Adjectivity


Gwydhaesthetique: wins every Scrabble game... unless you're playing the Welsh version... in which case there is no "Q"

Gwydhaesthetique: wins every Scrabble game… unless you’re playing the Welsh version… in which case there is no “Q”

A week or so ago I completed my first book of the year: “The Marriage Plot” by Jeffrey Eugenides. I like Eugenides. His style reminds me of my own internal monologue and occasionally a character is described in such unbelievably familiar terms that I begin to wonder whether I ought to start wearing a tin foil hat.

Early on in the book two of the characters carry on a conversation in which they discuss what it would be like if their names were to become adjectives a la “Shakespearean” or “Kafkaesque”. There was some debate as to whether it was better to be an “-ian” or an “-ish” or an “-esque” although they never seemed to reach a consensus. More important was the topic of meaning. What would their names come to mean? What would they stand for?

It’s an interesting idea. Can someone choose what they will become known for? If you knew that your name would eventually become adjectified would you live your life differently? I suppose it falls somewhere between “How would you want to be remembered” and “How would you live if you knew you couldn’t fail”: both questions that have been over-tread more than Darwin’s grave. (Never say the English have no sense of humor.) It is likewise similar to the idea of “making a name for yourself”: ascribing meaning to the name that represents the sum of your experiences, hopes, dreams, accomplishments and mistakes.

So what adjective would I become? Gwydhrian? Gwydhresque? Gwydhaesthetique? I like Gwydhaesthetique. It is completely unpronounceable and would let me win every game of Scrabble from now on. Future generations will look upon future Scrabble boards and despair with cries of “That’s not a real word!” The dictionary would be consulted and lo: “Gwydhaesthetique- adj. (gwed-rae-sthet-eek) 1. In the style of Gwydhar, 21st century artist, filmmaker and erstwhile blogger.

But what would it mean? Or rather, what would I like for it to mean? Self reflective? Makes up words? Creatively obsessive compulsive? If it were up to me it would translate roughly to Telling-a-story-made-up-of-smaller-stories-made-up-of-small-pictures-which-make-a-big-picture. Telling a story that has meaning both on the small scale and the large scale. Existing on multiple levels.

Not that I am able to do this all that often, but it feels like a worthy thing to strive for and maybe that’s the point: the striving. Having your name become an adjective is hardly the most noble of life-long goals, but striving to do something meaningful enough with one’s life that it tests the limits of the English lexicon certainly seems worth the attempt.

~ by Gwydhar Gebien on January 9, 2014.

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