Saturday, September 14, 2013
Beatific (Wok Blog Entry #2: Words that are or should be)
For the longest time, I thought 'beatific' was a mis-spelling of the word beautific. The latter is not actually a word. I'm sure people use it. I know I've heard it. It's not, however, an interesting word. After all, beautific would equate to beautiful. And beautiful, as a word, isn't interesting. Over-used, it's a throw-away descriptor. Any writing teacher worth their salt is going to tell you to avoid it like the plague, unless you're describing the plague. Pustules, pretty pustules, are interesting.
Beatific, on the other hand, is a fascinating word. It has action associated with it. Giving bliss. That's how my absolutely massive dictionary describes it. Saintly. It’s a reflective word…one that keys into the speaker rather than the one so observed. I have spent some time trying to define beatific for myself. I have used it rarely, only once per recent recall and that in mocking reflection of a one-time friend. Not my finest moment, as a writer or as a person.
There are reasons I don’t share all of my work.
But ‘beatific,’ that which gives bliss…what is that? The preacher at the pulpit? That first glimmer of pink before the sunrise? Is that bliss? Or merely something beautiful? The preacher is certainly neither.
That first breath of a new bookstore, perhaps, paper and ink and a million undiscovered adventures. A theatre in the dark, that moment after the curtains go up and the first note rises up from the pit, full of possibility and hope and an evening of forgetting. Maybe it’s the moment you hit send on a submission, in one instant both published and not, either outcome equally possible.
Maybe none of these things.
Beatific. Giving bliss. I think I’m still looking for something that fits.
Beatific. A real word. Huh.
Blogger’s Note: I discovered my beatific/beautific error a few years ago and have been half in love with the word ‘beatific’ ever since. Oddly enough, I have used it rarely and only in negative connotations as outlined above regarding my one-time friend. But the word itself is a positive one and I do keep searching for that space where it fits…positive and affirming…in my writing.