One book leads to another...

Friday, January 30, 2015

Lyrically Speaking

 "I am returning this otherwise good typing paper to you because someone has printed gibberish all over it and put your name at the top.”  ~ English Professor at Ohio University, name unknown

Pretty harsh, huh?  Don’t you just cringe every time you see a crazy new word invented by those who would rather make something up than use perfectly good language already in existence? To be fair, the word “Twitter” has been around for ages; it’s just that birds aren’t the only ones who do it anymore. As for “Twerking”, I’m sure there’s good reason a word for that had heretofore never been thought of…

In fact there’s more than a few interesting old words we could be having fun with. For instance, who owns a pair of Winklepickers?  Do you Bibble or Xertz your food or drink? Have you ever had Agastopia?

Agastopia – Admiration of a particular part of someone’s body
Bibble – To drink often or eat/drink noisily
Winklepickers – Popular in the 50’s; a sharply pointed shoe or boot
Xertz – To gulp down quickly, greedily

But honestly, if you want your words to flow, writing is serious business.  And more important than being read is being easily read; when the whispers of your heart sprinkle the page with vivid images of the world you want the reader to find irresistible. 

Easier said than done sometimes, right? One surefire solution to barriers in a river of words is music – not just a soothing melody, but the lyrics (Okay, not all lyrics). Words set to music have a flow all their own. 

“But the Oaks can’t help their feelings, if they like the way they’re made. And they wonder why the Maples can’t be happy in their shade.”  ~ Rush – The Trees

To be fair I must also offer two words of caution when writing lyrically: Purple Prose

As a reader I can be helplessly charmed by the pulse of flowing prose –until or unless I feel ensnared. After all, even the loveliest perfume can be overwhelming if too liberally applied. As a writer my prose is my language and I sure don’t want to be misunderstood. 

How about you? Have song lyrics ever inspired a feverish bout of creativity? What do you do to liven up—or tone down—your prose? Imagine your best work being made into a movie, what would your soundtrack be?

“It seems to me that those songs that have been any good, I have nothing much to do with the writing of them. The words have just crawled down my sleeve and came out on the page.” ~ Joan Baez

Until again folks, don't leave your cake out in the rain...


  1. I love to add lyrical lines to my writing, but you're right that you have to do it sparingly. Too much of a good thing becomes a bad thing.

  2. I agree with Chrys. Lyrical writing is good but too much of it and readers will be rolling their eyes. And LOL @ twerking. It's actually an old phrase made popular by a certain former Disney star...


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