Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Um, um, what is that word again?

I know the topic I am discussing today has happened to everybody. If you claim it does not happen to you, then I will right here and right now call you a boldfaced liar. I simply will not accept the fact that anyone has this good of a memory.

Forgetting a word.

I banged my head into the wall (figuratively speaking) because I was trying to remember a certain breed of cat (I know I have readers here who do not like cats - bear with me) to put into my stalker story. See, when my main character, George, is hiding under the tablecloth in the women’s apartment as the naked roommate comes downstairs (guy readers, stop salivating) shushing the little Pomeranian dog named Pipples (yes, I can’t believe it either that someone would be so cruel as to name their pooch that), he finds a cat sitting in a chair.

Now George does not like cats (stop clapping, cat-haters) because when he reaches out toward it, his skin starts to peel off his hand as the bones dry and crack. Anyway, the cat does not like George because it knows what he is (I have not learned cat-speak yet to ask and the moment I mentioned the skin peeling thing to my plot-spoiler woman, she ran out of her tiny room screaming in terror - so I DON’T KNOW WHAT GEORGE IS EITHER AND I AM UP TO CHAPTER 5 . . . ARRGH!)

Ahem. Anyway, I have this cat raising its fur in fear so it looks like it is twice its size. I wanted a certain breed without saying “a long-haired cat” and I could see the type of cat in my mind. Yet the breed of it was deep inside my brain’s knowledge database and I kept getting a busy signal because my mental librarian had taken a lunch break.

It was so annoying. The word was there on my tongue, tap-dancing across teeth and telling me that I needed to floss more, and I could not bite down on what the name of the word was. I sort of only had the first letter: A.

Well, I knew most breeds of anything were usually named after a country. So I thought of all the countries with the letter A. Afghan was the only word popping into my mind. But it was not the one I wanted.

So I grabbed my trusty Webster’s Dictionary and began leafing through the A section. I stopped by Afghan, shaking my head when I saw no Afghan cat, and continued scanning the words as I waited for the librarian to return. I heard the door creak open in my head. The “Out to Lunch - Be back in Five Minutes” sign was taken off her desk.

The word popped into my head. Angora.

I skipped to the entry and read about this type of cat. Then I discovered that Angora cats were similar to another type of cat, which was the REAL WORD that I wanted to use all along and was the mental cat picture flashing before my eyes.

So I typed in “A Persian cat” as he hissed at George and George hissed back unable to leave the kitchen because the woman’s naked roommate was nearby. I kissed the cover of my dictionary in thanks and shackled the librarian to her desk.

Forgetting words, is there ever a _______ situation for a writer?

Um, what is that word I want?


  1. How about 'dafter'? Know what you mean, though. X

  2. Hate when that happens. And it's getting more and more often. Have to resort to charades & it's humiliating.

    I'd have guessed "Satan's Sidekick" for the breed in question.

    Hugs from the avowed cat-hater. :)

  3. Oh, been there. And I also feel really stupid when I space out on spellings. No, not on hard words. I'm talking like the word "doll."

    Yes, one time I spent several minutes trying to remember how that was spelled. "Dole?" "Dall?" "Dol?"

    Sigh, just writing about it makes me feel like an idiot again.

  4. I call 'em brain farts, personally. Also, Pipples is a hilarious name.

  5. *I am doing these comments quick today. The electricity keeps flashing. So if I miss responding to someone's comment, I'm probably without power again.*

    Jinksy: Dafter? Good one!

    Angie: It does seem to happen everyday. I got up this morning and could not for the life of me remember a word that was similar to instigator. I had to look it up again. Took me almost fifteen minutes to figure it out. "Troublemaker."

    "Satan's Sidekick?" Why am I not surprised. Haha!

    Natalie: Ohh! I hate misspelling small words. My nemesis is rhythm, and I messed up three times right now typing it in. Also I replace simple words with others: down/done, while/will, to/too. Hate it!

    Heidi: If they are brain farts, then I am stinking up my mind with them on a daily basis. Someone pass me the Beano. Haha! Thanks for reading my blog and stopping by!

    Oh, as for Pipples, I needed a funny name for the dog. The cat is named Sydney Poitier for the actor. No, not Satan's Sidekick, Angie.

  6. I so recognize this; I keep forgetting especially names! Sometimes it almost feels like my brain will overheat, when I am trying to remember the words or name.;)
    As English is not my native language, the only suggestion I can come up with for your missing word is "worse".;))

  7. It's your story, hell, make one up. If anybody has a problem, too bad. Again it is your story.

  8. Worse and worse as you get... um... old. Yeah, old. That's the word.

  9. I have that problem and an additional one: since I (try to) write in English and I actually am Dutch, I often know the Dutch word, but can't think of a similar English one that expresses the same thing (dictionaries do not always help) and.....the other way around, know the English word, but can't think of the Dutch one, which makes me look like a real 'aansteller'. What's that in English? Uhm..affectationousysomethingoranother. You know!

  10. Protege: Names. Ugh! I am horrible with names.

    Oren: True. I could make the cat an elusive breed like the Snagglepuss from the gobo islands. lol!

    Suldog: You? Old? Never!

    Carolina: I never considered how much harder it is to coe up with english words when it is not your native tongue. I do like the english translation for "aansteller." It works for me. :)

  11. Hey Michelle! I'm here, so it looks as if whatever you did fixed the problem!


  12. Kathryn: Thanks for the help and the heads-up, (along with reader, Buck) about the blog problem. When I find me those hackers/cybersquatters, I'm gonna wring me some necks!

  13. i read somewhere one must let farts fly as they bubble up, else they percolate into the brain, giving you shitty ideas :O lol

    methinks the word you want:

    antidisestblishmentarian ;)

  14. laihgingwolf: I like that saying! Very nice! I'll take antidisestablishmentarian or whatever.


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