Tub 'o words

Voice Card  -  Volume 20  -  Stuart Card Number 5  -  Tue, May 14, 1991 4:09 PM

This is a response to VC 19 Drury 10 ("OK")...

Thanks for the compliment (I think that's what it was) on my vocabulary. I wish I knew words like "imprimatur" when I was growing up; perhaps I would've done better on my SAT's that I did.

One answer to your question is "yes, it is the language of writers." Why, I was in the cafe de writer the other day, and Hemingway came in. He said to the bar tender, "Hey, bud, let me put my imprimatur on your best bottle of whisky." Then the poet Wallace Stevens came in and they got into a fight (they really did fight once) over the word rococo."

A less flippant answer is "I don't know." All language is the province of writers, or should be. You read, you listen, you write, you engage in the joy/toy that language is - its textures, its rhythms, its feel. You write. Words like Ionesco and imprimatur begin to slip in. The next thing you know you're using words like "baclava" and "turgid" to your auto mechanic, "aeciostage" to the water meter reader, and you make a play-on-words regarding The Song of Roland in a voice card regarding something or other. You begin to like to use the word "cartoony" again, and words like "vilatic" and "rowel" pop up when you're talking to fresh(wo)men in your class and when you're petting your cat. You spend a couple of years writing voice cards and you get better and better at a certain type of prose (expository, if you must know) and find wisdom in yourself that you never thought you had, wisdom that comes out in the process of writing the cards.

I dunno, Drury. You read. You listen. You write. Heck, ask John. He had higher SAT scores than I did.