Ludic, gelid, lambent

It’s writing group meeting on Friday, maybe the last time we shall have to meet virtually, zooming into each other’s homes via a screen. We take it in turns to chose topics, and a while ago it was my turn and I had three ideas plus a picture as a stimulus, and now I of course have to choose and write to one of them. In fact I’ve already written about places I’ve lived so maybe this will challenge me instead:

  • write a piece, story/poem, anything containing these words ludic, gelid, lambent

I don’t know when I first came across the word ‘lambent’ meaning soft or gently glowing, but when I did I had to look it up. I do know when I read the word ‘gelid’ for the first time, it was earlier this year in a crime novel where the forensic expert was making his way to the scene of the crime early one morning and described the air as gelid. I guessed what it meant, but I did look it up to check and it means extremely cold, very, very, very cold! Ludic made its presence l known to me in a different way; I was writing lucid and a typo produced ludic but spellcheck dd not correct it. Once again I went to the dictionary and ludic is an actual word (think ludicrous) and it means spontaneously playful, and dolphins seem to be the favourite example of a ludic creature.

Another word which seemed unusual and enhanced what I was reading when I first came across it was pellucid, meaning clear or translucent. The problem was, the writer who introduced it to me obviously loved it because within a chapter or two it cropped up again; that wasn’t too bad, but when I found it again, and then, blow me, again, well it became an annoyance, and the delight in it when I read it the first time vanished. This is the problem with unusual or obscure words – maybe ludic, gelid, lambent or pellucid don’t seem unusual, but they were to me – they can distract, especially if the reader has to keep reaching for the dictionary. OK, I know few people would use a physical dictionary, but a reader would still have to leave the text to consult an on-line dictionary. I love finding new words, but I don’t want a text so crammed with them that it becomes a barrier to my understanding, especially if there is nothing in the context to give a clue what they mean.

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