Tuesday, June 23, 2009


Is he peeing or spitting on the radiator of the Cord Phaeton? Usually I can guess a word from its context, but The Women by T. C. Boyle requires a dictionary within easy reach. I know a Cord Phaeton is the Lamborghini of the ‘20s but I’m stumped by the micturating activity of the young man.

Many words in this engrossing story of four very different women caught up in the tempestuous life of Frank Lloyd Wright require a pause for a definition. Normally I’d put the book aside as too cumbersome for leisure reading. In the skillful hands of a master writer, however, these words add to the picture of both the times and the character of a man I only know by reputation. I continue my start-and-stop method of reading with a sense of adventure.

  • My alimentary tract (was) on the verge of a fatal dehiscence. What a vivid way of saying his stomach was about to burst like a fruit releasing seeds or a flower splitting open to discharge its pollen.
  • He felt a single savage deracination… I groan as my body is pulled out by the roots and my soul weeps as circumstances displace it from its natural environment. I understand what it means to be uprooted in a new way.
  • He loved to talk … level judgments and animadversions. I add a marvelous word to my vocabulary for times I want to disguise my hostile criticism.

When I read I was a young man of urban inclinations, lost in the middle of Wisconsin farm country, I know I’ll never master Twitter. I’m a woman of a different generation who chooses to micturate or urinate rather than piss.

May the new words you discover today, add to your enjoyment.

Mary Ann