Words are like stones. Some are just nicer than others. Compare diamonds with gravel, and you’ll see. (Grrrrrravel) I think preposterous is an excellent word. Especially if you’re not distracted by its meaning. Contrast it with the word plug, perhaps not the English language’s most attractive offering. Plug sounds blunt. Aggressive. It’s applied to things that are not that inviting: toilets, eavestroughs, fake nickels or to troublesome body parts: ears, or worse, arteries, and—well—other bits. Even when it tries to be a good word, it just misses the mark. You can plug a gap, for example, but it sounds temporary, something that must be properly repaired. Later. When there’s time to do it right. If you’re a broadcaster, you can plug a product, but you’ll appear crass. Pushy.
Add a prefix, however, and you’ll change the dynamic. A simple “un” will make the transformation. The sound is peaceful—almost like the gentle vocalizations of one who’s meditating. Moreover, see the effect when you change plug to unplug. Much more positive. It’s liberating. It heralds a new beginning. Relief. It’s what I sought at the end of December when I pulled the plug on a 25-year career in the English department of MacEwan University. I retired. (Pause for cheers.)
Next. Now that’s a word. Demanding. Frightening. Some possible answers: More writing (sorry). Reading. Freelancing, possibly. Coaching new writers or ones who have been away from it for a while. Providing a fresh pair of eyes. A different perspective.
There’ll be more about all that later. Meanwhile, I’m resolved to read the New Yorker instead of merely collecting it. Slippers? Another fine word. Where are those slippers, anyway?