Monday, June 29, 2009

May I Have a Word?

The book that sends me to the dictionary today is Perelandra, by C.S. Lewis. But first: I have decided that if I could write like any author who has ever lived, I would choose Lewis. Surprising, ne'st pas? But it's true. His language is modern, clear and strong, and his analogies are a source of terrible envy. They are razor sharp, and when he employs one, you always understand his concept better. He never wastes words or rambles (a terrible habit of mine), and though his writing is very rugged, he can still be beautiful.

So, something to consider today. Who would you write like if you were given the option?

In the meantime, Perelandra is no Herculean task like A Thread of Years, but I did have to look up mandrill, which Merriam-Webster defines as "a large baboon (Mandrillus sphinx syn. Papio sphinx) of central Africa west of the Congo River with the male having a bright red and blue muzzle."

The quote:
He remembers seeing the Enemy for a moment looking not like Weston, but like a mandrill, and realising almost at once that this was delirium.
The second item I had to research was not a quote but a poem, a reference to The Battle of Maldon. Here's the reference:
Once he was actually astride the enemy's chest,, squeezing it's throat with both hands and - he found to his surprise - shouting a line out of The Battle of Maldon...
Here's a bit o' the poem:
Now room is meted you, come swiftly to us,
Warriors to war. Only God knows
Who at the end shall possess this fight's field.
I don't know if those are the lines Ransom shouts out during his battle with the enemy, but they seemed appropriate. If you're curious, here's the whole thing.
It goes without saying that if I were to write like Lewis, I'd also need his prodigious smarts.


Megan said...

Do you think that a) CS Lewis and all his contemporaries just used words like mandrill all the time and were just that much smarter than we are; b) only CS Lewis used words like mandrill and his buddies would say "dude, just say baboon if you meant baboon; or c) he didn't know that word either, but didn't like baboon in the sentence and went to the dictionary to find another word? B or C would make me feel better.

Our Heroine said...

B or C would make me feel better too, but I think it's A. Does it help to know our vocab has a depth that his lacked? For example, would he have known what LOLz, ROFL or OMG!!! meant, right? So who's really the smart one? (don't answer that.)