A couple days ago I wrote about “bad” words.
Truth be told, I am wild about all words.
What they mean and how they’re pronounced.
Where they were coined and ways they’ve changed.
I like practical words that connect two concepts—fresh ones, such as seagan (a vegan who eats seafood) and rusty ones, such as sockdolager (from the1830’s, it merges sock, as in hitting, with the church term doxology to mean “an especially powerful reply”).
I like words that sound like what they are—hiccup and croak and sizzle—and the fact they have an amazing word all their own: onomatopoeia.And I love getting new words from people who understand my addiction.
Which brings us to wink.
It’s the heart and soul of a fun pendant I recently received from my friend Helen. She had spied it at a great new shop in Denver called Buxom (www.buxomdenver.com). Being a tiny, competitive tennis player, she confided it was only after she realized the only thing she would be buying in the store was jewelry that she connected the shop’s name and its market. Yep. Fashion treats for the ta-taed.
As for my necklace, it’s made by a Colorado artist from an old dictionary. The word and its definition are preserved under an eighth-inch of resin, so you can read it and wear it and—in my case—learn stuff. Such as wink being the term for one pass of a lighthouse beam, as well as for a nap, for avoiding something undesired, and, of course, for the old come hither.
Which makes it a composite of fun + practical + philosophic, all linked up in four little letters.
Kind of puts me in a Kerouac state of mind:
“Maybe that’s what life is…
a wink of the eye and winking stars.”
Letter to Alan Harrington (1949)