Thursday, September 18, 2008


Originally uploaded by rod lewis
Yesterday when I woke, I had thoughts. So many thoughts pouring indiscriminately from my half-awake mind that I couldn’t get to my computer fast enough to catch them all. When I did get to my computer, I couldn’t type fast enough to turn them all concrete. When I looked back from my seat at the computer, there were thoughts strewn all about in a trail leading back to the bed from whence I’d sprung. Some of them lay there still recognizable and recapture-able – pick them up and blow three times on them and all is well. Some of them though, had already begun to melt. Little puddles of melted thoughts with soft, shrinking mounds in the middle like pats of butter in the omelet skillet.
Even so, there were still plenty left unspilt, or at least recovered to keep my fingers flying and my brain confused for a good while as I tried to sort them out and place them neatly in paragraphs that would make sense to me later.
I tried opening several blank documents and sorting them as they spewed forth, but I couldn’t shift between windows fast enough. Instead, I used the “cork board” in Scrivener and just tacked them up as fragments to be sifted later.
Everything came to a screeching halt when I typed the word “rivine,” and had to deal with the squiggly line beneath it. “hmmm,” I thought. I’ve used that word all my life. I dug around in my dictionary widget. Nothing. I googled, yahood,’d, you name it. I couldn’t find that word. Surely I’ve not used a word that doesn’t exist. Everyone has always known what I meant by it. I gorge, canyon, hollow, deep and steep. Come on dictionary, it’s a bit of land that has been riven by a stream, rent by an earthquake, or some other such earth-shaping action.
I ceased to think my thoughts and instead, obsessed on the word that had riven my flow of verbiage, had rent the very fabric of my stream of consciousness. Eventually, it occurred to me that since my correct etymology and spelling were unrecognized by the dictionary, perhaps I’d do well to misspell it purposely and trick the dictionary into finding it for me. So, I typed in “ravine.” Ha! I did it. I tricked the dictionary. I tricked google, and yahoo, and All of them said, “canyon, valley, a deep narrow gorge with steep sides.” See? Why would it be spelled that way? Allison said, “maybe it comes from the word, “ravish” instead of “riven.” No way! Way!

Ravine – from 18th c. French, Ravine – from Latin, rapina, to pillage, or rape.

Go figure.