Dictionaries, the hard copy kind, the sort that anchor banging doors on breezy afternoons, are a resource for writing and inspirational text. Writers rely on them.
I first handled a large-scale dictionary when I was at the Millay Colony with my collaborators for a winter retreat. Every day I read a random page and let those new words filter in to my writing that day.
Thus, adytum entered my vocabulary.
Today, I turned to page 79 in the tome I brought home last week.
This act of sacred and random reading is often called Lectio Divina.
This practice suggests that you let go of your agenda (YIPES), read a page that calls to you, then let it filter in to your day, meditate on it, let it flutter around your prayers as you gather yourself for beginning.
Yes, even the dictionary can offer nutrition.
Maybe as you wake up you ask your self before the coffee, before the argument about salami or peanut butter, snow boots or windbreaker, you ask-
What page should I read today?
Then you turn to that page in any of the books near and dear to you.
Like my hunkamunka Webster’s Third New International.
It is 4 inches thick.
Page 79 yielded “anchor.”
In this way, I gather wisdom to guide my day. A dictionary is a reliable support for me as a writer, and as a human, to spread my understanding of language. I learn a better sense of meaning, true, succinct, and enlivened.
If you are aching to nurture a daily writing practice, please consider joining me for Powder Keg Online Writing Workshop. It is truly an anchorage (: a means of security, a ground of trust, a resting place for mind or feeling) as you navigate the expression of your own voice. Experienced and new writers are welcome.
Here is what one Powder Keg writer said:
Suzi is like nourishing food for the writing soul. She made me feel like I can build a writing practice and be creative, and showed clear, tangible examples of how to do this. I had figured that since I wasn’t coming up with creative ideas as I sat in front of the computer, that maybe writing fiction or creative nonfiction just wasn’t going to happen for me. But I learned that there are ways to build that creativity and that it’s an essential part of the process if you want to have a successful writing life.
Anatta, anchor, anchorage, anchorite, keep me company today. They surely provide another lens through which to make meaning in my day. I do believe it is a worthy effort to know the meanings of the words we use, to use them well, and to expand our vocabulary beyond, “Huge” “Amazing” and “Great.”
Have a happy Thursday, whatever you do today.
Here is a blog post by Katey Schultz-she’ll help you cut to the chase, get to the page!
Here is one by Janet Elsbach-sure to inspire your marmalade and your activism.