09/07/2013 06:59 BST | Updated 07/09/2013 06:12 BST

A Way With Words


Bland is one of those words that has its own taste. Saying it releases a mouthful of tapioca like sensation, thick on the tongue, fat with its one dull syllable. Bland is also the word used by one person to describe my last blog post. Bland, I mused, as I saw the comment, flinching a little at the obvious slur on my writing skills. Boring, unimaginative, without flair, containing a distinct lack of stimuli, notable for its inability to amuse. Bland.

Words offer up a treasure trove of material for analysis. They are there for us to use, abuse and examine as we will. Fidelity, for instance is a word which seems loathe to leave your lips. Warm and trustworthy, it embraces your vocal chords, resounding firmly inside your head. Dependable, honest and strong, fidelity reassures you as you speak it. If it were a food, it would it be delicious and very good for you. A robust lentil dahl, perhaps, rich with garlic and garam masala.

Minchin is the surname of the deeply unpleasant headmistress in the childrens' novel ' A Little Princess.' Meanness radiates from this beautifully chosen word, evoking thoughts of pursed lips and pinched features, echoing the pure nastiness of its owner, spewing insincere smiles and tightening the throats of those who say it.

Thruppling is a splendidly rampant great munch of a word, embracing the palate with the promise of gravy made tasty with juices from the joint, ready to meet the meat. I made this word up and I'm proud of it.

As a self appointed wordsmith, I enjoy playing with words. Making them bend to my will as they paint the pictures I describe, building characters and creating situations. And so I scanned the blog post in question - again. Bland, I said aloud, rolling the word around my tongue like a mouthful of rice pudding - with cinnamon, perhaps, to alleviate its blandness. Bland, I said again, imagining the fragrant pudding, gently baking in the oven, its nutmeg brown skin concealing a creamily sweet interior. The word seemed lighter in my mouth. My imaginings had endowed it with character, taste and a certain teasing quality. Interesting, I mused, how the same word can, with a little thought flavouring, feel different. Bland, I repeated, enjoying its newfound spiciness. Now I could taste the potential, tingling on the tip of my tongue, fizzing around my teeth and gums, positively bubbling with possibilities. Bland - a base for beauty and creativity. A glorious springboard for all manner of exciting things - and an insight into the versatility of words.

Now I felt much more positive about the comment. Although in this instance it was probably used in a less than favourable way, the word bland need not have an unkind meaning. I was beginning to see clearly that it was in fact a reflection of the user and their own life - ilustrating, happily, the blank canvas upon which they can choose to create a wiser and more amusing existence.

Bollocks. Another wonderful word.