Steam Words to Taste

One way to put words in hot water: construct a hot tub time machine that goes back into time and adds an edge to all of our posts (copyright MGM).

One way to put words in hot water: construct a hot tub time machine that goes back into time and adds an edge to all of our posts (copyright MGM).

In moments of uncertainty, I remind myself that cold water can make warm water feel hot. The inverse is also true, walk out of a steam room in Bangkok and there is a good chance of a chill. Ah, like life, water is a wonderful metaphor for writing.

I accept that, today, my choice of words comes from a spring that runs lukewarm.  I’m still learning, and it’s safer that way.

Like in anything, in writing there’s always a path of least resistance. For me, that path is probably represented by a risk adverse expression of an idea or the choice of a relatively safe word. I’m not talking about using a thesaurus for every avowal here. I’m just saying, there is something to be gained from using an expression or word that pushes the limit – even if to some, that word or expression fails.  Why?  Because the right word can make even the most tepid feel hot or cold.

If you mind an analogy, the Bunny Hill: freshly groomed snow at a slight decline. Easy to maneuver, pleasant in the sun. Yet, no real opportunity to pick up speed, you know, to really ski. And by ski, I mean fall. Isn’t that how we learn and make people pay attention? Why not fight inertia and duck under the sign for the Double Diamond?  Yes, danger lurks below.  But we are talking about an analogy here, so why not just point the tips downhill and get on with it?

Truth is, I really don’t know my writing limit yet (though I am fairly certain the skiing analogy was beyond it).  To understand what that limit is, I need to exceed it. I gave my novel to a group of Beta Readers, and that is probably a good start.  At the same time, I know I need to push further. The bottom line is I never want to be the dude on a Bunny Hill who thinks he’s rockin’ a Double Diamond. I’d rather tumble down the face of a mountain and pick up a few bumps and bruises (errr, aaa, knowledge) along the way. First thing is to get to the top of that mountain, and to do so I just may need to find myself in hot water first (see what I did there?).

Categories: Creative Writing, Fiction, Writer, Writing

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

16 replies

  1. Thk u for the thoughtful feedback!!

  2. Really like your diction (and that you write for paper). “Because the right word can make even the most tepid feel hot or cold.” AbsolUtely!! Thanks for the like on my strwb poem. That wasn’t one of my best works – and I dreamt the night I posted it that I planned to blip it first thing in the morning – before bloggers got to it LOL. Wishing you continued success. You’ll do great!

    • Thank you! Nothing better than bloggers getting to your posts eh?! Well I guess reading your own words in quotes is much better! I can’t thank you enough – made my day! I really admire folks who write poetry – I’m reading it daily now in the hopes of writing more of it – so thank you for the inspiration! Look forward to reading more of it.

      • Thanks for the follow. I didn’t get word, though you appear in my Stats list. Does this happen to you? It does for me on a good number of follows. I hope you got to my latest post on the YEATS poem. Props to you for reading poetry as you are. It’ll only enhance your talent.

      • LOL – I just reread your comment here about seeing your own words in quotes. Whenever you get around to it, I’d appreciate your taking a look at these. I think you’ll find nuggets about writing in the first. It’s not about my “success.” Your stats are more impressive than mine. The second is just for laughs.

        • I’m humbled that you would think that about my blog. Anyhow, ok, I read your links. Wow, your first post is really beautiful – candid, well written, and incredibly on point. There are certainly a few nuggets – I love anytime a writer finds a way to make words live: “conceiving something that breaths,” or how a post is a “patchwork of the hands that run over and over the words in love.” I also appreciate that you are honest about sloppy writing. I have to admit that I have a few posts that probably could have used another round of revision, but for the most part I spend considerable time on each and every post – conscious of my reader’s time and grateful for their eyes. As a reader of posts, I have grown to expect the same.

          Back to work, saving your other post for a break tomorrow!

  3. I prefer the hot tub to the montain – what’s that going to say for the chances of making it as a writer?
    I’ve a horrible suspicion it sounds too lazy!

  4. Just watched this keynote speech by Amanda Palmer (Neil Gaiman’s wife!) on writing and sharing art and, while it mostly addresses digital formats, I still thought it was inspiring and great speech writing in and of itself. (Extended metaphors anyone?) Warning, it is a half hour long…so maybe on a plane ride?

  5. Love your post. I enjoy getting into people’s minds a little and your analogies were very fun. You are right. Most of my writing is done to be an enjoyable read. I refuse to read a book where I need a dictionary beside me to look up every other word. I’ve had those and close it after a page or two. I want to enjoy the ride, but have the experiences and the drama take you down the diamond run! However, there are times that finding that certain spicy word will kick it up a notch…just don’t make me guess at what it means. lol
    Having started my own publishing house last year, I have read some things that would make your brain swim. I would be happy to read your manuscript and send you my thoughts. I know you just made my acquaintance, but I would be happy to help you out! 😀

    • Wow, thank you for your very kind comment! I have noticed lately that my free writing has taking me to different places – not necessarily anything deep and ark or anything, just a little edgy if you know what I mean. I tend to write openly about my life, but I know underneath there is a certainly level of security over my choice of words and topics. It’s probably my internal editor’s boss that keeps me a grip on my wild side. And it is probably a good thing – for the most part – to have this control, but I do believe there will be a time and place where I need to lose it (send this security hefe on vacation)! Now, on to your willingness to read my manuscript! So kind of you – the more feedback the better, I’ll shoot you an e-mail. Thanks again for supporting my blog here, your comments and kindness are both very much appreciated!

  6. Getting to the top of the mountain, and learning from the bumps and bruises, are my sentiments also. Well written – well thought. Blessings on your day.


  1. The Writing Process: the Final Word, Finale | A Holistic Journey

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