Every now and then I do a blog on words that have suddenly become popular, but that I had rarely seen in print before. They are all good words, mind you. However, after decades, even centuries, of rarely being used in everyday speech or writing, they turn into “hot words” and seem to be everywhere.
My theory is that they spread as memes. Coincidentally, that is one of the current hot words.
The best explanation I have heard for meme was the one given on an episode of The Big Bang Theory, when Sheldon and Amy devised a rumor and tracked its speed and path of spreading. A meme is a behavior or idea that spreads through the culture in an almost organic way. When and if it reaches critical mass we say it has gone viral, or has become a fad. Normally that is when I become aware of it, which means that these words may have been on your radar for years before mine picked them up.
Another hot word is eponymous. This means something that has the same name as the person being discussed. If I were a singer and my first CD was titled Madeline Hunter, it would be an eponymous CD. In 1988 R.E.M. actually titled an album Eponymous instead of just leaving their name to serve as both artists’ identity and the title. Recently other bands have done that too, helping this word get hot. Of all of the current hot words, I think this one is the most useful. It efficiently says something that would take a lot of other words to say in another way.
A very recent hot word, breaking into mass popularity even as I write this, is quotidian. It means on a daily basis. I have seen this word inserted into about four news stories in the last couple of weeks. Journalists are very partial to words, and help them spread and maybe become hot. In the olden days when I subscribed to the old Newsweek, every issue had one word in one article that I had to look up. Only one, mind you. I suspect the editor made sure the journalists did not overdo the fancy word stuff and alienate readers. Anyway, I picture journalists reading “quotidian” in another journalist’s article and thinking “wow, cool word” and using it the next chance available.
Finally, there are hot words that are mostly hot within our community rather than the world at large. This is because they pertain to writing, and the world at large does not spend a lot of time talking about writing or books. Often these are among the words that academics use when discussing literature but they filter down into everyday use. There are always more accessible ways to say the same thing, but academics use the conventions of their discipline when talking the talk and accessibility is not a high priority for them. So literature academics use words like “discourse” and “agency” and, the current hot word to spread, “trope.” A few years ago you never saw romance writers or readers using this word, but now it is used all the time.
A trope is a common or overused plot device. One might even say it is a cliche, but that word cliche has negative connotations and appears judgmental regarding the plot device and its writer. So in romance it is nicer to say that a powerful alpha male initiating a young innocent is a trope, rather than calling it a cliche. (Note: trope has multiple meanings. It also means figure of speech.)
A word that is not yet a really hot one, but that I predict will become one in the next year, is hirsute. It means covered with hair, and is often used to indicate that a man has facial hair (even though it does not really mean facial hair specifically.) I think it will have a hot word flurry of favor because facial hair on men is coming back. Beards and mustaches are on the upswing in trendy areas, and have been gaining popularity in Europe for some years now. It was perhaps inevitable. When the hairless look got to the point where ads for shavers implied men needed to shave their private parts, the pendulum was bound to swing the other way.
Are you glad men will be hirsute again?
Can you think of a meme that really spread to where it was everywhere, and you have no idea where the heck it came from?
Do you have a name that would make for a good eponymous product?
Can you name some romance fiction tropes? Does their common use bother you?
Like all of you, I have read so many books in my life I have forgotten more than I remember. I have read some great books and some really bad books (at least until I finally decided life is too short and I wasn’t going to spend any more time finishing books that did not transport me). My reading habits have changed, and these days, if the book is too long, I won’t even crack it. I can’t commit! I yearn for the day I will feel like I deserve to sit in a chair and do nothing but read for hours. Right now, after about an hour, I feel like I should be doing something. Do you ever feel that way?
Anyway, I often get asked what are my favorite books. There are too many categories of books in my head to name favorites. I like some books for one reason, other books for another. But there are a handful of books always pop into my head when someone asks me about favorite books. I can’t say these are my favorites, but they are definitely books that have stuck in my memory and consciousness for years:
1. Harry of Monmouth by A.M. Maugham. This is the book I borrowed from my mother then refused to give back. It’s about Henry V, and he was such an interesting character that I have never forgotten him.
4. Rachel’s Holiday by Marian Keyes. You know, when you write romance, you have a lot of editors who want you to “perfect” your heroine. Make her likable, which often meant to make her flawless. This was the first book I read in which it kind of hit me that you could have a likable heroine who was really, really flawed. This book is a bit autobiographical (but fiction) and is about a young woman’s alcoholism that forces her to check into Betty Ford. But it’s funny.
5. The Devil’s Love by Julia London. It was my first book, published in 1998, and it was the book that told me I could do it. I remember almost everything about the writing of that book, how I would discover things as I went along, and the many, many things I wish I had known then that I know now. It’s definitely a freshman novel, but it was the one that made me say, okay, I think I can do this. .
Tell us about some books that have stuck with you and why? They don’t have to be favorites, just books that have stuck in your head for more than a few weeks.
A pictorial on How To Wear a Suit, starring MATT BOMER of WHITE COLLAR.
1. It’s all about the attitude.
2. If you’ve got the look, use it.
3. Even something as mundane as taking a call can look classy when done correctly.
4. Of course, what’s under the suit is important, too.
5. Very important.
Happy FROS, one and all! May your week be ‘suitably’ awesome!
When I get up in the morning, I have – as many of us do – a routine. Brush teeth, shower, don comfy clothes, feed dog, walk dog, make tea and breakfast, go to work. Now, as I do these things, I realized that I have adopted them because there is something I get from each: teeth and shower are hygiene and serve double duty to wake me up, feed Shadow – otherwise he gets testy, walk Shadow. This has a few purposes: let Shadow do his bidness and also it is now a lovely quiet time that I get to look at the neighborhood, spring coming about, the mountains in the distance and listen to the birds chirping happily away.
The tea is more for my enjoyment than for waking up, a habit I adopted last time I was in the UK. Tea does make many things better.
At work, I like to have my chair just so, my desk somewhat cleared off, clear view of fun, colorful things (like all my Disney and Pixar stuff) and either the windows open or the fan on. Each little thing helps make me more comfortable as I work. If I don’t like where my chair is or I have left too many pens all over my desk, I get irked and have to stop to put them back in their cup.
My bed has soft sheets and soft blankets that I have spent many a night changing about to get the proper combination for warmth and comfort.
I do love my creature comforts.
Simple things that bring something special to my day – consciously or subconsciously.
Occasionally, I’ll toss in some other things like lovely scented soap for my shower or a bouquet of flowers for my kitchen. Perhaps a little treat of ice cream or a bowl of popcorn.
Sometimes adding a little comfort or smile to my day is as simple as looking out the window at the mountains in the distance or laughing at some silly expression on Shadow’s face.
All these little things are my own creature comforts. Things or actions that just make the day seem like it’s on the right track and that I’m doing ok. Sure, I can live without any or all of them, but when they are all in place, my mind is much happier.
So what are some of your creature comforts? Do you have a morning routine that helps you get your day started on the right foot?