Thursday , May 23 2024
I'm hopelessly addicted to the plague of excessive word use and love of the English language.

Might As Well Face It, I’m Addicted To Words

I have a problem and the only thing for it is to confess to it and get on with my life. I don't know if they hold meetings for this or not, sort of like Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) does for alcoholics, but I will stand up in this public venue and say to you: My name is Richard Marcus and I'm addicted to words.

It's true. I have no control over this compulsion to use as many words as possible when writing something. If I can use two, even three words, instead of one, I will. Why else would there be such a creature called an adjectival phrase if we're not meant to use it?

I know that's a heretical way of thinking in these days of less equals more, where people communicate via text messages that have turned language into a series of coded short forms that rob it of any passion. But I can't help myself — in fact, just thinking about txt msg makes my need to be verbose become so strong that it will take wing like a flock of starlings in full fall flight, twisting and spiralling across the skyscape in an amazing display of natural synchronicity; and the words will dance across the screen of my laptop with no regard for propriety or fashion.

See I did it again, right there in front of you, on a public site. I dared to use adjectival phrasing to create imagery that may or may not have been pertinent to what I was writing about, but was an expression of what I was feeling at that precise moment in time. Were they tangential, excessive, self-indulgent flights of fancy, so to speak? I'm sure many of you would answer in the affirmative and wonder what was my point in doing so.

There never is a point — I just do it. I can't just have one word, or write socially, I have to take it seriously all the time, and write as if my life depends on it or I start to feel sick. Have you ever seen anybody go through word withdrawal? Believe me, it's nasty. The worst are the poets, wandering around slackjawed and drooling, occasionally stopping their endless pacing and literally grasping at the air with their hands in an attempt to grab hold of a thought or stanza that might be floating through their heads.

It's not like I spew them out all at once, you know; I usually utilize them over a few pages so as not to nauseate or sicken by too quick an intake, but the result is still the same — an overabundance of words. In fact, it seems that by stretching it out and prolonging the experience that I somehow exasperate the situation instead of achieving my intended purpose of trying to provide some relief from the excesses of my affliction.

For affliction this is, and like any other illness, verbosity has its symptoms and causes, of which the former are obvious and the latter myriad and tedious in their detail. Sufficient to know that like any other addiction the reasons lie buried within the psyche of the afflicted and need to be revealed through the careful pulling back of layers of memory, in much the same way as the dance of the seven veils exposes mystery after mystery as each piece of coloured silk wafts to the ground, until the final core stands naked and exposed.

What childhood trauma or early life experience could cause a person to contract an undying love of the English language? What horrible experience makes it necessary for them to fortify their sentences with bulwarks of indomitable predicates, nouns, pronouns, similes, allegories, analogies, and metaphors? Were they made to memorize pages of the dictionary or simply forced to suffer through one too many classes on post-modernist theory?

Or has it just been, as in my case, a reaction to what they see as the simplification of the English language down to the level of simpletons? As the world strives to cater to an ever lower and lower common denominator, there are going to be those who sicken at the sight. Their illness will manifest itself within the context of their creative field; thus for musicians it will happen in how they choose to perform and what, painters in what they choose as subjects and their methods of depiction, and writers of course in their use of the tools at their disposal.

I wouldn't worry about it spreading out into the world at large; addictions aren't usually contagious, and treatments seem readily available in the form of corrective medications designed to allow people to function at a reduced capacity of intellect and emotion. Of course that doesn't mean there aren't going to be those who are unrepentant and unwilling to undergo treatment for their affliction, but they can continue to be marginalized with the concentrated efforts of everybody.

Unfortunately I don't think there is any hope for me any more, so you might as well give me up as a lost cause. I'm hopelessly addicted to the plague of excessive word use and love of the English language. I guess I'll just have to learn to live with it.

Can you?

About Richard Marcus

Richard Marcus is the author of three books commissioned by Ulysses Press, "What Will Happen In Eragon IV?" (2009) and "The Unofficial Heroes Of Olympus Companion" and "Introduction to Greek Mythology For Kids". Aside from Blogcritics he contributes to and his work has appeared in the German edition of Rolling Stone Magazine and has been translated into numerous languages in multiple publications.

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