It is said that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. What’s beautiful to you? Is it flowers blooming in spring? Perhaps an overflowing vegetable garden ready for harvest? A baby’s first smile, full belly laugh, or “mama”?
I love beautiful things. This is obvious if you were to look at my bucket list. Before I die I want to learn how to play the guitar, to draw and paint, and obviously to publish poetry and stories/novels that move people and outlive me. I like to embroider, make jewelry, and put together jigsaw puzzles…the more colorful the better. I like to sing along to the radio; although it may not always be considered a beautiful thing to listen to it makes me happy. I also like to dance, but mostly when no one is looking. I’d love to learn to salsa. I got a taste of that when a friend married a Cuban man and his family took to the reception dance floor. So much joy, you couldn’t help but move your feet. Even my husband, who doesn’t like to dance, joined in.
But most of all I find beauty in a well-turned phrase, the perfect word. It’s why I read so much. And it’s why I write. According to the Global Language Monitor, there is estimated to be 1,035,877.3 words in the English language as of January 1, 2016. A new word is created every 98 minutes, or about 14.7 a day. Amazing!
You can see it in the many ways there are to express love. My Roget’s Thesaurus has twenty-three subheadings under love (noun): affection, self-love, Cupid or Amor (God of Love), courtship, beloved, love affair, ladylove, flirt, love potion, love (verb), cherish, make love, flirt, enamor, in love, loving, lovesick, affectionate, endearing, loved, lovable, amatorial, and flirtatious. And there are numerous suggestions under each subheading. In the Emotion Thesaurus there are pages dedicated to ways to describe love, the way we act when we are in love. It’s the same when you look up any emotion, be it sadness, anger, loneliness, or happiness.
So why is it we rely so heavily on the same vulgar four-letter words when expressing a strong emotion? I know I’m as guilty as anyone else. I’ve been working hard at removing a certain expletive from my golf game but so far with limited success. Perhaps I should use one of my thesauruses to find alternatives and start throwing them into the mix. Even if all it gets me is giggles from my fellow golfers it’s better than the shocked stares I sometimes get now.
The English language is so vast, so varied, that there’s really no excuse not to be exact in our meaning. A good novel should read like poetry; it should transport us to that very place where we can see, hear, smell, feel, even taste what we’re reading. That’s my goal, to create scenes that grab my reader, makes him or her go back and read it again, maybe have to stop and absorb the words before reading further.
Tell me, what do you find beautiful?