A Creative Toolkit Chapter 1

A Creative Toolkit Chapter 1

Chapter 1 of my book Fog Bank Gallery A Toolkit for a Creative Life. 

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We think in words, we talk with words, we write with words. Every feeling has a word attached to it as well.
So obviously words are the most important tool in the toolbox of creativity. I have found having a basic knowledge about words and where they come from and how to put them together to be a helpful in my creative artistic pursuits.

Check the Reference
Every word has an origin story and every story teller needs a beginning, middle, and end.
The origin of the word WORD means speak or say from the Greek word rhetor meaning public speaker.

Useful Tools for Writers and Wordsmiths

Arcade Dictionary of Word Origins by John Ayto
Essential Songwriter’s Rhyming Dictionary by Kevin M. Mitchell
Roget’s Thesaurus
Thank you for Arguing Jay Henrichs
The Dictionary of Cliches by James Rogers
Scholastic Dictionary of Idioms
4,000 Questions to Get to Know Anyone Barbara Ann Kipfer
Zotero Extension for Web Browser

Origin Story

In the early 1800s a wordsmith and medical doctor known as Peter Mark Roget had an idea of organizing words into contrasting ideas and topics.
By the 1840s he retired from medicine and worked on his reference book which was first published in 1852 and has been in print ever since. He died on September 12, 1869.
The work around his Thesaurus was continued by his descendants until the 1950s when the rights to the book was sold to Penguin books who produced 2 editions. In the 1970s the book was sold to Harper Collins and re-structured several times.
I personally own the First Authorized American Edition from the 1930s. What I like about this older edition is that the synonyms are categorized into contrasting ideas in conflict with each other. Words can cause stressful feelings in part because people struggle with having opposing thoughts and ideas inside their heads at the same time. I find it helpful sometimes to read a book that categorizes and lists opposing ideas next to each other. It works for me but I’m sure the newer editions work for others.
DIY Writing in Practice
“Open the door to work; work quick to the absurd.”
I have a little composition book and a pen where I write down my thoughts from time to time.
I first opened my book of questions and picked a random one wrote it down and answered it.
“What is your ideal way to spend a hot Saturday summer night in mid July?”

I wrote down the first word that came to my mind at the time and looked it up in my rhyming dictionary, it told me to see FEUD.
I read all of the words that were next to FEUD and thought of a synonym those words have in common with each other. If I were to group them all together and come up with a single word what would it be? I came up with the word WORK.
I looked in the glossary of the book Thank you for Arguing to find a figure of speech to plug words into. I picked ANADIPLOSIS which is figure that builds one thought on top of another by taking the last word of a clause and using to begin the next clause.

So I looked at the words on the page of my rhyming dictionary with WORD and plugged words I liked into using this figure of speech and came up with.
“Open the Door to Work, work Quick to the Absurd.”

I’m not at all saying this is a good figure of speech or rhetorical phrase, but doing this is writing in practice and helpful in getting rid of a case of writers block.

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