Friday, June 3, 2011

Synonyms for Hate

I hate crabgrass. But then, I also hate the word hate.

So, that was my minor dilemma yesterday morning, as I clawed at the small, hard, rocky patch of crabgrass I intended to replace with flowers. I was not in the best of moods anyway, having spent the previous hour trying to re-edit Broken Dolls amidst one whiney puppy (Jubie) who was not happy that she could not get into our bedroom to greet Stephen with a "good morning pounce." But he had a cold and hadn't slept well the night before, so I wanted to let him sleep in. The other culprit to my concentration was Bear, who couldn't decide if he wanted to be inside or outside.

Why not just put them outside, you might rightly ask? Unfortunately, we have a door to the outside in our bedroom, and if unsuccessful with their front door scratches and whines, they will promptly head to the bedroom door to scratch and whine - more disturbances to Stephen's sleep.

Anyway, back to hating crabgrass. Finally, I threw my hands up and decided morning was a good time to work in the garden anyway. As my writer friends might surmise, I was not very happy and figured I could take it out on the crabgrass.

As I stooped over with my weeding tool in hand, vituperatively grasping and clawing at the long strands of stubborn, virulent grass, I decided I hated it. However, that thought was immediately followed by, "Hate is an ugly word. Come on, you're a writer. You can think of a better one than that."

So, I imagined myself in Word, right-clicking on the word "hate" to get the synonyms. I thought of disdain and detest. Now that I have access to Word, here are a few that are listed:

abhorrence
detestation
odium
revulsion

Unfortunately, these are all nouns. I needed a verb.

So, in writing this blog, I checked out the "hate" verbs on the Thesaurus page of dictionary.com. Here are a few of those:

abhor
abominate
loathe
shun

I like loathe. I LOATHE crabgrass.

As I gnashed my teeth with the thought, I decided hating-loathing-resenting-disdaining, was not a good frame of mind to be in at the start of the day. So my next thought was, "Come on Jan, think of something positive."

Hmmm . . . what could be positive about crabgrass??

Here's what I came up with:

1)  A blog! There's got to be a blog in this somewhere! How long has it been since you've posted a blog anyway, you naughty girl?

2)  A simile! There must be a way to use crabgrass as a simile in your writing.

Sachi knew her Christmas present had to be hidden somewhere in that closet, and like crabgrass, her curiosity spread to the deepest, darkest corners, insistent on choking out Mama's hiding place.

Not too bad, but perhaps a little contrived.

I continued to plunge my weed claw into the rocky soil, while earthworms squirmed around with every patch of dirt and grass I attacked. Though I tried to avoid the poor, squiggly creatures, a few became casualties of my war on crabgrass.

There was another simile. Editing my manuscript - removing clich├ęs, wordiness, awkward dialogue, purple prose - is like pulling literary crabgrass. Though it all needs to removed, it must be done with care, lest I kill the "earthworms" to the story.

Boy, oh boy. Only a writer could come up with that one. And that made me smile.

6 comments:

  1. Great blog! My favorite among your fine selection of words: vituperatively. It's hard to go wrong with an adverb; every sentence should have one or more. ;)

    I also like your idea of noticing an annoyance, then converting it into a metaphor. The usual process of trying to devise a metaphor when one is needed, doesn't work so well.

    And recycling crabgrass is commendable, because into each life some crabgrass must fall (sprout? take root?)

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  2. Loved your post! Me? I simply HATE crabgrass!

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  3. Thank you, ed_quixote and Linda!

    ed_quixote, now I need to (once again) look up the difference between metaphor and simile. :)

    Linda, forget the synonyms! You just made it okay for me to HATE crabgrass. :)

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  4. This is a good contest idea, Jan. Turning major annoyances and pet peeves into metaphors. I think you're really onto something here.

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  5. I hate the word "loathe." What were they really trying to spell Lathe, Love, Lather? Why didn't they just use Hate? Got a kick out of your blog.

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  6. Russell, what a great idea! I may use that as a writing prompt, and I can't wait to see what you come up with!

    Oscar, "loathe" is an odd word, isn't it? It's very sound is loathsome. :) Glad you liked it!

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