Wednesday, August 12, 2009

What I've Been Up To

It has been a busy couple of months... but in the down time (on conference calls or as a break in between tasks) I've been organizing my massive collection of random word tickets to integrate into my upcoming JumpStart Jar projects.

Taking it from this:
Then sorting them into 4 basic piles:
  • Nouns
  • Verbs

  • Descriptors: Adjectives/Adverbs/Prepositional Phrases

  • "Provocative" Phrases
I do have some other piles that I'm sorting them into. The tickets for the "Flagrantly Foul" project which has all of the colorful swear words, graphic sexual content, drug references, etc. Basically all of those things that are too impolite to say around your boss or the kids. I don't know if the "Flagrantly Foul" jar will ever see the light of day or not, but I can't bear to throw any of them out right now. Another pile was for all of the name-brands, products and pop-culture references, which I've been told by a reputable attorney, would not be good to include as content for the jars. But again, being the pack-rat that I am, I cannot bear pitching them. I also had another pile, which I called the "Remainder" pile was where I collected all of the conjunctions (and, but, or); determiners (A, an, the); the singular prepositions (of, for, on, in): the exclaimations (hurrah!).

When you look at words in this way... the raw components of language, you see it a bit differently. As a writer working with language every day, it tends to blur into the background if you are not careful. The wonderful thing about word tickets, and undertaking a massive project like this, categorizing, sorting and thinking about each and every one of them... it forces you to really think about the language and how it works.

A lot of words easily fit into two of t
he three major categories: Nouns, Verbs and Descriptors (Adjectives/Adverbs). Our habit of gerund-ing nouns provides a lot of words that are both nouns and verbs. Some examples: hike (hiking); blog (blogging).

Then there are those that can cross into all three territories. Words like light, test and fine.

ght - The light emanating from the leg lamp was glorious (Noun).
He lights the candles in the hayloft, which will, of course, burn down the barn (Verb).
I went to Hoggy’s for a light snack (Adjective).

Test – I think I flunked the driving test when I swerved to hit a copperhead, sunning itself in
the road (N).
“Don’t test my patience,” I said to the cop that pulled me over.(V)
I’m a NASCAR test driver (Adj).

Fine - The judge fined me a small fortune, suspended my license, and held me in contempt (V).

The fine was hefty, but worth the look on his face (N).
I was a fine looking boy, so my cell mate told me (Adj).

Go out there and have some fun with words. Collect your own bits of sound and language and see what you come up with.