Does this ever happen to you: while in the middle of writing, your thoughts narrow in on a concept, there is a word for it. A great word. The perfect word. The one that will make you look smart, but serious. You know it, you’ve read or heard it before. But you just can’t quite grasp it. Or you think you remember it, but can’t quite spell it correctly to find out if it’s right.
Well, you may have Lethologica: the inability to remember the right word. From the Greek myth of the river Lethe in Hades, of course; which apparently caused forgetfulness. Though, this begs a question: how does one know the river causes forgetfulness, when the river makes you forget? Maybe its selective. But never-mind this is not about theology.
Google usually fixes this problem, but sometimes it doesn’t. And you don’t have time to scroll through a list of words on some sketchy website.
The next recourse is to ask a friend or random stranger. But, this isn’t full-proof either and then you both feel stupid (or you just feel weird when the stranger looks at you funny and says nothing).
Crestfallen, you are forced to search for the alternative. The second best word for sure, just like your writing. Then it comes to you, perhaps as proof of genetic memory. The dictionary!
For those uninitiated, this is a book filled with words and their definitions, arranged in alphabetical order, along with a few other useful tidbits and sometimes even pictures!
Can I get one? On Amazon? How much are they?! Can they at least deliver in two hours? Oh wait, I remember! Maybe it was a bequest, or an ironic gift, or left over from my last roommate, don’t ask. In any case, its in a closet somewhere.
Finally finding it, and after blowing off the dust, I begin my intrepid search like a bygone philosopher searching an ancient script for long lost knowledge. A dictionary should be perfect as I remember the first letter, always the first letter (there’s probably a word for this phenomenon too).
But no. To my utter dismay and indicative of my second rate writing, I can’t find that elusive word. I know it exists, but my perfect prose will just have settle on “apropos.”
© 2019 W J Fitzgerald