n. a moment of awareness that someone you’ve known for years still has a private and mysterious inner life, and somewhere in the hallways of their personality is a door locked from the inside, a stairway leading to a wing of the house that you’ve never fully explored—an unfinished attic that will remain maddeningly unknowable to you, because ultimately neither of you has a map, or a master key, or any way of knowing exactly where you stand.
n. the glint of goodness inside people, which you can only find by sloshing them back and forth in your mind until everything dark and gray and common falls away, leaving behind a constellation at the bottom of the pan—a rare element trapped in exposed bedrock, washed there by a storm somewhere upstream.
n. a hypothetical conversation that you compulsively play out in your head—a crisp analysis, a cathartic dialogue, a devastating comeback—which serves as a kind of psychological batting cage where you can connect more deeply with people than in the small ball of everyday life, which is a frustratingly cautious game of change-up pitches, sacrifice bunts, and intentional walks.
pronunciation | “bi-blE-‘oth-e-“ker-E
n. a flash of real emotion glimpsed in someone sitting across the room, idly locked in the middle of some group conversation, their eyes glinting with vulnerability or quiet anticipation or cosmic boredom—as if you could see backstage through a gap in the curtains, watching stagehands holding their ropes at the ready, actors in costume mouthing their lines, fragments of bizarre sets waiting for some other production.
- Eglantine - another name for sweetbrier
- Embouchure - The mouth of a river
- Ersatz - Being an imitation or a substitute, usually an inferior one; artificial
- Gossamer - Something delicate, light, or flimsy
- Languor - Lack of physical or mental energy; listlessness
acosmist - One who believes that nothing exists
paralian - A person who lives near the sea
aureate - Pertaining to the fancy or flowery words used by poets
dwale - To wander about deliriously
sabaism - The worship of stars
dysphoria - An unwell feeling
aubade - A love song which is sung at dawn
eumoirous - Happiness due to being honest and wholesome
mimp - To speak in a prissy manner, usually with pursed lips
n. a phenomenon in which your lived experience seems oddly inconsequential once you put it down on paper, which turns an epic tragicomedy into a sequence of figures on a model train set, assembled in their tiny classrooms and workplaces, wandering along their own cautious and well-trodden arcs—peaceable, generic and out of focus.
pronunciation | drap-et-O-mAn-E-a
note | Drapetomania first appeared in a pseudoscientific article by an American physician in 1851 as a “mental illness” that caused black slaves to try to flee captivity. It supposedly occurred as a result of a master treating their slaves like equals. But though the first usage of the word is deeply rooted in racism, it derives simply from the Greek δραπετης drapetos, meaning “runaway (slave)”, and μανια mania, meaning “frenzy”. I post this word with the knowledge that it has been used as a tool of racism, and I’m choosing to consciously separate it from that origin. I know that words can’t be redefined on whim—but I do think they can sometimes be redeemed.
n. a hypothetical conversation that you compulsively play out in your head—a crisp analysis, a cathartic dialogue, a devastating comeback—which serves as a kind of psychological batting cage where you can connect more deeply with people than in the small ball of everyday life, which is a game of change-up pitches, sacrifice bunts, and intentional walks.
pronunciation | “ep-an-or-‘thO-sis\
here’s a bonus word for today to make up for allowing unpleasantness to make it onto the blog, and as a promise that I’ll avoid it in the future. I’m sorry! back to business.
pronunciation | \I-‘rEn-ic\ (eye-REEN-ik)
pronunciation | \or-O-tund\ (OAR-oh-tund)