Wednesday, 8 October 2008

Bizarre Trouser Accident - Joan Lennon


I love my job. I remember telling somebody once I was happy and they replied, "Is there something specific or are you just unaware of the facts?" The same thing could be said about saying I love writing. (Don't worry, I am NOT unaware of the facts, and I whinge plenty about them.) But there are MANY specific things about being a writer that make me want to hug myself with delight (or anyone passing within reach - disconcerting for strangers). And one of those things is how often I get to grin - and giggle - and, on occasion and not always appropriately, belly-laugh - at the felicities of language, and call it work.

As when, for example, a friend wrote to tell me that she'd been laid up because of "a bizarre trouser accident." Poor woman was on crutches and all I could do was snicker and think "what a great phrase - I HAVE to put that in a book!" Or another who said she didn't care, she intended "to irritate the conkers out of somebody." Or a son's long-term belief that the word "ostentatious" was actually spelt "Austentatious" and meant "thinking you're a better writer than you really are" - the same son who recently meant to say "Gilbert and Sullivan" but came out with "Sodom and Gomorrah" ...

Anyone could delight in such things, but only a writer - or perhaps a stand-up comic - could classify them as research. Some of them are just too gorgeously off-the-wall to be shoe-hornable into fiction - nobody would believe them! - but I live in hope that some day, somehow, I'll find a use for them all.


And, in the meantime, they are one of the reasons I love my job.

9 comments:

Nick Green said...

And that's without mining the vast reserves of what younger children come up with. My three-year-old son recently wanted to stop by the baker's, but forgot the word for it. He said, 'Can we go to the... the biscuit carpenter?'

I should write them all down; there are dozens like it, but tragically I forget them...

Lucy Coats said...

Oh, Joan! You've cheered up my morning. Thank you. But I SO want to know exactly what happened in the 'bizarre trouser accident'--or are the details too gruesome for public consumption?

AnneR said...

Start writing them now, Nick, or you will forget them - never mind the lost ones, there will be more in the futures.

I love 'Austentatious' - that has to be the most fabulous new word of the day, thank you Joan.

asakiyume said...

Austentatious is the best new coinage! I'm going to have to start using it :-)

Joan Lennon said...

Re. details of the Trouser Accident, I would love to be able to say "I've been sworn to secrecy" because of the way it would immediately get your brain churning with wonderfully weird possibilities. In fact, she just fell over getting dressed ...

Lucy Coats said...

Have been there in the tangled trouser leg/falling over scenario myself...thanks for telling me!

John Dougherty said...

"Biscuit carpenter"! Fantastic!

One of my favourite offspring quotes was from my son at age 2: "Do you think that lorry will fit under that bridge?" he asked, and then moments later chirruped delightedly, "It did! It fat!"

And I love "Austentatious", too.

Nick Green said...

Past particle of fit = fat!!
Wonderful.
And enormously revealing about the way we learn language. We don't just learn it, we create it for ourselves as we go. We all go through a stage of being as ingenious as Keats (or summink). Then it's off to school to have it beaten out of us.

LynnHC said...

Or we home school...and encourage its development profusely!