Pulling From Inout The Brain & Other Daring Voyages

MACRO FUTURE: Into Me, Out of Me

Sometimes my television glows in the night even though it hasn't been switched on for days. Often times, in the same bank of strangeness, my computer printer switches itself on without any regard for my own paranoid jumpiness (nor any actionable splinters), in which case I engage in cooling off after a few seconds; my gradualism in flames of ghastly curiosity. The rock is solid. So, so solid . . .(not "in the flames of withering justice.")

In H.W. Fowler's The King’s English:
"Among other arts and sciences, that of lexicography happens to have found convenient a neologism that may here be used to help in the very slight classification required for the new words we are more concerned with—that is, those whose object is literary or general, and not scientific. A 'nonce-word' (and the use might be extended to 'nonce-phrase' and 'nonce-sense'—the latter not necessarily, though it may be sometimes, equivalent to nonsense) is one that is constructed to serve a need of the moment. The writer is not seriously putting forward his word as one that is for the future to have an independent existence; he merely has a fancy to it for this once. The motive may be laziness, avoidance of the obvious, love of precision, or desire for a brevity or pregnancy that the language as at present constituted does not seem to him to admit of. The first two are bad motives, the third a good, and the last a mixed one. But in all cases it may be said that a writer should not indulge in these unless he is quite sure he is a good writer.

The couch-bunk under the window to conceal the summerly recliner.—Meredith.

The adjective is a nonce-sense, summerly elsewhere meaning 'such as one expects in summer'; the noun is a nonce-word.

In Christian art we may clearly trace a parallel regenesis.—Spencer.

Opposition on the part of the loquently weaker of the pair.—Meredith.


The verberant twang of a musical instrument.—Meredith.

A Russian army is a solid machine, as many war-famous generals have found to their cost.—Times.

Such compounds are of course much used; but they are ugly when they are otiose; it might be worth while to talk of a war-famous brewer, or of a peace-famous general, just as we often have occasion to speak of a carpet-knight, but of a carpet-broom only if it is necessary to guard against mistake.

Russia's disposition is aggressive ... Japan may conquer, but she will not aggress.—Times.

Though aggress is in the dictionary, every one will feel that it is rare enough to be practically a neologism, and here a nonce-word. The mere fact that it has never been brought into common use, though so obvious a form, is sufficient condemnation.

She did not answer at once, for, in her rather super-sensitized mood, it seemed to her...—E. F. Benson.

The word is, we imagine, a loan from photography. Expressions so redolent of the laboratory are as well left alone unless the metaphor they suggest is really valuable. Perhaps, if rather and super- were cancelled against each other, sensitive might suffice.

Notoriously and unctuously rectitudinous.—Westminster Gazette.

Some readers will remember the origin of this in Cecil Rhodes's famous remark about the unctuous rectitude of British statesmen, and the curious epidemic of words in -ude that prevailed for some months in the newspapers, especially the Westminster Gazette. Correctitude, a needless variant for correctness, has not perished like the rest.

We only refer to it again because Mr. Balfour clearly thinks it necessary to vindicate his claims to correctitude. This desire for correctitude is amusingly illustrated in the Outlook this week, which...—Westminster Gazette.

All these formations, whether happy or the reverse, may be assumed to be conscious ones: the few that now follow—we shall call them new even if they have a place in dictionaries, since they are certainly not current—are possibly unconscious:

The minutes to dinner-time were numbered, and they briskened their steps back to the house.—E. F. Benson. (quickened)

He was in some amazement at himself ... remindful of the different nature...—Meredith (mindful)

Remindful should surely mean 'which reminds', not 'who remembers'.

Persistent insuccess, however, did not prevent a repetition of the same question.—Times. (failure)

The best safeguard against any deplacement of the centre of gravity in the Dual Monarchy.—Times. (displacement)

Which would condemn the East to a long period of unquiet.—Times. (unrest)

Mere slips, very likely. If it is supposed that therefore they are not worth notice, the answer is that they are indeed quite unimportant in a writer who allows himself only one such slip in fifty or a hundred pages; but one who is unfortunate enough to make a second before the first has faded from the memory becomes at once a suspect. We are uneasily on the watch for his next lapse, wonder whether he is a foreigner or an Englishman not at home in the literary language, and fall into that critical temper which is the last he would choose to be read in.

The next two examples are quite distinct from these—words clearly created, or exhumed, because the writer feels that his style requires galvanizing into energy:

A man of a cold, perseverant character.—Carlyle.

Robbed of the just fruits of her victory by the arbitrary and forceful interference of outside Powers.—Times."

The inevitable suggestion, a huge mass of puffs and joints that sweep me by never go unlooked. Neologisms have been a part of me since my birth, like Indians in Okie Prisons many years ago. I remember the windows and how words were lead-colored on my tongue, like an "endless grey carpet of seabirds." To be translated into an uncharitably-received message on one side of the coin (Dylan: "The picture you have in your mind of what you're about ... will come true. It's kind of a thing you kinda have to keep to yourself. It's a fragile thing and if you put it out there, somebody will kill it, so it's best to keep that all inside. . .") to find the other coin, with age (with wisdom) comes from a point in ones life where, in my K-grade days, I read repetitively-fast in my circle of fellow classmates, often raising my hand more-so than others. I felt like a beautiful vase on a stone terrace, over-looking a sea of words (especially when the other students were reading; I'd have to often let my mind wonder about, losing my place in the text, because of the certain struggling woes of others, in which I'd attempt to 'correct' more-so than the teacher). Sometimes I wish I were a child again (physically) - a melody of flowing wind . . . a vague break in a dance-move, and a scattering of song (though my stage-fright was terribly phobic-like).

Stan Brakhage: "Window Water Baby Moving"

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