Log onto Logomania

You might remember checking out the glossary section in your English coursebook as a kid. Everytime you didn’t know the meaning of a word in a poem or a story or an essay, you relied on ‘granny glossary’ to satiate your curiosity. Sometimes you would figure out the meaning of a word from the way it’s used.

 

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Words are the clincher

 

Ultimately words aroused your curiosity. Be it slangs, mundane vocabulary or civil language, words make up conversations.
We use words without giving much thought to what we say. Do we actually mean it ? Or just blurting it all out ? Who cares ? That’s the approach.

The reason I love poets is because they make every word count. Every word matter. Every word has a steady purpose. It doesn’t get dissolved in your sight while you read in vain.

The first few lines of a poem by Alfred Lord Tennyson made me understand the feeling of a woman who has lost her husband in a war but is unable to lament out of disbelief.

It goes like..

‘Home they brought her warrior dead,
Nor she swooned nor she cried, All the maidens watching said, “She must weep or she shall die “.

The words are interwoven in such a way that they bring out the anguish of a widow during wartime. They also create an atmosphere of a funeral and how people react to the death of a loved one. No one cries initially out of shock, tears come welling in your eyes out of sheer pain.

 

Hook-up with the right word

 

Robert Penn Warren compares the motion of a flying hawk in one of poems to a honed steel-edge. Very carefully chosen phrase. No idea what he had in mind while crafting such a description yet it sounds apt.

Words can create your world and also allow you to transcend some misunderstandings.
Lutwig Wittgeinstein observed that we live in a world where we partake in a conventionally accepted language game. Whichever linguistic community that we are a part of accepts, we use those specific words to convey our thoughts and communicate our needs to each other.

Words have meaning only within a context. Nevertheless we all have a habit of using words just for sake and least care about their use. The meaning of a word is in its use. It ain’t what you say all the time that matters, it’s the way you say it and the context in which you say it to be precise.

Words become how you use them.
The roaring of two adult lions challenging each other for taking leadership of a pride is good enough as language gaming activity. If banter of two human rivals, attempting to outdo one another through wordplay is qualified as language, then why not lions asserting themselves ?

God is a word. People use ‘God’ in different ways. To some, even a sunrise could mean God. While others could just use the word to indicate fidelity to a way of life. The word ‘google’, has become a verb. It is synonymous with searching information on internet.

 

Entry-ticket into dictionary

 

There are three criteria for a word making it into the Merriam-Webster dictionary. Widespread usage of a word, “sustained use” and “meaningful use” serve as the pre-conditions for any word that is deemed suitable to be included in one’s vocabulary.

A Chicago teen by name Kayla Newman invented a phrase ‘on fleek’ which means ‘on point’. The term has been added to the urban dictionary.

Many of our decisions are arbitrary rather than well-thought out especially at the last moment. But the word arbitrary is hardly used by some out of the fear it might mean something too mathematical, like an arbitrary integer. People hesitate to use certain words out of assumption that they might be mistaken as being a verbal show-off.

 

Churn out the magic

 

Did you know that history drips in darkness like a leaking pipe in a cellar ? Well sounds really bizarre when you read or hear it for the first time but what an imagination and usage of words ? But it means that problems lie unfixed many a time while they plague you beneath all the ongoings of daily life. The past catches upto you while you’re trying to get a night of sound sleep.
The poet Robert Warren indeed knows how to nail this concept by comparing history to an untended dripping pipe in the basement.

 

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Self-Discipline isn’t always tough

"He's very disciplined about his writing, three hours staring at a blank screen every morning and five in the afternoon."

Photo Courtesy :

https://www.cartoonstock.com/directory/s/self-discipline.asp

 

Self-discipline is often misinterpreted as difficult. It’s takes work but isn’t hard. Seth Godin says be specific towards setting goals. Make them measurable and realistic. Your goals are a starting point to stay disciplined.
If you clarify your vision, you would increase self-discipline by default.

