Wednesday, April 15, 2015

The Elusive Word

I don't have a proper writing space. We have a little two and a half bedroom house with more charm than square feet. The half bedroom is tiny, L shaped, and hardly functional. It's used to house our sports gear, my husband's clothes...and me.

My desk sits in the window of that room, right behind a set of golf clubs, a pair of roller blades, and a bike. I essentially write in the window of a storage facility/boys locker room. Ten feet above that window is my French neighbor's office window. He hangs out of it and smokes. His wife doesn't  allow him to smoke in the house, so he does this. Often talking on his phone in heavy accented English or French on and off for most of the day.

My window isn't nearly this romantic
I can hear every word through our old thin windows. It makes me cringe to think exactly what embarrassing things he's heard coming from our house. I try to block that thought out on a regular basis.

I pretend I'm at a cafe in another country as I type away and cars go by, and my neighbor argues in French. I think how his accent sounds very Basque and try to concentrate on my writing.

Mentally, where I write

This works until my dog nudges my chair and starts doing the whinny hop dance he does indicating he needs to pee--or sniff around and bark at neighborhood cats. I get up, walk through the kitchen to the back door to let him out. I leave the door open to avoid having to get up again and hope one of the damn neighbor cats don't stroll in. I then resist the urge to grab a snack as I hasten back to my story.

I sit down, read the last sentence I wrote and write three more before I lose the word I was about to write. What word am I looking for? Effervescent? No. Too happy. But perfect for an orgasm. I add it to my list of words.

I'm always searching for the elusive words. They haunt me, those little words. I have a notebook filled with words that glide over my mind like silk and seduction. Words that tingle along my nerve endings and make my body feel alive in some wonderful or horrible way. And really, just some mundane words I can't seem to remember.

Even with that notebook sitting right next to me, the right phrase sometimes turns to vapor before I can snatch it out of the air. I scan the page coming up short. I do a Google word search, angry at myself for wasting time on a word. I abandon the search to go back to writing, but not before highlighting the inferior word choice and leaving myself an angry note to find the right, bloody word.

I go back to writing. Eventually my butt goes numb from sitting in the office chair so I leave my delusion of a cafe and head for the living room. From here my dog can sit on the couch and bark at every car, biker, and walker who dares pass by. I think about the bottle of Puppy Prozac in the medicine cabinet, the vet gave me. Then I look at the dog, so clueless but happily barking away.
Who am I to take his bark?
I make a mental note to read the Dog Whisperer book--maybe I'm not properly dominating him. I make my voice deep and authoritatively Dom and tell him to go lie down. I ponder lay vs. lie as I say it, not that it matters. I sound more like the Wizard of Oz, but it seems to work, so I start writing again.

Valiantly I try to not check my social media and email. Some days I stay strong. Other days I lose an hour.

My son gets home and the day goes on. I make dinner, help with homework, and realize my house is dirty. Still, the word has not appeared.

After I tuck my son into bed, I sit on the couch, trying to stay awake, playing cross word games on my Kindle wondering why I can't think of the effing word. And of course I worry about everything I wrote that day, because when I'm not writing I worry about what I did write.

That night I sleep until 2am. That's when I'm awakened from my sleep by a word. Fizzle. Mother f*%$ing fizzle. That's the f%$#ing word I was looking for! Such a innocuous, simple word. How the hell could I have lost fizzle?

Blurry eyed I type the word on the notepad on my phone, praying I remember why the hell I left myself a note of 'fizzle' come morning. I set my phone back down and drift, but now I think of a scene. It's of course pivotal to my WIP. I snatch back up my phone and write, knowing it's going to suck when I have to transcribe all I'm writing to the computer. But still I write until it's been an hour and I need to get some sleep.

In the morning, after I've taken my son to school, runs errands, and walked the dog, I check my notes. Fizzle isn't spelled correctly but luckily I remember what it was supposed to be. I go through my evening scribbles and discover half the words have been auto corrected or are just plain gibberish, but I cross my fingers and hope I can figure it all out and find the word that I meant to use.

Words. I'm always looking for the right words.


  1. I can relate. Finding the right word--and keeping it from evaporating--is a challenge.

    1. These are things people don't tell you when you say you want to become a writer. You are going to be spending your life chasing down words. :D

  2. I can relate to this! Sometimes I'll spend more time trying to find one stinking "perfect" word than a whole chapter