A word walks into a writer’s brain



A word walks into a writer’s brain looking for a job. The writer takes the resume and looks it over.


You have an impressive work history. I see that you worked with Chaucer and have worked for every writer that uses the English language since then. Do you work in every genre?


The word blushes and nods.


Okay, let’s look at role in syntax. You’re an indefinite pronoun. That’s an exclusive club that no new words are going to get into anytime soon. You also do a lot of work as an adjective, but don’t seem to mind working as an adverb now and then.


The word shifts in its chair, unused to drawing attention to itself. It gazes out the window.


The writer looks up from the resume and peers over her reading glasses. The word looks good for its age, she thinks, yet it’s nothing special to look at. She’s familiar with it and has never given it much thought, but now that she sees its resume she’s impressed. She lays the paper on her desk.


How do you see yourself? What are your strengths and weaknesses?


The word detests questions like this and feels its resume should speak for itself. Writers can be such snobs when it comes to words, it thinks, but these interviews are necessary. We need each other; writers can’t express their thoughts without words, and words die if they aren’t employed.


The word adjusts its glasses and sits up in the chair. “Let me start with my greatest weakness. If I am used too much, the writing becomes vague and imprecise. I do my best work if I’m used sparingly. But, of course, I don’t really have a choice.”  The word wonders if this sounds like blame shifting, so it tries to think of another weakness. “I am plain-spoken and try not to draw attention to myself, so I suppose, a few people might consider that a weakness. I’ve never been on anyone’s favorite word list.”


“My greatest strength is my versatility. As you can see from my resume, I can work alone as a pronoun, adjective, or adverb, but I also work well with others. When I started my career, I spent hundreds of years modifying and hyphenating words that I later collaborated with to form single words. I also enjoy supporting other words as a suffix to create new adjectives. In that role I have worked with adverbs, nouns, and other adjectives.”


The writer stretched out her hand and grasped the word’s hand.


Can you start tomorrow?


“Yes,” the word said.


Okay, be at this blog tomorrow morning and we’ll begin.