Once Works Well was pure technology. Now it seeks merely to divert.
Pansy subjects - Verse! Opera! Domestic trivia! - are now commonplace.
The 300-word limit for posts is retained. The ego is enlarged

Sunday, 8 August 2010

Wit or meaning?

Words can creep up on you, carry you off. Lucy recently had visitors and admitted her batteries needed recharging. But ended her post with: “Lovely to see them, withal.” No prizes for guessing the abductive word. The dictionary stigmatises it as archaic and offers two meanings: besides and nevertheless - quite a close two-horse race. My untutored view is it works because the sentence is short and the effect comes at the end, like a mini whip-crack. I’d like to use it myself but I’ll have to wait. Currently I’m overshadowed.

Just recently I’ve been road-testing forsooth. This is doubly stigmatised as archaic and/or humorous. It means indeed but like that word it can be used sarcastically. Parvenu: We’ve just exchanged our Peugeot for a Bentley. Clever-Clogs (or if you like, Journalist): A Bentley, forsooth! Normally I’m proscriptive but the screamer is, I think, justified. I file posts like this under Anti-over-the-moon Substitutes.

WELCOME TO THE CHRISTENING I’ve been discussing the novel’s title with Plutarch. It started out as Con-Rod but that was dropped because it excluded the joint main character. Changing Gear brought in that character via a jeu de mots link but was a little too obvious for my allusive taste. Plutarch frowned on my third attempt, Working Stiffs, and talked about corpses. It’s American and means working class. It’s been scratched subsequently but the text will carry an allusion to the phrase at the very beginning and right at the end.

The subject is relevant given the popularity of Wolf Hall, a title which is almost meaningless to the subject matter. But does that matter? Wolf Hall is short and fairly memorable and that may be enough. Plutarch thinks Working Stiffs might put people off. But it is memorable. Well Employed would work but has it got pizzaz?