 

When it comes to goal conflicts, self-discipline helps you. You can deal with it. You know how conflicts are hard to cope up with.
Self-Discipline isn’t emotionless.
It’s about understanding, interpreting and managing your own emotions. It isn’t about raw power.
Handle with grace. Iron-will and brute strength aren’t necessarily important for self-discipline. Though they make the path easier.
Any movie that shows the hero cultivate discipline to achieve his goal inspires us. Whether it’s a revenge based goal or proving one’s prowess in a wrestling arena, discipline speaks where you’re headed. Self-discipline is the beautiful art of understanding, interpreting and then managing your own emotions.
Self-discipline also isn’t about self-denial of anything that is good. There is nothing wrong in being self-indulgent once a while. Who wants a routine all the time ? It becomes boring. Actually when you are disciplined as a habit, it takes away the fun from whatever you do. There has to be a little change in a routine. If you don’t engage your heart and mind in an intentional way to guide the way you live, there is no point in being ‘self-disciplined’.
Your involvement in an activity comes to a halt, when you have to do it even if you have no mood to do so. Discipline is like drinking milk daily because you think it makes you healthy and you enjoy its taste. Routine is like drinking milk daily for reasons unknown. Habit is drinking milk daily when you have forgotten the true taste of milk.

 

Zombie nouns kill readers

 

 

Fall in love with nouns, adjectives and verbs.

But steer clear of ‘nominalizations‘.

They are the words ending with -ism, -tion, -ity confuse the reader. It impedes clear communication. Yeah if you wanna be a verbose, go ahead. You wanna confound someone’s thinking. Sure take a dig at using the zombie nouns.
What can be said in simple terms becomes difficult to understand when you overload your sentences with too many ‘zombie nouns’.

Save that effort for bureaucrats, lawyers and technical writers.

Use nominalizations  when you want to explain a concept or as a keyword. For instance, assume you have to define ‘epistemology’ or explaining what is syllogism in arguments.

Be a writer with purposeful talk.

Never ever think of yourself as a noun. You are a verb as Stephen Fry says. You’re an active being. You imprison yourself if you see ‘self’ as a noun.

What’s wrong in being a loser ?

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What do you do when you get to the point where the joy of winning dissipates while the pain of losing intensifies ? Just remember, losing allows you to gain perspective. It can help you realize that  isn’t all there is in life.

Icarus was a Greek mythological character whose wings were made of wax and glued together. His father had warned him not to fly too high as the sun would melt the wax nor too low as he would drown in the sea.
Unfortunately, Icarus forgot his father’s warnings and as he soared high, the sun’s blazing rays melted his wings making him drown in the ocean.
So what if he fell down ? He flew though with his artificial wings, every high has a low. The poet Jack Gilbert says in ‘Failing and Flying’ that Icarus just came to ‘the end of his triumph.’

 

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Life isn’t about always winning as much as it’s about participating in whatever you do wholeheartedly.

 

“Over the years I’ve lost a lot of games.  Thankfully I’ve won a few too so my sanity has stayed in tact. Losing can be difficult. It can be painful.

Sometimes you can work so hard, invest so much time and energy but the results you want and even feel like you deserve can elude you.

Losing helps you learn that life can be difficult. Things aren’t always rosy and its not a matter of if setbacks happen to you, its a matter of what you do when those setbacks come. Losing helps you learn humility. It can teach you that success is not defined simply by the scoreboard. The great John Wooden said that winning has nothing to do with success. That success simply is giving your best effort and being the best you can possibly be.

I struggle seeing coaches and teams who not only lose poorly but they also win poorly. When they are winning they show boat and disrespect opponents. When they are losing they blame others and disintegrate right in front of your eyes, barking at each other on the bench and the floor. Winning does cure a lot of ills but losing exposes them.

Losses will come. It’s unavoidable so the question is, what can you learn from them? Do you continue to give your best effort during a losing stretch? Do you draw closer together as a team and continue to work for a common goal or do you quickly fall a part and begin looking out for yourself?”

The basketball coach, Jiben Nett

 

 
You can’t always win without losing. If you believe you can, you’re fooling yourself. Sometimes in order to gain something, you gotta lose something else. The problem is when you start regarding something so priceless, you would have issues in losing it.
We think losing means a huge blow to our self-esteem. We think we gotta show the world we rock. But when we don’t excel at something, it’s a terrible blow to our ego. We confuse our ego with our real sense of self. Not all the time you are meant for winning.
Losing keeps you grounded.

