Thursday, March 3, 2011
Where have all the words gone?
I've found that lately I'll be teaching a class and trying to explain something and when I'm done I stop. Think for a second, and then ask my class if what I said just made any sense. It never sounds quite "right" in my head as I'm listening, so I wonder sometimes if I'm finding and using the right words. Admittedly, my students say it does make sense, but I wonder if they're just smiling an nodding, hoping I'll finish talking soon so the can leave class early. Sometimes it's a toss-up and I have to force myself to keep class going.Yep, sometimes teachers don't want to be in class either.
I found this amnesia of words very alarming when, yesterday, I was in the midst of writing a short paper (only about 8-10 pages), had been working on it all day and so many times I had to bother my office mate and use 60,000 words in an effort to find the one word I was looking for. Okay, maybe that's a slight exaggeration, but it felt like all I could do was talk around the word I was looking for. Usually I'm able to use thesaurus.com to plug in the word stuck in my mind and, in looking at synonyms, find the actual word I want. Yesterday, however, I was unsuccessful.
What word was I looking for? Transcendence. How did I describe it? "Christina, what's that word that you use when you're trying to describe how things aren't cognizant of borders or limits? It's not boundless or infinite. What's that word?" I then gave a bunch of other words that are like transcendent, but have negative connotations, and it took us a couple of minutes to find just ONE WORD.
Yep, I think the hamster in my head is dead...or just taking a really long nap. Between my thesis, teaching, writing papers, helping to organize a conference, worrying about presenting at said conference (and another one in Boston), grading papers, applying for jobs, etc. I think my wealth of words has been stolen from me and I'm left in poverty.
Poor me is right! :) I think I just need a break. I hope I get one after May!