In celebration of the indolent smile

On Day 3 of my Finding Fast, and I'm surprised to find that I haven't been hungry. It's been far more difficult to give up speaking, and not just for the sake of convenience. It's a slow writing time, too (I'm dating a new novel, but we're not in a committed relationship) so I miss the dynamic of thinking in words.

Someone at critique group last night used the phrase "an indolent smile" and I flagged it on my copy, asking, "Did you mean 'insolent smile'?" She did not. And that got me thinking about indolent smiles, which I love the idea of, because I've always associated the word 'indolent' with a type of lymphoma. So I've been lying in bed this morning wondering, Can I purposely reprogram that word inside my head to mean something deliciously lazy and Mona Lisa-like as opposed to something insidiously lurking? Either way, it's a rich, succulent bonbon of a word, isn't it? Luscious on the tongue and lovely to see typed out. (Thanks, TJ!) And I guess that's what I found today.

But Pablo Neruda says it so much better in his Memoirs:
You can say anything you want, yessir, but it's the words that sing, they soar and descend . . . I bow to them . . . I love them, I cling to them, I run them down, I bite into them, I melt them down . . . I love words so much . . . The unexpected ones . . . The ones I wait for greedily or stalk until, suddenly, they drop . . . Vowels I love . . . They glitter like colored stones, they leap like silver fish, they are foam, thread, metal, dew . . . I run after certain words . . . They are so beautiful that I want to fit them all into my poem . . . I catch them in midflight, as they buzz past, I trap them, clean them, peel them, I set myself in front of the dish, they have a crystalline texture to me, vibrant, ivory, vegetable, oily, like fruit, like algae, like agates, like olives . . . And I stir them, I shake them, I drink them, I gulp them down, I mash them, I garnish them, I let them go . . . I leave them in my poem like stalactites, like slivers of polished wood, like coals, pickings from a shipwreck, gifts from the waves . . . Everything exists in the word . . .


Loved the post, and loved the quote, too. It's gorgeous!

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