A.M. Wilhelm | Gedankenexperiment #3: Sifting Through Words
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Gedankenexperiment #3: Sifting Through Words

It started at the bar. What started at the bar? The idea. A bar-inspired idea? That’s never happened before (read with a sarcastic tone). Alright, I admit every bar is a mid-wife-in-waiting to ideas–good, bad, inspired, and moronic.

Okay, okay, enough intro–what’s the damned idea?

If you’re reading this blog, it’s no secret- I’m a writer. STOP! HALT! I know you’re probably confused. I am going to start making sense soon. Promise. Why did I just stop myself? Because it’s no secret is an overused phrase. So, why do I care? Because that was the bar idea–spend a weekend with my friends without using either clichés or store-bought phrases and descriptions. I figured if I discipline myself to see and explain things with an individual voice in conversation, when I sit down to write, unique and original words will gush out of my mouth with waterfallesque grace.

I’m happy to report. STOP! I meant to say: I have jingle bell news that my friends decided to assist in my “original words” weekend. They also wanted to participate. I’ll give you a few examples of what our task looked like in action.

We order dinner right before the kitchen closes and Dave exclaims, “Guess we got right under the wire on that one!” Imagine a disapproving buzzer sound. “Oh, right that was a cliché.” One second later he says, “We did some good belly-fencing there.” Belly-fencing is just what it sounds like–scrambling on your belly to get under the fence. Eventually, it will become a cliché but right now it’s a brand new phrase and Dave is a Shakespeare in the making.

During the same meal, Mike says, “Time is of the essence.” Nope, not allowed. Come up with something original, Mr. MIT. After three crinkled-brow seconds, our group receives this gifted quip: “Seconds count.”

Later in the evening, it’s my turn to add to our virgin glossary. I have my opportunity when my husband comments, “I’d be taking a stab in the dark.” I suggest an alternative: “That’s a nighttime hike, without a flashlight.” I know mine is wordy, when compared to the belly-fencing stunner of earlier in the eve. But, not everyone can be Shakespeare (I don’t think that’s over-used, is it?)

The next day we visit a local brewery. Beer makes me sleepy so, at first, I resist imbibing. But, as more friends arrive and each orders a beer, I begin to feel like the kid who’s picked last for the team. I jump up off my figurative seat on the bench. “I’ll take the beer flight!” An hour later, my energy droops. I comment about this to Dave and he remarks, “Energy levels are sinusoidal in nature.” A sinusoid or sine wave is a smooth repetitive oscillation (that means it goes up and down evenly). Instead of calling it an energy crash, I build on Dave’s analogy. “Hey guys, I think I’m down-sining.” I rest for a while and soon, you guessed it, I’m back to my normal up-sining self.

As we play our unique game, we find other examples. They add a splash of creativity and challenge to an already fun weekend.

Even though it’s now Tuesday, I’m still sensitive to words needing new playmates. I’m hoping the habit becomes permanent and makes writing with a distinctive voice a trained reality. We’ll see how it goes . . . bzzzz. Try again, you who call yourself a writer. . .

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