Crone

Crone: (n) a withered, witchlike old woman.

An obsession with attributing certain characteristics to either the male or the female is one of the surest ways to showcase misogyny.

It’s not bad enough that we believe that women like gardening and nurturing things, whereas men are hunters and gatherers. The fact that there are thousands—perhaps millions—of examples to the contrary does not seem to deter people from “genderizing” activities.

For instance, for years hurricanes were designated by only using women’s names because “they’re so unpredictable.”

Of course, we grew out of this because we know that men are just as unpredictable as women.

But when it comes to the word “crone,” we are pretty sure that such a disfigured, frustrated, bitchy and aggravated person could only have breasts and a vagina.

Fascinating, huh?

After all, we’ve never seen old men who are nasty, backbiting gossipers, who can’t find a good word to say about anything.

Although Charles Dickens did give us that great crone with Ebenezer Scrooge.

Do you think it would have been even more popular if it had been Abigail Scrooge?

Then we could have eased the common misconception of the masses—that vitriol is normally passed along by the chicks.

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Cradle

Cradle: (n) a small bed for an infant, usually on rockers.

There is still a debate over whether my fourth son arrived early, or my wife didn’t know how to count months. I will not intrigue you further with that particular impasse, but he—that fourth guy of mine—was born on the road. funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

Now, it wasn’t like we were gypsies traveling by oxcart, but we did not have a permanent home and we were touring as a family, doing music and imitating our version of creative diversion.

He came early. Or we were late. But suffice it to say, he ended up being birthed in a strange town with strange doctors in a strange hospital in a strange way.

After he was born and the shock of his arrival assimilated through our midst, we needed to find a way for him to travel with us and stay healthy, without later growing up and being so traumatized that he would require an expensive therapist.

At the time we were staying in larger motel rooms that would accommodate our family for a week at a time. Most of these establishments did not offer portable cribs. We considered purchasing one, but decided it was too difficult to tear down and put back together. I don’t know what stimulated that decision—perhaps it was the fact that my other two sons were teenagers and I was only adept at putting together sentences.

So we decided to consecrate—set aside in a holy way—one of the drawers from the bureau offered in the motel room, wherein there would be no socks, underwear or first-aid kit, but instead, it would be the sleeping domain for the new little one.

We had to agree among each other never to refer—at least in public—to this bed as “the drawer in our motel.” (We anticipated some horror or displeasure from the people who might hear such an explanation.) So going old-fashioned and feeling safe with the term, we referred to that drawer as his “cradle.”

It worked.

Most people, when they heard the word “cradle,” envisioned something from Charles Dickens, or maybe the Civil War era. Certainly something “rockable”—but warm, cozy, where the little young’un could snug away to sleeper land.

Amazingly enough, no one ever asked us to describe the cradle or where we placed the cradle in our trailer when we traveled from town to town. It was our secret, and the little one never knew he wasn’t in an expensive bassinet or overwrought crib.

The only important thing was for each family member to remember without question, and to never make the mistake of accidentally shutting the drawer.

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Column

Column: (n) a pillar or a page division; essay

The columns of our philosophy holding up our suppositions are divided into columns and rendered off for reading–in a column.

Now there’s a twisted path of reason. Should keep you busy for a while.

When I began writing on the Internet I was very uncomfortable with the term “blog.”

I am of the school of thought that if everyone thinks they can do something then no one can do it, because it is never done well.

Everybody has a blog.

For awhile I referred to my etchings in the great “Cloud” as columns–hearkening back to an era when newspapers actually delivered daily information.

No one liked “column.”

So I tried the word “essay.” Then I sounded like I lived in the nineteenth century, having tea with Charles Dickens and Mark Twain. (Emily Dickinson a no-show…)

It didn’t really make any difference. Once I penned something and placed it on the ethernet, it became a blog.

It’s just difficult to believe that blogs are going to sustain the great American experiment and hold up our faith so that insanity doesn’t crash in on us.

But since no one would ever listen to a case made for the value of pillars and justifications of margins, I think we are in the wild, wild West of authoring articles, sentiments and misspelled paragraphs from our six-guns of inadequacy.

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Clatter

Clatter: (n) a continuous rattling sound

It’s a Christmas thing, isn’t it?

Do we ever use the word “clatter” at any other time than in the recitation of the poem, “‘Twas the Night Before Christmas?”

You know what I mean. When everybody’s gone to bed and Mom and Dad are awakened: “There arose such a clatter.”

As I look at the definition, I realize how disappointed Santa Claus must have been. The North Pole crew certainly practiced this landing thing on roofs, right? And the goal is to get in and out of the house without waking anyone.

So if the poet is correct and Santa and his reindeer raised “a clatter,” some heads must have rolled on December 26th back up there at the North Pole.

For after all, the job is simple–fly straight, land quietly, take off silently.

But if you’re gonna be landing on roofs raising a clatter, all the mystique about your process is soon going to be gone.

That’s about the only time we ever use this word, right?

If somebody walked in a room and said, “Hey! What’s all the clatter?” we’d probably reply, “Listen, Charles Dickens, leave us alone…”

Or if someone was staying at your house and came down for breakfast and spoke up and said, “I hope I didn’t keep anyone awake last night with all my clatter,” honestly, you might think he’s a serial killer.

Clatter??

So I think this word is singularly supported by a poem which proclaims an action which would never have taken place if Santa’s team had rehearsed just a little bit more.

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Cauldron

Cauldron: (n) a situation characterized by instability and strong emotions.

Putting together sentences, or even the art of making sense, is not the most difficult thing about writing. Also not writer’s block, unless you get too silly about constructing the perfect paragraph.

Actually the most difficult matter is making sure that your writing hasn’t “aged out.” In other words, do people know what the hell you’re talking about?

It happened to me several weeks ago when I was working on a passage in a novel, and decided to insert the word “cauldron”–as referring to a problem that was simmering inside my plot, without people knowing how dangerous it truly was.

The dear lady who does my typing stopped and looked at me with a quizzical face and asked, “Cauldron?”

She does this from time to time. It’s her way of saying I’ve come up with some obscure word that no one will understand and therefore they will assume that my awareness of pop culture ceased somewhere between Charles Dickens and Mark Twain.

It raises the question, when are we being sensitive to the market and when are we joining into the universal “dumbing down” of our society?

Is it too much to ask a reader to look up a word or search for context clues? Are we a generation that is just going to squint and opine, “I don’t know that word…”

Some words should die. Maybe they represented something evil or there’s a better replacement for them in today’s language.

But sometimes a word needs to be toted from the Conestoga wagon, onto the bicycle, into the Model T Ford, placed carefully on the airplane and finally situated safely in the rocket to outer space.

 

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