What I learned today

July 31, 2008

Well, not much, to be honest. I did learn that arugula is considered elitist, but that’s politics, and therefore insubstantial.

However, I’ve been doing a lot of reading lately, all of it fiction. When you’re stuck on a problem—in this case just a minor trifle regarding narrative voice—sometimes it serves well to kick back with a good book. Or six, or eight.

But I was reading through Bradbury’s Let’s All Kill Constance earlier today, the third and, admittedly, weakest in a series, and came across the following sentence:

She stopped by a table on which rested not one, but four crystal balls, coruscant with light from a green-and-amber Tiffany lamp.

Heh. More fool me. After a lifetime’s quiet love for Star Wars (I cannot claim the dubious honor of being a “true” fan, having played only a few of the video games, owned a couple of the action figures, and read only the novelizations of the original trilogy), it never occurred to me that “coruscant” was a real word. After all, Tatooine is just a name. Kashyyyk, as far as I know, is just a name. Bespin? Dantooine? Alderaan?

Anyway, I needed a triple-take on the sentence to figure why I was hung up on it. And then, dutifully, I burned a couple of hours before I bothered to look up the word.

Coruscant means “shining” or “glittering”, and apparently dates back to the fifteenth century. I prefer slightly-obscure words whenever it occurs to me to use them, so, yeah, I feel pretty silly for not knowing until now. But, hey, life goes on, and be there a God in Heaven, I sincerely doubt this spot of ignorance on my part will be what keeps me from passing through the gates.

Anyway, that’s what I learned today. Maybe tomorrow I’ll write something about self-indulgence.



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