Saturday, September 22, 2007


Cool news: my entry won the writing contest at Scribbit.

This made my day and almost made up for the fact that all week long I have been trying to work on various writing projects but have been thwarted at every turn by the realities of motherhood, teaching and housekeeping. I had to laugh as I read something today from Virginia Woolf’s A Room of One’s Own. She is arguing that a writer needs a room that is quiet (even soundproof, can you imagine!) where she can be alone to work. She says, “a work of genius is almost always a feat of prodigious difficulty. Everything is against the likelihood that it will come from the writer’s mind whole and entire. Generally material circumstances are against it. Dogs will bark; people will interrupt [may I add toddlers will climb on your lap and poke you in the nostrils as you type] . . . If anything comes through in spite of all this, it is a miracle, and probably no book is born entire and uncrippled as it was conceived.” Ah, Virginia, I may not be writing a work of genius, but I can certainly vouch for the crippling interruptions.

I've decided I’m in love with the word thwart and will henceforth strive to use it as frequently as possible. Thwart, thwart, thwart. You just don’t get much closer to a vowel-deficient freak of language than that. It sits right under thwack in the dictionary and contains words that mean “a hard tumorous skin growth” and “open armed conflict or military hostility” within itself. It has a taste of the onomatopoeia to it—say it a few times fast and it sounds like you’re shooting darts out of your mouth or maybe imitating the sound of a boat oar knocking someone upside the head, both things you might try if you were attempting to obstruct or defeat a person’s plans, which is what the word means.

I feel thwarted lately and so I hereby declare this National Thwart Awareness Week. You are welcome to join me if you so desire. Please aim your darts responsibly.


Laura said...

Congrats on your win, and congrats even more since you did it with "crippling" interruptions.

Great quote from Virginia Woolf.

And "thwart" is one of those words that should definitely have its own national day of celebration. I commend you for starting it.

bubandpie said...

I'd kind of forgotten about the word "thwart." I was very fond of it about eight years ago when I would often announce ominously, "I'm being thwarted" - and people knew to take cover.

Annie said...

Congratulations! Love your blog, and I hope you'll keep it up since you'll have even more fans, or supporters, or readers, or whatever you want to call them, now.

My Ice Cream Diary said...

I am constantly trying to thwart my son's warts.
Congrats on winning the contest, you deserved it with your lovely entry.

Geo said...

Perhaps we could organize a parade. And be-gowned royalty to ride on a float? Miss Thwart and her court. I'd wear sequins with you.

Dedee said...

Congrats on the win.

I like the word thwart too.

Abscond is good to say too!

Theresa Bakker said...

Oh, sweet Virginia. Love her. Not to disparage her, but it's obvious she did not have children. Have you read "The Writer on Her Work?" (Edited by Janet Sternburg) Several writers (Anne Tyler and Alice Walker among them) talk about the real life juggling of distractions and writing. So many stumbling blocks, so little time. I'm glad you're not thwarted for good. Natch.

Jennifer B. said...


Thanks for opening my eyes (ears, really) to the onomatopoeia of the word "thwart." It's perfect. Watch out laundry pile and dishes in the sink, "Ready, aim, 'THWART!'"

The Lazy Organizer said...

So does that mean there is a perfect composition inside me every time I sit down to write but it's being thwarted by children screaming, "COME WIPE MY BUM, COME WIPE MY BUM, COME WIPE MY BUM" from the other room?

Congratulations on your win!!!

Klutzmom said...

"Thwart" also contains the word "art" for whatever that's worth.

Congratulations on your win.