It’s my good fortune to have many wonderfully faithful friends of the two legged and four-legged kind. But I also have faithful friends of paginated persuasion. Among these, I am especially attached to my Roget’s Thesaurus. It was given to me by my beloved mom, Dorothy, many years ago. It’s a 5th edition and there have surely been more printed since then, but I will never part with this particular volume. In my tiny office, it sits on a tiny little chair with “Alexander” painted on it in bright red along with colored kits and balloons. My mom gave it to my son when he was just a little tyke and I adopted it after Alex outgrew it.
There’s rarely a day that goes by without my turning to my slightly dog-eared, ever-faithful cornucopia of juicy, exciting words. What a treasure! And to think that Shakespeare wrote his plays without either a dictionary or a thesaurus (see Sans Dictionary) — just amazing!
A while ago, a character in my YA novel said (this just shows you how far gone I am, I actually think my characters are alive and talking) something about a “difficult brew.” TOTALLY BORING adjective I thought to myself. So I pulled out my handy-dandy thesaurus and began rummaging around. I turned up quite a list: hard, trying wretched, miserable, troublous, troublesome, stressful, arduous, toilsome, strenuous, unyielding, knotty, thorny, burdensome, bothersome, vexatious, trying, grueling — and more!
Ultimately, I went with “troublesome, toilsome brew,” which I like about a thousand times better than what I started with. What a little adventure I went through among a thicket of synonyms to find the ones I chose! Just dipping into my well of words and seeing what my bucket pulls up makes me feel hopeful and excited about writing. Tools of the trade — how wonderful they are.