Saturday, July 15, 2017

Funny Word Favorites

When my son was small and fussing, I found the best way to get him out of a mood was to make him laugh. Somehow or other I came up with the word "fluff-a-duffulated" when he climbed into bed and I pulled the covers up and "fluffed them" -- so that became a well-worn word in our home. I aslso discovered that saying it in a Bugs Bunny voice could earn me extra points.

As a writer, I love words -- made up or otherwise -- that describe feelings, whether they're funny, scary, angry or anything else. Today I've decided to share some of those words and tell you the stories behind them.

Because our family is one of mixed faiths, my husband gets a kick out of some of the Yiddish words I use and has also come to use them himself. When he's mixed up or confused or generally feeling exhausted, he says he's "verklempt" or "vermisht" -- which he heard me say in the early hears of our marriage before adopting.

My guy, on the other hand, taught me to say "Oof da," the equivalent of "Oy, vey" in Norwegian (or some Scandinavian language). His mother got me to fall in love with "kittywampus" when she talked about how she'd had a dangerous fall. I was really impressed with her humor in describing what had happened, and whenever i hear "kittywampus" now, I think of her bravery.

My friend John loves when I talk about my garden, which usually starts out "in a tangle" until I get things sorted out (or pay my friend Marlene, aka know as the Garden Goddess, to fix things up for me. John also likes it when I referred to my garage as a "sugar shack" before we spruced it up.

Another one of my favorite words is dunsicle, which I made up (or at least think I did) when writing a play based on The Little Princess for Steppingstone Theatre. It just seemed like the mean character Lavinia would call other students a dunsicle when she was annoyed. I still use it quite a bit, mostly when referring to myself when I'm having trouble wrapping my mind around something.

My favorite phrase for Ruby in The Beat on Ruby's Street is "kinds-sorta" but I really have to be careful not to overuse that one. In fact, I think you have to be careful about that with all the words you love, especially when writing stories. Because words are like food or wine, I think -- you don't want to repeat them so much that readers get sick of them.

I guess that's why I'm always on the lookout for new ones. If you want to share your favorites, I'd be so happy! Just send them over to