When I am not focused on anything else or when I do not want to be focused on anything else, I play Words With Friends.

words with friendsIt is my relaxing task, the one that helps me keep it together when I am about to spin out from grief. It also distracts me from tasks at hand and the things I need to get done.

It is my sin and my salvation.

Through Words with Friends, I have become a master with four-, five-, and six-letter words. If the opportunity strikes, I can place a seven-, eight-, or nine-lettered word. But those moments are rare. Satisfying, as when I was able to place ‘seances’ on two triple letter tiles and the triple word tile.

But recently my daughter competed in a conference spelling bee. She forced asked me to help her study for this contest. Before I would have said I am a woman of letters, i know tough words. I am willing to use those words in a sentence.

I was wrong.

oxford dictionaryOh, sure there were some simple words such as ‘wok’ and ‘aria.’ Then came some of the simple hard words such as ‘zygote’ and ‘quiche.’

None of these compared to ‘chiaroscuro’ or ‘fuliginous’ or ‘mulligatawny.’

I pulled out the dictionary for a pronunciation guide. I tried pulling it up on google to hear the words spoken out loud. After we got through her list, I felt as if I should be crumpled on the kitchen floor waiting for a bit of wine to revive me. Shakespeare had never made me feel this incomplete.

In the end, the girl was third overall in the spelling bee. One of her girlfriends made it to first place and their team won the competition overall over seven other schools.

Now that the bragging is done, you must excuse me. I am still trying to figure out ‘persiflage.’

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