Thursday, December 5, 2013

Word Play


I love playing with obscure and unusual words. So today I wrote paragraphs describing some. Introducing two little-used adjectives, lugubrious and insouciant.

Lugubrious, a lugubrious aunt and uncle:
Aunt Lucinda sat on one side of the room and stitched mournfully at clothes for poor children; Uncle Alfred sat on the other side and stitched gloomily at the old harness for the horses, which wasn’t needed any more because their son, Benjamin, was in charge of the land now, and he used a tractor. Uncle Alfred persisted in using every scrap of leather in the old barn to mend ancient harnesses, in preparation for the coming day when that darn tractor broke down and there was no harnessing to be had anywhere, so even the horses they still had would be useless. Aunt Lucinda only hoped that the clothing she was laboring over would be of some use to the poor creatures that were unwanted and unwelcome to this vale of tears that was life. Occasionally they would share these hopes and plans with each other, by way of conversation. They were both firmly fixed in the idea that sooner or later, the world would come to pieces and so prove the foolishness of the present generation. Their only consolation, it seemed, was the thought of being there to see it, and, in the best of cases, have the opportunity to say, “I always said this was going to happen, didn’t I, Lucinda?”

Insouciant, an insouciant boy:
The storm was breaking dramatically around the lighthouse, yet when Jem slammed the door it was not with haste, but with mere thoughtless impatience.
His father was putting his coat on in preparation for mounting the open stairs that led to the top of the light.
“This looks like being a big one, Jem,” the lighthouse keeper said. “We’d better close the shutters.”
“Are you worried?” Jem asked lightly. “Why, we’ve ridden out worse gales on board ship.”
“You’ve never experienced a storm on land,” his father said rather sternly. “Go close the windows.”
Jem did, but his lighthearted whistling as he made the rounds of the tiny, weatherbeaten house at the base of the light betrayed his carefree disrespect of the coming storm. This blithe lack of concern caused his father to frown as he came down the stairs from lighting the lamp.
“It’s going to be a rough night,” he said grimly. “Look at the clouds coming. We must be sure to keep the light burning.”
Jem squinted out over the ocean with the air of a hardened sailor. “Aw,” he said confidently. “We’ll be fine.”
His father looked down and met his son’s fearless eyes. He permitted himself a brief smile.
“Just listen to me and do as I say,” he said.
“Yes, sir!” Jem responded with a casual salute.