by Tamara Passey
Or mean what you say.
I happen to love how one word can have layers of meaning.
Maybe it is my need for efficiency or love of multi-tasking that draws me to words that can do double duty for me in a sentence. It could be my years of writing poetry where brevity reigns supreme and multi-meaning words sort of have a royalty to them. If you have read O Pioneers! by Willa Cather, the opening sentence says this, "One January day, thirty years ago, the little town of Hanover, anchored on a windy Nebraska tableland, was trying not to be blown away." Maybe not the most gripping hook, but 308 pages later (*spoiler alert*) after Alexandra's neighbor Frank, kills her brother with a gun (i.e. blows him away), she visits Frank in prison, and on the way home she thinks, "of how she and Frank had been wrecked by the same storm. . . " I suppose there is more here to the story - but those few words with their dual meanings bring the story full circle.
Of course, extra meanings can spell trouble.
I was driving my oldest daughter to junior high yesterday. She was lamenting how only half of her long hair was curling. I mentioned if she cut it shorter, it would be lighter and more of her hair might curl.
Two hours later, at home, my four-year-old (who had been riding in the backseat) comes to me and says, "Mom, I'd like you to cut my hair."
"Because I am going to be Cinderella for Halloween and she has blond hair. So you need to cut mine."
I was still baffled until she explained,
"You said, 'if you cut your hair it gets lighter'"
Ahh. Words. Tricky, aren't they? I'm surprised they let us use them without a license.
So go put your words to work for you and have a great writing day!