Monday, June 28, 2010

Anybody know where I can find a frock?

Main Entry: frock 
Pronunciation: \ˈfräk\
Function: noun
Date: 14th century
1 : an outer garment worn by monks and friars : habit
2 : an outer garment worn chiefly by men: a : a long loose mantle b : a workman's outer shirt; especially : smock frock c : a woolen jersey worn especially by sailors 3 : a woman's dress

When chatting with a dear friend from Tennessee last week I mentioned I needed a new frock for a dinner I'll be attending in a few months. She laughed because the word 'frock' is not in her vocabulary and she thought a frock must be a sort of smock or apron. 

I must admit I don't use the word frock much at all. I was playing with my words, and just like the use of the word 'scullery' which I love to employ for the sheer fun of it, I think I used frock in the same way. 

Friends in Australia would have understood I meant to say "I need a new dress." My friend from the US was mystified and wondered why I would think to wear an apron to a banquet dinner.

Words are funny. They unite us and create bonds which last a lifetime. Just think of the 'in jokes' you share with a friend or family member. All you need to say is one word and the mischief is stirred afresh. Words are well known for causing division too. One word can conjure the memory of heartache or insult years after it was flung in anger. Thankfully, words can heal when wounds need tending.

I play with words every day. I create mischief for my characters and use their words to move the story along. It's fun and I can delete and recreate my scenes if I don't like the words I choose. 

Not so in real life. Some words can never be unheard. Once spoken they are not ours to take back anymore. God warns us of the power our words can yield. We are encouraged to think before we speak and use them for good. 

I don't know anyone who doesn't have regrets about words spoken in haste. They slip out before we  have a real chance to censor our thoughts and we are faced with having to make amends.

Proverbs 12:18 Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.

When I sit to write each day I pray over my words. My desire is for a great story which will touch the hearts of those who read it. When my characters' lives are pierced to the point of misery, I want God's words to bring healing. This is my desire for the pages of my story... and the pages of my life.

Have you ever struggled to make sense of a word not commonly used in your part of the world? I'd love to hear about it.