I thought I'd do the exercise that Susannah started over at Ink on My Fingers. I asked her to email me a letter since it seemed genuinely random that way, and sure enough, she sent me "M," a letter I never would have chosen. I can think of nothing wrong with M, in fact there are many proper names I love that start with M. But regular old words, or grand words, they don't tend to start with M for me, which may be why I kept coming up with French ones. I also seemed to pick words for their musical qualities over their substantive meaning. It was nice to spend some time with M.
Mouth. I love this, as noun and verb, because you have to say it with your mouth, and mouth it at the same time, which makes me laugh. I've seen the verb spelled "mouthe" before, which looked right to me, but I don't think it is.
Mange. Not like mange in a dog (yuck) but the French word for eat, as in "mange tout," or "eat all," as in the sugar snap peas growing on my kitchen table. Just pronouncing this word is so sensual and decadent that it makes me hungry.
Manqué. Again with the French. Such a funny, great word, encompassing what might have been. As I leave behind career after career, I worry that my life's work is to be a manqué, but the word sounds so lovely that it makes it o-qué.
Méconnaissance. Yes, I know this is getting ridiculous, but even though I typically write at my emotional (teen) level, I am a grad student. I love this Lacanian word that basically means misrecognition, and he uses it a lot in speaking about the formation of self that comes with looking in the mirror for the first time. It's all very deep, but it has to do with the relationship between outer reflections and subjectivity. I'm sure that this is playing out in some way in the Unravelling class.
Magpie. I don't know anything about these birds. I'm not sure I've ever even seen one. But the combination of syllables and sounds is the most charming thing. There isn't a better word anywhere, I'm sure of it.
Marigold. Who doesn't love these prolific little flowers that try so hard protect tomatoes? And they are edible!
Midge. A fly so small as to be invisible. Have you ever seen a midge? But we know they're there. And it rhymes with smidge, smidgen. Also Barbie's freckled friend. I remember swiping my sister's Midge doll when I was little.
Madrigal. Brings up visions of gorgeous gowns and gay dances in period films. I also love the order and repetition.
Meshuganah. Just so darn fun to say. And we all know some.
Mayfly. I want to cry just thinking of the mayfly. What else could be so poignant?
I also thought about mistress, mademoiselle, maple, mettle, moxie, and my trusty, long-term companions, melancholy and malaise. Can you think of any others?