 

Signing off with a poem I read and liked :

 

 
Sometimes you have to lose to win
You lose a lover but gain a friend
Oh, how lucky I have been
For love can be lost, but friendships
Need never end
So when in life when you least expect it
A friendship thought lost is resurrected
Out of the blue so unexpected
Just when you needed them most

 

 
David Kush

 

 

 

Ranting on ‘change’

“Things change. They always do, it’s one of the things of nature. Most people are afraid of change, but if you look at it as something you can always count on, then it can be a comfort.”

 

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You may despise change yet it is what that keeps you on the move. Life would be so static if change were not to be. We all hate change coz it makes us feel uncomfortable and out of control. Yet the fun lies in having no control over the spectacle called life. What unsettles you also grounds you to reality.

What scares you also moulds you. What takes away from you also gives you. Where there is change there is bound to be disappointment but not without desirable surprises. If we are always satisfied, we never realise the unknown can also make us happy in uncertain ways.

If you can’t brave the storm, you can’t bask in the sunshine.

 

‘Emotions recollected in tranquility’

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An overflow of powerful feelings.. well that’s how poetry is defined. Right now, I am in a multiple state of mind. I don’t know how to exactly say how I am feeling. I am kind of apathetic to life to be honest.
Apathy doesn’t mean indifference to me. It is when you can coexist with more than one frame of mind and yet not be attached to any of them. Let me explain.. ahem..
I am neither sad nor happy. I am happy at the same time scared of losing things precious to me. I know its confusing so in other words let me tell you I’m ambivalent and fickle now.
So I started reading a poem to soothe my sense of self.

‘Unlearn the constellation to see stars’ a phrase which tells you to actually see things for that they are in simplicity than going into their structure. If you wanna see beauty in nature or your life, just forget what you have acquired from your experiences, treat every situation in life as something new. Even if you make mistakes, it would be a new lesson. If you keep carrying over the past lessons, even though its advisable to do so many a time, you become reluctant to take in life with a fresh breath.The same old stinking breath stops you from living.

“We find out the heart only by dismantling what the heart knows. By redefining the morning, we find a morning that comes just after darkness.”

I just love these lines in the poem ‘Tear it down’. Guess who wrote it ? You may have never heard of this person still isn’t it worth knowing ? I felt he is an overlooked poet as I didn’t read his works when I was pursuing my BA in English literature.
There is this poet called Jack Gilbert. I read about him in a book named Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert.

She said she isn’t related to him (just coz of same surname) yet he is a memorable poet. Not all have heard about him as he never wanted fame, he just loved writing poetry from an early age.
‘Refusing heaven’ a book of poetry by Gilbert has been described by Dan Albergotti as “poems about love, loss, and grief that defy all expectations of sentimentality.

 

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Jack Gilbert says in ‘A Brief for the Defense’ Sorrow everywhere, slaughter everywhere depicting a society surrounded by grim and abuse. He mentions that there is someplace where babies are starving even if you aren’t a witness to it. Just because you live in a world where starvation doesn’t exist, it all the more means that there is definitely some other place unknown to you where starvation forms the crux of life.
“We must have the stubbornness to accept our gladness in the ruthless furnace of this world. To make injustice the only measure of our attention is to praise the Devil. If the locomotive of the Lord runs us down, we should give thanks that the end had magnitude.” 

The world has been compared to a blasting furnace which doesn’t care what is on it as whomsoever is victim to the furnace is gonna get charred to ashes. Never take note od what is bad in the world rather rise above the sordid things in life. Death has been seen like an engine run by divine power and when it mows you over, just take it as if atleast there was some dramatic demise intended for you.

 

 

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Gilbert compares the presence of a woman’s being to Latin as it’s the source of many derived English words and her physical body to the clear language of English which is easy to understand unlike its origin that holds a lot of ‘immensities’.
Now who writes and thinks in such a way !! Its just totally a different analogy that I read in a long time. Never struck me. Guys, go ahead and read Jack Gilbert’s poems and you would love them for their profundity and ability to explain deep human emotions in simple contemporary mundane way. He describes intimacy as the great portals of knowing each other being “closed forever”. What a wonderful definition and an intense explanation !