybe they’ll think I’m a hypocrite when they see how much I’ve changed.
My latest struggle has been with THE END. I’ve had some readers congratulate me on the new things to come, I’ve had some admit that they’re saddened by my seemingly rash decision to part ways, but I’ve also received some great advice.
“Change the site around so that it shows off your writing and your portfolio. Don’t get rid of the blog or stop posting. Continue with all of it, but don’t use it as an excuse when you’re struggling with your other writing.” Am I a hypocrite if I continue blogging in 2015 — even if the posts are less frequent? Or is having a change of heart okay?
“We are all hypocrites. We cannot see ourselves or judge ourselves the way we see and judge others.”
― José Emilio Pacheco, Battles in the Desert & Other Stories
Ever wake up in the morning and feel like you could rule the world? Or maybe put on an outfit that makes you feel beautiful and sexy? Ever send a flirty text to your crush and have him reciprocate those feelings? Ever look at a photo of Marilyn Monroe and think I wish I had the confidence to feel as sexy as she looks? To me the word coquettish embodies all of that; confidence, elegance, sex, and playfulness. It’s a fun word that brings to mind all kinds of troubled vixens that I’ve read about in books or ones I’d like to write about in my own stories.
There are people out there who have the ability and charm to suck you in. To make your knees weak with envy or admiration or jealousy. They are the interesting, the mysterious, the femme fatales that take over your capacity to think straight. There are other people who are just plain different, who have a quirk or quality that is hard to imitate. A quality that makes them loveable. There are all kinds of alluring people and places out there, you just have to pay attention and appreciate them all.