I can’t help myself. As an author, words are important to me. My goal is to write with clarity, but sometimes I have to consult Thesaurus.com, tasting the flavor of all possible words to pick the precise one I need. That’s when ‘It Happens’; when I’m stuck in word-selection-mode, I get a little geeky.
The OCD-editor-in-my-brain cackles madly. “Showtime!” She hovers behind me as I pull up the online thesaurus. “Mission parameters?”
“Well, the last few days I’ve experienced a barrage of mind-boggling extremes. I’ve been in a rare emotional state, laughing and crying at the same time. I know I’m not crazy but I legitimately feel both joy and sadness, a poignancy that is nevertheless funny as hell for some reason. I want a word that represents the intensity of both ends of the emotional scale.”
“Paradox is out; that’s a logical descriptor, inadequate to represent an emotional state. Cognitive dissonance is psychologically similar, but it’s a medical phrase and being overused by mainstream media. Dacrygelosis is alternating between laughing and crying, not simultaneous, and it is too scientifically obscure for the modern reader.” Miz OCD suggests I click through numerous entries, insisting I check the official dictionary definitions. After analyzing them all, she simmers quietly. “None of these words convey the emotional intensity you require.”
“I know. I’m going to have to create a word.”
Lady O emits a scream that pierces my solemn contemplation. “There are 615,000 entries in the Oxford English Dictionary! It’s bad enough to have to actively search online for the definitions of modern slang, given pop culture, new science, and business acronyms! Remember when Tracy questioned why, how, and whether you needed to create the word ‘croggled’?” She laughs maniacally.
I bounce up and down. “That’s it, right there! That emotional state you are in right now is the one I want to portray! You are laughing at me yet crying in despair, stuck between being eager to help me yet frustrated in not finding the right word.” I know if I give her a task, the Dame of Compulsion will quit freaking and start working. “Don’t you want to make a mark in the world of literature? What can we call that emotional state?”
I love how Miz O engages her faculties with immediate, fierce concentration. “Combinations of spliced ‘happy’ and ‘sad’ words sound ridiculous. ‘Craughing’ is ugly, ‘lying’ is taken, ‘smouting’ sounds stupid, ‘piling’ sounds disgusting. Describe the most recent situation in which you found yourself laughing and crying at the same time. Perhaps the ambiance of the moment will provide some inspiration.”
“Basically, people pay $3 for an overhyped cup of coffee at Javaschmucks that will chemically stimulate them for half an hour, but don’t care to spend the same amount for an e-book that will give them hours of pleasure. Some people even pay $5 to $40 to register at a website for pirated copies of books that indie authors spend thousands of dollars to get edited, giving the money to criminal site owners who do ten minutes of work and rake in the money. Compare that to the writer who has spent thirty years perfecting her craft, dredging up every glorious or horrifying scene in her own life to capture the essence of meaningful life-lessons for readers.
“I laugh because I used to be like that, only willing to buy a book if it was on sale. I now feel just as sad about pawn shops and auctions, where everyone is determined to get the ‘deal’ despite the desperation of the original owner. I cry because I hate the economic disparity of earning so little for all my hard, thoughtful work.”
“You laugh at being ignored and financially shafted?” The Lady ponders deeply.
“I feel great joy when I receive another five-star review or a personal email to thank me, knowing my book has enriched my readers with the scope of my imagination and vision of the future. So I laugh at all the penny-pinchers out there who do not recognize the true value of hours, days, or a lifetime of inspiration. Sure, I pinch pennies, too, but only to pay Tracy for her professional opinion on how to improve my work. So I cry when I calculate how many e-books I must sell at $2.99 to get my other six books edited.”
Miz O smiles. “I have two words. ‘Lacrimania’ is the created word, but I believe a regular word will suffice.”
“Oh? What is it?”
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Eva Caye holds distinctive opinions on writing and authorship and has published four of her eight completed novels in the To Be Sinclair series. Visit her blog The Spiraling Mind for more articles on love, literature, and the travails of indie authors. You can find Eva Caye at:
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