We readers and writers savour words on the tips of our tongues as does the wealthy man with his ‘tartes crustilliant’ and hors d’oeuvres at a sumptuous feast. So lovely to say serendipity, mint, perspicuous and frantic. They’re all wonderful.
So when that pesky question of what your favourite word is arises in a conversation or perhaps an infuriating writing assignment to be built around the elusive ‘favourite word’, what do you say…what do you write about?
Twenty years in and I did not have an answer until reading a lovely book called The Miniaturist and it suddenly struck me, reminding me how powerful the right string of words can be in invoking memories long forgotten and emotions one can’t express.
So my favourite isn’t one but in fact two…
On reading the sentence containing those words, I was taken to an afternoon in the month of March where the cold is biting and the frost bite nips at your ears, reddening them. Those afternoons where the sun shines and lights up the ice cemented to the road and sleeping on the fields, a wondrous crystal surface on the ground. Your cheeks are warmed by the rays and it’s such a thrilling paradoxical feeling of being cold yet warm all at once, like you’re on the brink of two sides, tapering on it.
How beautiful it it sounds, how wonderful it is. The contrasting joy in feeling warm amidst perpetual seasonal cold. When winter sunlight gleams down upon rouge cheeks and warms them teasingly is a feeling incomparable. If heaven had light like that then it is everything I’ve heard. Perhaps more.
I miss that feeling quite often, one of my favourite things about winter. I’ve always felt that it’s nicer to be warm in cold weather than cool in hot weather.
In searching for a relevant descriptive noun, I stumbled upon apricity. I can’t be sure of whether it’s urban, obsolete or utterly fictional but I’d gladly start a petition for it be an official word in the Oxford English Dictionary (it’s worthy of being there instead of words like selfie) and then that way, I’ll finally have just the one favourite.
p.s What’s your favourite word?
p.p.s I know it may seem like a preposterous dilemma to solve but it’s a satisfying one:)