Wednesday, June 1, 2022

Prosaic – Wordplay Wednesday™ 06/01/2022

Once Upon a Time in my Diary... 

Most of the time I find these fun, odd, or skewed words for you, by chance, in something I read or often in a word game. This month, however, I became frustrated with Microsoft’s grammar police and sought out a word that would augment my soapbox rant ... 

PROSAIC (prō-ʹzā-ik; ca. 1656) adj. – 1) a. – characteristic of prose as distinguished from poetry : factual; b. – : dull, unimaginative; 2) : everyday, ordinary.  [WW-M #318] 

The first definition begins interestingly, as a word that simply delineates two forms of writing. However, whether its origin intent was to discriminate against prose as compared to poetry, that is seemingly what it does. Bottom line, prosaic represents banal and characterless writing, which is understandable, given the era it entered the dictionary (ca. 1656). At that time, many felt “real” poetry did not include prose. 

Although prose has gained mightily in popularity to an unmistakable respectability, there are still those who consciously or unconsciously treat it as second-class literature. Example to case in point from a successful website posting, “While prose is writing, poetry adds artistic style to writing.” I honestly don’t believe the snobbish comment was meant as such, but it demonstrates the elements of prosaic. 

Which brings me to my soapbox and real writing of all kinds—yes, even in your diary. With Microsoft Word’s grammar feature on, I recently wrote a sentence that read, “I am hopeful this is the day for a major breakthrough in my creative projects.” In a sentence like this, Microsoft underlined what it considers an errant phrase—major breakthrough. It insists that “More concise language would be clearer for your reader” by removing the word “major.”
      A word about Word. Much of the time, even for an experienced writer, the program is quite helpful. But too often, it seems the mighty Microsoft thinks “better” writing is prosaic and without personality. It wants us to strip expressive adjectives from our writing. But, it is precisely the adjectives that make writing more readable!


In a sample writing from Mark Twain’s
The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County, would you delete the expressive “exasperating”? ... it would remind him of his infamous Jim Smiley, and he would go to work and bore me to death with some exasperating reminiscence of him as long and as tedious as it should be useless to me.         It is by adjectives’ very definition, “... modifier of a noun to denote a quality of the thing named ... to specify a thing as distinct from something else...” which gives text (often referred to as prose) its character! The emphasis of a properly placed adjective expresses your written vision in a way that is relatable to your readers. It replaces prosaic with fascinating.

Monthly Song of Note ♪: 

For this month, a hypothetical scene is set before you as we travel back through time to JUNE 1972, when summer songs brought a poignant melody from Bread. “Diary” started up the chart near the bottom of KCBQ/San Diego’s Q Hits, making it up to #7 before heading back down. While it’s certainly more wistful than prosaic, it was later said to make a better showing as an easy listening tune.
For our June Wordplay, however, it gives us an opportunity to apply an antonym to prosaic lyrics by imagining a different scenario. Beginning with, I found her diary underneath a tree | And started reading about me ... Bread’s lyrics go on to a sadly sentimental vision of love ... and a lesson in why you shouldn’t read others’ diaries. But what different, dynamic imagery can you write? Go for it!

Word Challenge: PROSAIC. Whether you write poetry or prose, never compromise your writing, regardless of rules and opinions, as you fit prosaic into an imaginative month of lively writings and casual conversations.

Write first for yourself … only then can you write for others. (L.Rochelle)  

Cheers to learning a new word today!

Original LATE Note – LR / PFP NOTE 06/01/22: Try as I might, just couldn’t get the blogs up on time. I did it to myself—what was I thinking, writing three blogs, all to be posted on the same day? Sigh. Please come back later today (or tonight) for JUNE 1972’s thoughtful Wordplay ... Once Upon a Time in my Diary! Work in progress … and dictionary in tow ..

Wordplay Wednesday is currently created for your literary pleasure every first Wednesday of each month. Thank you for stopping by! Learning knows no prejudices or boundaries, and it isn’t harmful to your health! Expanding your mind is a no-cost, simple joy. Do you feel that way too? What’s your inspiration? Share your creative genius and Wordplay Wednesday comments.

[LinDee Rochelle is a writer and editor by trade, and an author by way of Rock & Roll. She has published two books in her Blast from Your Past series (of three) about pioneering R&R Radio DJs. True behind-the-mic tales make GREAT Holiday and anytime Gifts available on Amazon (eBook and print): Book 1Rock & Roll Radio DJs: The First Five Years 1954-1959; and Book 2Rock & Roll Radio DJs: The Swinging Sixties. Coming soon … The Psychedelic Seventies!]

LR Notes: 1) Dictionary definitions are quoted from Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary – Eleventh Edition, unless otherwise noted. Yes, we sometimes present them out of “official” context—but that’s half the fun! Think of it as “creative context.” 2) a] Recent dictionary additions to definitions include a date of first use, if known; b] words in small caps indicate “see also.” 3) Neither I (LinDee Rochelle) nor Penchant for Penning are responsible for how you use information found here, that may result in legal action.
       And please note, I do not receive compensation from any company or person for commercial or commodity links I may include in my posts.