Friday, November 8, 2013

etymologically speaking: a creativity warm-up &/or writing challenge

"Tête de Mort"
A vintage postcard I own,
The artist is fabulous,
Yet unknown
Here's a challenge:

Choose a word and create a history for it. Don't google-cheat. Make it up! Use a word you know little about, or one you've heard but are clueless on how to use, or even spell. This diddy could be an etymology (or entymology) story, a piece of usage guidance - whatever. You've probably at least a bubble of an idea already, so I suggest running with that! Really, ditch this, and go jot down your idea. This post isn't going anywhere; it can wait for your non-return.

In case you've returned, here's one I've been thinking about today:

MORTALITY is a word used only by those who haven't experienced the thing. The use of the word mortality perpetuates the notion of immortality. We believe ourselves to be immortal 'til we're not.  Mortality is something others around us fall victim to, like a genetic disease that we didn't seem to inherit. It's a sweaty match of Russian Roulette, and, so far, we're winning.

Mortality statistics spoken from powdered and hairsprayed newsanchors are treated with an air of victimhood. The boogeyman got the poor, mortal souls, and we, the Eternals, continue to be so.

There is a reverence and a kind of sympathy the Eternals express when confronted with death. It can be any combination of:

"How could this happen?"
"No one saw it coming."
"She's in a better place."

But amidst the deep sadness, is there not a message hidden in between the breaths? The negative space seems to say, "I'm sorry that death happened to them."

"I thought we were in this together! I thought you were one of us."
"Death? That still exists? What happened to modern science?"
"This place is fine for me, sayonara."

It's as if there are two species - Homo sapiens sapiens mortalis, and Homo sapiens sapiens eternalis. With every death we encounter, with every utterance of the word "mortality," our god complexes are fed, and our belief that we are the latter species crystallizes.

On that note (I hate it when my creativity follows the well-worn path of morbidity), I hope your internal investigations are more brightly colored. Well, no. I don't hope for anything. I am genuinely curious, though. Tell me I'm full of bull pucky if you think so. Better yet, give me your stories and they'll get compiled and published on our little blog! You can email them to or post them in the comments. I eagerly await!

Brighter next time,


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