I’m currently reading Stephen Fry’s Moab is My Washpot, which is the first part of his autobiography. I have admired Mr. Fry for some years now as an actor and writer, and I fell more deeply in awe of him when I listened to the Harry Potter audiobooks that he narrates because of his incredible range of voices, accents and tones. His regular speaking voice is, in itself, impressive as well.
What strikes me most about him when reading his autobiography is his love of language. He loves words for the sheer look of them, the sound they make, the way the tongue feels as it moves to create a consonant in the mouth. Inspired by him, I spent an hour happily reading aloud the titles of books I was vacuuming dust off of – I especially enjoyed titles like The World According to Garp, Smiley’s People, and Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas because of “Garp,” “People,” and “Vegas,” all words that are fun to say. Go ahead, try them out.
The second thing that Mr. Fry has inspired me to do is read the dictionary. I know, aren’t I exciting? But seriously, I look up words online more often than not, and I never get to see an odd word or two that way. So, in order to kick-start myself, I’ve decided to find five new (to me, that is) words in my big copy of the OED, and use them in sentences:
1. Stephen Fry didn’t suffer from dyslalia when he was young, because there was nothing wrong with his speech organs – he eventually learned to articulate his speech properly so that others could understand him.
2. There was a point in time when I thought my eating disorder was insuperable, but I’m doing much better now.
3. Many politicians are perfidious.
4. The gems in animated films are always so exaggeratedly rutilant. I doubt that real precious stones are every quite so twinkly and red.
5. On the road to Jerusalem, there’s one clough that always reminds me of the valleys by my grandparents’ house in Los Angeles.
And that, boys and girls, was probably enough of that for now.