Monday, July 7, 2014

Notebooking Daily Exercise July 7, 2014

July 7:

Zigzag is, in my opinion a great word. First of all, two non-sequential Z's. But also add to our word bank zigzag's synonyms: jagged, oblique, diagonal, serrated, snaking, undulating.

Now take a look at Scott Kreeger's amazing short story "Zigzag. Yeah." which was published in the New Ohio Review, a really quality literary magazine that prints accessible yet thoughtful writing. After you read the story click on the jump for today's exercise.

The extreme repetition of "zigzag" in Kreeger's story evokes a sensation known as Semantic satiation. Most people have experimented themselves with the phenomenon where the repetition of a word causes it to temporarily lose meaning. It can happen when anaphora goes wrong, but in this case, Kreeger utilizes its disconnecting effect to mirror the narrator's disconnection to the dysfunction of his situation.

This is an amazing piece of terse fiction. That said, today, we're working beyond anaphora. Anaphora is the rhetorical device of repetition of a certain part of speech to emphasize its impact. Use either a synonym for zigzag or any word from previous wordbanks and use it as a mantra. Begin with short sentences which make sense using the words, but work in a few places where the words is completely or at least mostly out of place (as in, if your word is "falling" add something like "falling into the sky" but better).

While Kreeger could be said to use anaphora, it's really not so, it was repetition to a calculated end. It wasn't an attempt to mute a word, but to use that almost nonce word until it developed the meaning of distance, of anesthetic. Maybe, I mean, who am I? I never claim to absolutely understand how others mean their own words. I just know I really adore this piece, and have probably read it a gross times, maybe some disgusting amount of times more. And I really hope that you all pass it along in any way you can. Print up leftover business cards with the url:


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