Wanton Wednesday

archaic: sportive or frolicsome

Aren't archaic words just delicious? I love scrounging around Dictionary.com and my own battered copy of Webster in search of definitions to all the strange new words I run across. Why, since picking up Dorothy Sayers' Lord Peter, I've been at the dictionary three times as much as normal - quite a lot of new words, and even a bit of between-war slang. I found some really beautiful words in a poem by J.R.R. Tolkien, and if only my memory were a little better, I could cuddle them all close and even make use of them. Of course, you have to be careful with archaic words. They have to be in the proper setting, and make sense in the setting - or at least enough sense that a reader isn't thoroughly confused on his way to the dictionary. But archaic words are loads of fun, and sometimes even shouldered and clawed into quite a pretty historical setting. Archaic words are little gems.

It's Wanton Wednesday, because "miscellany" doesn't start with a W. I don't know who is supposed to be sporting about this, you or me - possibly both. At any rate, I have a number of things to share with you.

First off, Kelsey at her review blog Little Notes (she did a review of my book The Shadow Things) got a hold of me a week or so ago to do an interview. She had some excellent and really fun questions to pose at me, and I had a wonderful time doing the interview with her. By all means, pop on by and take a look!

an excerpt from The Shadow Things review from Little Notes

Why did you feel drawn to that particular time period (in regards to The Shadow Things)?

Oh, a lot of things drew me: the beauty of the South Downs, the familiarity of the post-Roman natives, the culture, and the advent of Christianity around that time. Among other things, I wanted to show Christianity getting a soul-hold on the island and displacing the pagan religions around it—and what the pagan religions thought of that. The late fifth century enabled me to do that.

Secondly, I finally got around to making that sketch of my character Andor, which I have been meaning to do for a long time now. He looks rather cuter than he probably should be, but Abigail (my Abigail - there are a lot of Abigails) says that no one wants to be disillusioned out of his image of an adorable Andor, and that I oughtn't fret. I caught him, anyway, in his typical adoring pose. Also, that's not ketchup... I still have to ink him in, and probably get rid of the drip and gruesome so that he resembles the style I used in my dragon sketch. Probably. Maybe. Possibly. Mm, I'm not sure. He looks kind of fetching this way.

Just as an aside, my heart wrenched horribly in the Lord Peter mystery The Undignified Melodrama of the Bone of Contention when the exploring party straggled into the library of the old Burdock manor and found that the housekeeper hadn't kept up the fires like she should have, and over the years the damp had got in and almost all the books were mildewed. It broke my heart. People oughtn't do that with books. If it's rude to cut a person off mid sentence while they are speaking, it ought to be socially unacceptable to ruin books like that. Poor Lord Peter was quite undone, and so was I.

9 ripostes:

  1. Andor looks up happily from his little puddle of blood.
    Adamant: "Oh, Andor, really! Did you bite another fairy?

    He is cute! Although I like the random sketches you did of him earlier, of his face. I don't know if those still reflect your mental image of him, but they do mine. And great interview, too. ^.^

  2. Yay! It's always fun to get featured on another blog. :)

    Personally, I LOVE thesauruses. When I'm writing, whether it's a poem or a story or an essay or a novel, I tend to go check out the thesaurus for good words to use. :)

    Since you loved J.R.R. Tolkien's poem, have you read "Goblin Feet"? If that's not the one you read, you should check it out - it's really magical and I love it. You can read it here:


    Taylor Lynn <3

  3. Why, Taylor, you sly thing. I have read "Goblin Feet;" in fact, it is the first of the fantasy section in an old, large book of poems which my family has had for as long as I can remember. I hadn't learnt it by heart, so when you mentioned it I immediately went to fetch it off the shelf and read it again, for it isn't long. Well, I had the dustjacket marking that very poem. It's such a potent piece, even if it is small. For a moment it gives you a hurrying suggestion of magic just beyond your reach, a formless sound of magic, then - a glimpse! a glimpse like marshlight far away, a peephole onto an elfin scene. But only just a moment, and in the last line the lights suddenly go out, blink out, the sounds are gone, and all that is left is a curious empty darkness of the night, and you all alone.

    A friend of mine, more a linguist than I am sure I will ever be, for certain, considers J.R.R. Tolkien to be, while perhaps under-appreciated, one of the best English poets. I am rather uninformed and lethargic when it comes to poetry, but every poem by Tolkien which I have read has managed to stir appreciation and enjoyment in me. Even Kipling, whose poetry I like very much, isn't able to do that.

    If I'm not careful, this comment will turn into a regular blog post. Frightfully sorry, I've gone on and on. Here's to thesauruses! I don't know what I would do without them either, myself.

  4. Oh well, I'm glad you replied to my comment (even if your reply WAS frightfully long ;). It always makes it much more enjoyable to read a blog when you can interact with the author - and it makes me want to read more posts and leave more comments when a blogger replies to me. :)

    As for "Goblin Feet", it definitely is a potent piece! I wrote a school report on J.R.R. Tolkien, and I read about that poem and how he wrote it for his wife, Edith. Of course I was interested, so I looked it up and LOVED it. It's so magical, like a fairy tale. <3

    Oh, and before I go, let me repeat your toast... to thesauruses! ;)

    Taylor Lynn <3

  5. Oh, Andor is frightfully cute. Even in the...er, blood. But since it has been established by Abigail that blood is such a lovely ruby color, I suppose it can only add to his appeal. Though I wonder if Adamant mightn't have something to say about its becoming a regular part of his wardrobe...

    Archaic words are wonderful! They're like jewels in my treasure-box, the sparkly, lovely things.

    Oh, and upon seeing Phos at college, I was given a tour of their Art department. One of the "art pieces" on display was a collection of old, bound books that had been unhinged and torn apart and had pages ripped and singed and lying askew...on PURPOSE. I nearly burst into tears.

  6. GAH! Why do people do that? Maybe if you aren't a writer yourself, you don't quite appreciate it - but those are people's minds - MINDS! - written down on paper. You don't squash someone's mind, do you? You don't tear up paintings, you don't deface gravestones! Why do people rip up books?

    I don't know. I just don't know.

    Adamant doesn't have the most iron of stomachs, and she's always a little queasy when Andor decides to add ruby colours to his whiskers.

  7. By the way, Jenny, I wanted to give you two links.

    (1) Since you obviously like writing, and fantasy, and poetry, I wanted to let you know that I'm having a fantasy poetry contest on my blog, if you'd like to enter!


    (2) And I just did a post today that I want to pass on to all writers. I've been submitting my novels to publishing companies since last summer, and I've picked up tips and information along the way that I decided to share on my blog. If you're interested in publishing any of your work at some point, you can read my post here:


    Taylor Lynn <3

  8. Fantastic, Taylor! I'll have to rouse my poetic side and see what I can come up with. Thank you!

  9. No problem, I'd love it if you participated! Hugs!