Last year I bought a “Word A Day” desk calendar in a charity shop, and although I’m not doing them daily, I’m using them as prompts to freewrite a short passage. These are the ones I’ve done this month.
Day 101: Bobbery (noun). Uproar, brawl.
They were men! They were strong! They were wise! They were powerful! They wore the scars of battle, and of victory! And as they chugged yet another tankard of mead, they silently thanked their wives for permission to come to the pub.
Day 102: Doited (adj). Aged, decrepit.
I had been fooled, all those years ago. He had been so handsome, so suave, so charming. He had swept me off my feet with promises to cherish me forever. I wasn’t to blame. What lovestruck 19 year old ever thought to ask if immortality came with eternal youth?
Day 103: Filibuster (vb). To make a long-winded speeches to waste time in an attempt to stop legislation being passed.
I waited outside the hall, not quite senior enough to be awarded a place at the senator’s side. But it was more interesting out here. Inside, old men filibustered. Outside, the aides and staff shared gossip.
Day 104: Imbricated (adj). Overlapped like roof tiles.
There were many of us. Old lady Franks took in any stray who needed a home. Runaways, orphans, fugitives. We worked her farm and she fed us, and loved us and gave us a warm and safe place to sleep. There were 31 of us, all asleep on the soft floor of the barn attic – our feet overlapped.
Day 105: Laodicean (adj). Apathetic.
When I was young I cared about everything. Global warming, the war, the bees. And I would spend all time worrying, and being what they used to call an “activist”. There was little left to care about now. The planet was dying – almost dead. For all our care and worry, my generation was already centuries too late.
Day 106: Misogamy (noun). Hatred of marriage.
I’d never known a happy marriage. My parents had divorced when I was 10 and in the 20 years since I’d had a multitude of stepmothers and stepfathers. Now my parents were old and bitter and miserable. Marriage had warped them from carefree, fun-loving young parents to grumpy misers who hated the world and everything in it.
Day 107: Paranymph (noun). Bridesmaid or groomsman.
My sister was the type to hold a grudge. At my 10th anniversary she still resented me and my husband for eloping. She’d had her heart set on being a bridesmaid, apparently, and we had robbed her of her life’s dream. She would bring it up in every conversation. How so and so was a bridesmaid this year, and with each conversation my husband and I were more and more glad we eloped.
Day 108: Raxed (adj). Stretched out.
It was my favourite piece of equipment in the deep purple padded room. I liked the whips and the chains and the wheels and the frames, but it was the Rack that always excited me most. I begged him to put me on it.
Day 109: Toxophilite (noun). An archer.
Superheroes were normal now. Everyone had seen one, everyone had been rescued by one or knew someone who had. Everyone had the photos and the autographs. The whole shebang was almost passe – until The Archer arrived.
Day 110: Zeitgeist (noun). Spirit of the age, outlook of a particular period.
Today just proved my theory. I’d had a gut feeling for years that I didn’t quite fit in. And today, at prom, I found my proof. My peers spend all year planning and preparing for “the biggest night of their life”. Prom was their zeitgeist.