I’m a word nerd. That’s right. If you’re the same, you know what I mean.
The English language is an ever-evolving, living organism. Every day people are creating new words and usages for them. In fact, William Shakespeare coined many of the words we use today such as skim-milk, lonely, and bedazzled. One way he did this was by changing nouns into verbs and verbs into adjectives. Here’s an excellent example from Hamlet:
“And what so poor a man as Hamlet is
May do, to express his love and friending to you.
Yep. He was using it long before Facebook came along.
You’ve probably heard that Eskimos have about 47 different words for snow with different meanings whereas in English we only have one. If you’re interested, read more about it here: Inuit Words for Snow.
Last year I fell in love with a great book called The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows by John Koenig, who creates new words for which we have no words in English. I opened the book randomly and this is what I saw:
The smallest measurable unit of human connection, typically exchanged between passing strangers - a warm smile, a sympathetic nod, a shared laugh about some odd coincidence - moments that are fleeting and random but still contain powerful emotional nutrients that can alleviate the symptoms of feeling alone.
Now, I ask you, is that not fabulous??!!
Whenever I hear a quotation, phrase or word that I like, I write it down in a book. I believe I’ve mentioned in an earlier newsletter that my nephew used to call my hearing aids, “listening ears.” He also corrected me the next time I saw him when he said there was no such thing as “listening ears.” Oh, come on! Little stinker.
Recently, I’ve added two more words to my list. At a neighbor's get-together, there was a three-year old girl who had begun to learn words like, everybody, nobody, anybody - so it was only natural for her to use this new grammar concept when she asked, “Whobody moved the car?” Whobody! I loved it!
The other word was from one of Sebastian Maniscalco's comedy shows on Netflix. He said he called selfies lonelies. I laughed out loud at that, but it got me thinking. Now I have nothing against selfies per-se when used to mark special occasions, trips, new profile photos, that sort of thing, but if you’re going to post daily selfies (I mean lonelies) of yourself in your car from different angles to garner compliments like, “You’re so beautiful!” that’s where I hit the “unfriend” button. Thank you, Facebook.
When you think about it. social media can also be unsocial media. You’ve got so many friends on Facebook, but how many flesh and blood friends do you have in reality? Facebook makes you feel connected to others, but unless you have real contact with people in life, you’re not really so connected. Facebook is a great way to keep in touch with friends from long ago or who live in different states/countries for example. But for the love of all that's good, stop with all the selfies lonelies!
So to conclude my rather wordy newsletter, I’ll henceforth be incorporating whobody and lonelies into my vocabulary. And I don’t care if Jack says they aren’t real, I’m going to call my hearing aids “listening ears.” So there, Mr. Smarty Pants! (God, I love that kid.)
As a quick aside, I often take a long time to put my newsletters together, but then suddenly things fall into place. For this one, I had the words whobody and lonelies written on a white board on my counter. Every day I looked at them and then suddenly one morning, I was listening to an interview on NPR with an author who has just written a book called Like, Literally, Dude about the English language. I had my theme! Then when I opened The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows, the first word I saw was xeno, which you now know refers to feeling lonely. And last night as I was watching a French series, one of the scenes takes place in a psychiatric facility where a woman speaks only in quotes from Hamlet. How's that for synchronicity?!
News from the Studio
I'm busily working away with some wonderful friends making changes to the studio. So mark your calendars today for this year's Mitch Lyons Studio Annual Holiday Sale on December 2nd and 3rd, 2023, from 10:00-5:00 each day.
Freshly painted, newly organized, and more of Mitch's artwork up on the walls - it's going to be “fabulous, dahlings.”
Out and About
For those of you who can't get out to the studio, you can find many of Mitch's clay monoprints and ceramics at The Station Gallery. Mitch was the very first artist to have a show there when they opened in 1979. When they celebrated their 40th Anniversary, Mitch was once again the featured artist. I am so grateful for their continued promotion of his work.
The Station Gallery 3922 Kennett Pike, Greenville, DE 19807