Actions Speak Louder Than Nouns

My previous post being a self-description in verbs prompted me to think of the nouns that reflect who I am. I was not surprised to find far fewer words for my list. Proof that you can call yourself whatever you want, but it’s what you do that shows who you are. And what am I?

Nurse. Mother. Grandmother. Wife. Lover. Friend. Counselor. Confidant. Writer. Reader. Researcher. Editor. Reviewer. Student. Teacher. Housekeeper. Cook. Planner. Buyer. Dancer. Dreamer. Designer. Quilter. Seamstress. Neighbor. Witness (to the world around me).

This is not a narcissistic exercise, but more a flexing of the character-development muscles. Action determines who you are and so what better way to paint a portrait of your characters than by using verbs. How better to explain their personality, idiosyncrasies and tendencies than by showing what they do?

Who and what the characters are matters to story as well, but not as much as what they do. One could say that verbs give life meaning. Verbs give life. Imagine reading a story where nobody does anything. Or anything of consequence. How long would that keep your attention?

In my fiction writing studies during the past six months, I kept hearing the same thing over and over. Build a strong character, make her want something and then make her suffer before she gets it (happy ending) or doesn’t get it (tragedy). During the course of this suffering, she has to fight little battles until she gets to the one big major battle that will determine what her life will be from then on, or if it will even be.

Thinking about all this made me see myself as a character. And what better way to practice than to put yourself under a linguistic microscope, if you will, for the sake of learning. Besides, didn’t Socrates say the unexamined life is not worth living?

Doing this “examination” was somewhat of a revelation. A positive one. It helped me see that though I faced many hurdles along the way, as most of us do, I managed to do a lot. And I know that my monster battle, what makes me suffer, is RA. That battle is locked and the winner shall be determined one day.

But meanwhile, I’m still here. Alive and kicking! Ready to write more and continue with my studies. I was tempted to do adjectives, but I won’t. And adverbs, forget it. Those -ly words are persona non grata, though personally I feel they have their uses. Oops, I said ‘personally.’

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