I remember the first time I heard the word hubris.
It sounded like a personal quality you didn’t want, but maybe sheepishly admitted to. And then soon afterward, I heard the word again. I looked it up in the dictionary multiple times, unable to hold onto the definition. (I wonder if there’s a correlation between difficulty remembering a word’s definition and its meaning.) Once I even used it in a sentence, correctly I believe, but still without being able to articulate the meaning. Something to do with the ego—too much of it.
Writing is an act of hubris, the notion that words gathered on a page might create a world worth knowing, a world sustained by the active participation of readers.
I love the sound of words.
Succulent. Arduous. Ort. Pelagic. Onomatopoeia. Diffident. Propitious.
Words worn on special occasions and then words like surround-sound that accompany you everywhere.
Music. Delicious. Water. Budget. Marble. Cake.
Words that conjure up memories.
Roller Coaster. Twinkie. Defense. Milk.
To be honest, my vocabulary isn’t that great, at least not for a writer. Read Nabokov–and he wasn’t even a native English-speaker. But still, finding the right word, rearranging the sentences, recalibrating the tone and the rhythm is sheer joy. And hubris.