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Some of my stories are published in:
A Cup of Comfort Devotional for Mothers and Daughters (Adams Media, 2009)
Chicken Soup: What I Learned from the Dog (2009)
Love is a Flame (Bethany House, 2010)
Extraordinary answers to Prayer (Guideposts, 2010)
Love is a Verb (Bethany House, 2011)
Big Dreams from Small Spaces (Group Publishing, 2012)

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Naughty Words

No, I am not talking about the four-letter kind.
I am talking about the words that lounge around in my mind, bored, idle, just itching for mischief.
Then the summons comes.
"Word, " I say, "come forth."
I was sitting at the computer, my fingers poised over the keyboard, waiting for my brain to summon the word I've requested.
The word I required yesterday was "valet."
It's not a difficult word. It's an everyday sort of word.
Nothing obscure.
But just like a naughty child, when called, he ran from me.
I grabbed for him, but he dashed away and snickered at my feeble attempt to corral him.
For half an hour I called to him in vain. He would not reveal his hiding place.
And so, frustrated and dejected, I returned to my computer and typed in "xxxx" in place of the long-sought word.
The naughty word's plan is, -- like all the others who've baited me in the past -- to wait around until about two o'clock in the morning, then jump on my bed and shake me until I crack one eyelid and say, "Oh, there you are, you bad word. No, I'm not going to get up and play with you now. I'll deal with you in the morning."
The next day, another of "valet's" cohorts takes his place. Today, I am searching for the word that means "present everywhere."
As usual, the word that means "present everywhere" immediately runs out of the office, then peaks his head in as if too say, "care for a game of hide 'n seek?"
But today, I've come up with a mode of dealing with my naughty words: just don't play the game. As soon as the word starts to hide around the corner of my office, I'll say, "I don't really need you, word. So you can hide all you want, but I'm not going to come looking for you."
I go on with my typing.
Then, slowly, creeping nearer, barely stifling a giggle, my word approaches. I hear him breathing behind my back. I know he wants to tap me on the shoulder, then dash away.
I whirl around and seize him. "Aha! Ubiquitous, I've caught you! I slam my prize onto the keyboard. "Ubiquitous" is now displayed on line four, second paragraph of page forty-six.

And so, my writer friends, when your own words turn naughty, don't despair.
But don't play their game. Don't let them bully you.
They want to take your joy away.
But don't you let. Don't you let them.


  1. Oh, Dena, what a perfect description of the battle we writers fight! I get frustrated when simple words elude me. Like you, they show up when: 1) I'm almost asleep. 2) I'm driving. 3) I'm minus paper and pen.

  2. Susan, there are also words that habitually play this "game" with me. I eventually turned each of these words into a little song. Then, every time I needed the word I'd have to sing the song so the word would "pop" back into my brain!

  3. I find words to be most naughty when I'm in a conversation and can't think of a word. Argh! (Great post. Well written. This one needs to be submitted for publication. Who can't relate?)

  4. It's so funny, Nancy. I used to think my trouble with word retrieval was just a family thing. But the more I mention my difficulty, the more others jump in and say, "Oh, yes, that happens to me, too, all the time."