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Friday, 20 February 2015

Evidence that sometimes three syllables are enough to be going on with

I found this snippet of writing in a notebook. I don't remember where I was when I wrote it or when. A writing class? It intrigued me, though, just playing on one word like this.


The word 'abandon'. Three syllables. Oh, if only it were that simple. And yet, within the word, there is the thing itself. Ah yes, it begins with the vowel, hanging there in the air as though it were benign and could do no damage. 

But then the 'b' - the 'ban' - the plosive threat of violence, of a door shutting, of isolation and the colour black. 

And the fall. The 'don'. It is all finished. The decision to leave you behind has been made. The last part of the word can be whispered by the guilty as a victory hiss, by those who depart, as they slide the bolts on all the doors, or turn the silver key in a lock. They take the 'don' with them. 

It is the centre of the word that remains, the part that hurts the most.

A bit depressing, though. Perhaps I was on one of those writing classes that pitches you in a mire of despair with exercises such as 'Write about the worst time in your whole damn life' or 'Describe a time when you felt like listening to Leonard Cohen'.

One day, when I retire perhaps, and have more time, I will do a similar riff on antidisestablishmentarianism.

Or maybe this Welsh town name ....





15 comments:

  1. I adore Leonard Cohen's music and must confess that I've never found it depressing, just realistic. I know he's got a kind of slash-yer-wrists reputation though.

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    1. My mum used to listen to him constantly and I can hear him intoning 'Suzanne takes you DOWN to the place by the RIver ...' all on one note. Haunting.

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  2. That Welsh name is certainly a tongue twister. Trying to say it might leave your tongue with a knot in it.

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    1. I juth dith twy to thay it. Look whath happeneth.

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  3. I try not to get involved in depressing writing exercises, or anything with a Welsh name. It's easy not to do it. I just don't write.

    Love,
    Janie

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    1. I think the Welsh name is probably more dangerous.

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  4. I rather like it. Trouble is, we don't say the "don" bit, as in university don or the river Don. It's more "dn". So that makes that whole para about sliding bolts and hissing it out rather false. You couldn't be sliding bolts to "dn", could you?

    But I like the idea.

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    1. You make a jolly good point. So I shall say abanDON for the rest of my life and get funny looks.

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  5. Or even deoxyribonucleic acid...?

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  6. Leonard Cohen wrote the lyric: 'I was born like this, I had no choice. I was born with the gift of a golden voice.' (Tower of Song)
    Bit like you, Fran. :-)

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    1. The gift of the gab, maybe ....... Great lyric, though.

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  7. I'm so glad I'm not Welsh. Imagine having to learn to write and spell those names as a child!

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    1. Yes - learning to spell 'accommodation' and 'necessary' was bad enough ...

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  8. Three syllables , eh ?
    "What I did in my holidays " was bad enough .

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