The Right Word
On this date in history, June 26 1963 to be exact, this faux pas registered:
US President John F. Kennedy gives his famous "Ich bin ein Berliner" (intended to mean "I am a Berliner", but may actually mean "I am a doughnut") speech in West Berlin.
There are many examples of how much the right word in the right place at the right time makes all the difference. This example is not a weighty one. Hey, it’s summer, the sun is shining and I want to keep light.
But speaking of shining, I have always found the writerly edict to make sure every word shines to be absurd. Impossible, for one, and subjective to boot. It makes writers work themselves into a tizzy, often messing up perfectly good narrations.
Searching for just the right words is part of the process. This, especially when something nags at the writer that it just “isn’t right.”
One well-known trick is to click on the word and look at the scroll-down menu for “synonyms.” Still not quite right? Replace with a closer one, and click on its synonyms. I’ve done this in quadruplets. At a certain point, either the right one shows on the menu or the wee brain has an epiphany. Maybe it’s not the word, maybe it’s the sentence. Or maybe the paragraph or, goodness, the whole story.
Usually the right word settles, and once resting comfortably among the others, it’s sweet. Doughnut-sweet.
Or as we now write in the former colonies, donut. The spelling has to be "juste" right as well.