On writing #2: S is for Solent

An adjective, (I know, it’s turning into a bit of a thing), “solent” is descriptive of the state of serene self-knowledge reached through drink. We are back with Douglas Adams and John Lloyd, and only because the Deeper Meaning of Liff has to go back to its owner this week. (Now there’s a blog – “OH? You wanted that BACK?”) And because there has been a second entry for the competition. Yay.

Anyway. I love “solent”. It is the moment in which the burrs of what one’s done with one’s life-so-far turns into sought-after dalrymples (dalrymple, n., the things you pay extra for on pieces of hand-made craftwork – the rough edges, the paint smudges and the holes in the glazing), with meaning, and so on. This is very useful when the expected results of the necessary changes one had to make to ensure one’s long-term happiness are very slow in materialising.

In a sentence: “Macy secretly regretted and often denied the many revelations she shared with Pooky in what she would call, many years later in an award-winning memoir, her Solent Period.”

In spite of the ridiculous amounts of fun that they can generate, adjectives have been maligned a lot. Very much like cocaine, come to think of it. LC once said to me that if you need an adjective, you are not using the right noun. Ben Yagoda is even more damning. His book on The Parts of Speech, for Better and/or Worse, is called, When You Catch an Adjective, Kill It. If I was an adjective I’d be drinking a lot.

Moving on (or back, if you like) to the competition. I am determined to announce a winner at the end of May, so the closing date for entries will be, eh, 30 May. So there is still lots of time to work with:

  • swanibost – “completely shagged out after a hard day of having income tax explained to you”
  • duntish – “mentally incapacitated as a result of a severe hangover”
  • climpy – “allowing yourself to be persuaded to do something and pretending to be reluctant”

I told Susan about the competition (oh must send her an e-mail) and although she co-wrote The (“thee”) Book on how to write a great research report (with the fabulous Barbara English, called Putting it into words) her first reaction was… “oh, that’s difficult.” When true wordsmiths consider it a challenge…

But do not be afraid.

As inspiration, here are the first two entries.

From Hardspear, we have…

“Owing to the overdose of paracetamol the stultifying duntish haze accompanied by the brutally debilitating headache my mind have been swathed in since I woke up this morning gradually starts dwindling at about four o’ clock, only to be substituted with a all pervasive swanibost fatigue as David, my accountant’s, deadly tedious voice drones on and on, my only respite being trying not to smile at the bashfully climpy responses I’m getting in reply to the capricious and lascivious sms’s I’ve clandestinely been sending my superbly charming wife for the past half an hour.”

“Owing” is in italics because he sent a note about starting a sentence with a preposition. Spear is clearly also an adjective addict: his effort has no fewer than TEN adjectives over and above the required ones for entry. Very impressive.  Seeing that “length” is one of the  judging criteria, he is certainly way ahead of Giuliana (see below). She may, however, pip him at the post in the “wit” division.

Giuliana sent “a politically incorrect sentence”…

“Given the current crop of politicians we can expect a few climpy individuals in the new Cabinet but there will also be others where the public could rightfully ask whether the President was duntish or swanibost at the time he made those appointments.”

Don’t forget to vote tomorrow, duntish or not.

So, be brave. If I get more than 20 entries I am going to ask some bottle store to sponsor a Really Expensive Bottle.

(And remember, Liff is beautiful.)

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