Logophilia

January 2, 2011

I love words. I drive Jason crazy because I insist on using big words in regular conversation and I think he thinks I’m being a know-it all. I can’t help it–there are so many great words out there! Why say “blue” when you can say “azure” or “sapphire?” Why say “calm” when you can say “placid?” Why say “bright” when you can say “luminous?”

One of my sixth grade teachers (Mrs. Rhode) claimed that “If you use a word 5 times, it’s yours!” I loved that almost as much as I loved learning new words. The thought that I could make words mine was really exciting and I started inserting new words I was learning into my sentences daily.

I love reading books and think that’s always expanded my vocabulary. I love printed words on a page. I very rarely miss a printed word in my line of sight. I read all billboards and signs while I’m driving. I read posters and signs in hallways. I read advertisements and shopping bags and t-shirts. Rarely does a printed word get past me. If I’m without something to do, I find something to read–magazines, books, my facebook newsfeed, the kindle app on my phone, blogs, whatever’s available. I sometimes turn the subtitles on a movie or tv show I’m watching because I like to read the words.

I read fast, too. I drove my parents crazy growing up because they would take me to the bookstore to buy the latest book I wanted (Babysitter’s Club, Boxcar Children, Christopher Pike, etc.) and I would go home and have it read before supper. Ultimately, it was fine, because I never minded to read the same book over and over again.

We would visit my grandparents (maternal) every summer and in their house they had a combination pantry/library. On the shelves next to the canned peaches and green beans that my grandmother would put up every year, there were books that she had collected during her time as a schoolteacher and tutor. I never brought enough books with me to occupy me for the whole time we were there, so I would raid the shelves. One of my favorite books that I read every summer was a juvenile biography about the poet James Whitcomb Riley.

My love for reading and words turned into a love for writing when I was in middle school. I started writing short stories and poetry around 8th grade. I kept a box of loose leaf pages of things I had written and journal where I recorded my thoughts on a regular basis. I continued to journal through college and that eventually became this blog. Of course, this blog is pretty different than my junior high diary, which I found several years ago and had a wonderful time reading.

(I was a lot more dramatic when I was in ninth grade. That’s helpful for me to remember as I navigate middle school and high school with some pretty incredible students.)

What got me thinking about words and my love for them? In youth group tonight I revealed to the group that I was on the Spell Bowl team in high school. I can’t remember what exactly spurred this revelation, but I found out that Memorial High School has a Spell Bowl team. I told them that Spell Bowl was like the special ops of the Academic Team. I’m kind of pretty sure they didn’t buy it. “That sounds kind of nerdy,” Hannah said carefully. “You were smart!” Elle joyfully declared.

I’m not really sure how I should interpret that…

So then I spent the rest of the night spelling all the big words. Which reminded me how much I love words. Which caused me to write this first blog of 2011.

My name is Becky and I’m a logophile…