Monday, November 2, 2015

You need this word, part 1

At last summer's Napa Valley Writers Conference, I had the grace to choose Doug Powell's workshop. Doug always presents wrapped in flannel and knitted vests, with a tractor cap jammed down on his skull. He may run cold, but his seminar was hot. I still cannot encompass how marvelously he got back to the roots of writing. One of his exercises was to write one-word poems. Go ahead. You think about what makes a poem, and how to pack that into one evocative word. Another was to create a new word, a word that we need but that does not exist in English. I am still sorting these out.

I propose a new word:  t o n e d e f t . It means the opposite of "tone-deaf;" that is, the quality of using precisely the right word, or words, for the situation and the task. For instance, "D.A. Powell is tonedeft."

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