The elusive nature of nouns

Waiting on a horse

I considered entering NaNoWriMo again this year, but my work schedule is going to be too intense to give it the necessary concentration. In fact, most of my creativity has been a little unfocused lately. Scraps here and there, but no real center. Abstract wisps that blow away whenever I hold out my hand. A little disconcerting, but nothing unique for a writer.

I wrote a small post last week, “All the Nouns,” and, though I liked the way it turned out, it was a chore. Because the problem was with the nouns. Not a creative issue, but a memory one. More and more, I’ve been struggling with the names of things. I have a handy desktop app called WebWord that I’ve used for years as a handy dictionary/thesaurus. But if I can’t find the word in my head-top app, it’s hard to find what I’m looking for. I still have a good grasp of the language, but some words are so damned elusive. The world ‘spiral’ for instance. I knew it was the word I wanted, but could not grab it. A common word, but slippery. I can still plot a story in my head, and have a clear goal in mind, but sometimes a single word or two slows down the process. And I’m afraid I look like the village idiot whenever my wife looks over and sees me: mouth agape, eyes unfocused, trying to hunt down the right word. I mean, “spiral”? Really?

I know it’s not uncommon for someone my age (I turned 56 last month) to have memory lapses… missing car keys, where I left my wallet, why I opened the fridge, do we still have a dog? And I’ve always been a bit absent-minded (my folks called me The Absent Minded Professor when I was a boy). Memory is so abstract, but nouns are pretty precise.

I’ll keep working at it, and hunt down the words as needed, but some days it’s frustrating. Coupled with a very intense workload between now and Christmas, maybe I should stick with the camera for a while, do my edit work on A Very Tall Summer, and offer a good home to those wayward nouns.

Regardless, good luck to everyone doing NaNoWriMo next month! Awesome books ahead for all.  Be careful out there, and do hold onto those nouns.

24 thoughts on “The elusive nature of nouns

  1. The old memory is going for me too (at the age of 56). I seem to have more problems in the real world. The imaginary world remains intact, more of less, or at least I function better there. I’m doing NanoWriMo for the first time this year – the timing works, where it hasn’t in the past. I completely get the need to respect our own sense of timing 🙂

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  2. The memory thing is seeping into my day-to-day activities, and the writing is still mostly intact, just a little frustrating. I really was hoping to do NanoWriMo this year… I love the challenge and intensity, but my work schedule is awful. So the best of luck to you, and have fun with it! I have no doubt of your success. 🙂

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  3. I am 27. These days I am improving my Spanish, French and trying to read a good book again while I have to be alert to for irregular shifts full time.

    Two nouns in particular help through it all: sleep, coffee.

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  4. lol this is soooo me these days too! jello head…brain like a siv. little ordinary things elude and words escape me daily. it’s disturbing on some levels, but on others it just motivates me to take on a task like crosswords or memory games to help press the reset button. i refuse to let the fat congeal on top hahaha…no siree bob! i know you aren’t committed to Nano but if you decide you have the time and go for it, i’ll be right beside you in spirit. hugz my not-so-sparkly unicorn 😉

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    1. I still haven’t absolutely decided not to. I’ve got a strange little story waiting to come out, and this would be the perfect chance. Jello head…yes! That’s it! I think as long as I can keep writing, that’s all the mental stimulus I need. I’m terrible with crosswords and memory games, and my job keeps me on my toes. II like how you put it, refusing the let the fat congeal on top. Yep. So have you decided to take at a shot at Nano?


  5. Okay. There is hope for me yet. I’m not the only one sitting with mouth agape, staring into space, trying desperately to hunt down that elusive word that refuses to appear in my mind.

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    1. I think it’s a natural affliction for writers. Hemingway is said to have stored his writing drool in small glass containers for luck, though I guess he isn’t the best example. Tissues are good too, and three-ply are the best!

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      1. Oh gawd, there’s a visual. I hope those containers were colored glass. Dark colored. This statement really makes me reassess my entire perspective on Hemingway. Jeez. Hand me a tissue please. No. Just give me the whole box, will you?

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  6. Wordweb is awesome! It’s been a mainstay on my PC for ages. I had an idea for the memory thing: Concoct a particularly tasty(you get to chose!) beverage, which you give the power of restoring higher brain function and memory for the right words when ever you need them. For extra potency, allow it to sit for a day or two without sampling. Have this beverage right inside your refrigerator door for easy access. During writing sessions, as you start reaching for a sip each time the ‘noun bugs’ hit, it’ll restore you!

    Also, and you may know this already, but a few foods that allegedly help with higher brain function are: blueberries; walnuts; omega 3 oil(flax seeds); salmon, just to name a few. Hope this helps, my friend!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for the suggestion. I definitely need something to restore whatever higher brain function I have left. The problem may be that I have too much going on: writing time, work time, not enough sleep time, stress time. I’ve been purposely trying to cut back and relax more than I’m used to, and already I seem to be sleeping more deeply at night. I like the idea of having a cold drink at hand for those times when I’m running on empty. 🙂

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      1. If it’s a drink that feeds the brain, your brain will thank you! The sleep factor is important too… maybe as important as getting those brain nutrients.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. The struggle is real, my friend. Thankfully, the holidays are coming and we all know how relaxing they can be ::dripping sarcasm::. Yeah, most of the words I’m coming up with lately are censored. Hang in there!

    Liked by 1 person

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