Wednesday, August 23, 2006


Yesterday a friend sent me one of his essays to read. This is always a treat because this friend has quite an incredible vocabulary and I always end up learning something. Yesterday's reading generated the following list of words for me to look up in the dictionary - some because I had never encountered them before and some which were more familiar but wanted to define for certain:

to adumbrate - to outline faintly, to foreshadow, to overshadow.
modernity - modern usage etc
Modernity - Early 20th cent movement in the Arts characterised by unconventional subject matter, experimental techinques etc.
causality - the relationship between cause and effect.
contingency - a chance happening, a possible future event, dependence on the fulfillment of a condition (thanks Aydin).
demotic - relating to the people, popular.
intonation - the rise and fall in the pitch of the voice.
sfumato - a misty indistinct effect achieved by gradually blending together different colours or tone
heuristic - serving or leading to finding out.

The word I like the best out of the selection above is sfumato and I think I may end up using quite a lot myself.

By coincidence I received news from John Klima this morning that my long short story (around 8 000 words, which I mentioned in an earlier post) has been accepted for LOGORRHEA: GOOD WORDS MAKE GOOD STORIES. It is going to be published by Bantam books around May next year to coincide with the National Spelling Bee in the US. I have to admit I am quite delighted about this...


Blogger Anne S said...

I am extremely fond of words myself. I used to create cryptic crosswords for fun and loved using obscure words.

"sfumato" is a gorgeous word. I'm trying to think of a cryptic clue for it.

Here's one:
"Awfully fat mouse lacks direction in smoky atmosphere."

Wed Aug 23, 01:16:00 pm  
Blogger Lee said...

I'm very pleased about the short story and am so looking forward to reading it.

Wed Aug 23, 02:32:00 pm  
Anonymous clare said...

Anne: Aha - so crosswords are cryptic in Oz too! Debra Hamel me it is not the case in the US. It's Hodmandod Senior who's the addict in this house.
I'm trying to work this out - ah I see, very clever - most of 'mouse' is rearranged, and you are left with 'fat' and the lack direction is about the rearrangement, and the smoky gives a clue to the meaning and a hint at the word fumato this right?

Thanks a lot, Lee!

Wed Aug 23, 07:24:00 pm  
Blogger Anne S said...

Clare: fat mouse without the "e" is an anagram of sfumato. The "awfully" is an indication that the following words are disarranged. Lacks direction indicates that one of the poles, in this case "e" needs to be removed. The rest is a definition of the word sfumato.

Thu Aug 24, 03:23:00 am  
Blogger AYDIN ÖRSTAN said...

Contingency also means "dependence on the fulfillment of a condition". It is commonly used during real estate transactions on this side of the Atlantic. "This contract is contingent upon the approval of my loan application".

Thu Aug 24, 08:16:00 pm  
Anonymous clare said...

Anne S: Ah I see now - thank you. It is all quite beautifully logical really, isn't it?

Aörstan: Aha, I'll edit it now. Thank you.

Fri Aug 25, 06:32:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Famous model, lost
In mist: man in old town, live
Bug discovering.

Two cryptic clues- in a haiku- with two kigo. Now that's good value.

Fri Aug 25, 07:18:00 pm  
Anonymous clare said...

Anon: Kigo? I'm sure that's very good value. Time for another dive into Wikipedia. I may be some time.

Sat Aug 26, 11:45:00 pm  
Blogger chiefbiscuit said...

CONGRATULATIONS! on the short story success. Well done indeed - I bet you're just so thrilled. :)

Mon Aug 28, 12:44:00 pm  

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