Lost For Words

Zoë Sharp

The title for this, my last ever Murderati post, came easily. And then I was stuck.

I’m all out

of clever things

to say

I am genuinely lost for the right words to express how I feel about the end of this era. Part of me is desolate. The friends I’ve made on Murderati have been wonderful and I hope we won’t lose touch but I fear that may happen so easily. Time just seems to disappear. The last time I turned around it was Christmas. Now we’re well into Spring and CrimeFest in Bristol is only weeks away.

Writing for Murderati has been hard in the way that I find all writing hard — because I want to do my best and therefore I sweat and swear over it. I can’t bring myself to do a ‘I couldn’t think of anything so here’s some rehashed old stuff’ type of post. Sometimes I felt I missed the mark entirely but on those occasions when you seemed to like what I’d written it reminded me so strongly why I do this. Not just the blogging but the whole writing thing.

After all, there are far easier ways to make a living.

I’ll never shake that feeling of wonderment when I get kind comments on my writing and my books on Facebook or via email. I hope very much that I’ll continue to hear from everyone — writers and readers and all the friends I’ve made.

But Facebook — and more especially Twitter — is designed for one-liners rather than anything more substantial. Are we losing the longer more thoughtful — and more thought-provoking — blogs to this Brave New sound-bite World? And is that what you prefer?

How many of you still read blogs regularly, or how many of you have graduated to grazing from your Twitter or Facebook feeds?

One of my favourite parts of blogging here has always been choosing a Word of the Week. Well, as I won’t be doing that here any longer I thought I’d leave you with a selection:

Adoxography — the art of skilled writing on an unimportant subject.

Batrachophagous — one who eats frogs.

Charientism — an artfully veiled insult.

Defenestrate — to throw out of a window.

Exsibilation — the collective hisses of a disapproving audience.

Filipendulous — suspended by a single thread.

Gymnophoria — the sensation that someone is mentally undressing you.

Hippopotomonstrosesquipedalian — pertaining to extremely long words.

Inaniloquent — saying foolish things.

Jumentous — smelling like horse urine.

Knismesis­ — light tickling.

Lethologica — the inability to recall a precise word for something.

Mallemaroking — the carousing of seamen aboard Greenland whaling ships.

Nudiustertian — pertaining to the day before yesterday.

Onychophagy  — the habit of biting one’s fingernails.

Petrichor — the smell of rain on dry ground.

Qualtagh — the first person you see after leaving your house.

Recumbentibus — a knockout blow, either verbal or physical.

Skoptsy — the act of self-castration.

Tarantism — an urge to overcome melancholia by dancing.

Ultracrepidarian — one of speaks or offers opinions on matters of which they have no knowledge.

Vigesimation — the act of killing every twentieth person.

Wanweird — an unhappy fate.

Xenobombulate — to malinger.

Yclept — by the name of or called.

Zabernism — the misuse of military authority or bullying.

Thanks to Unusual Words for these. That’s all from me, folks. Thank you all so much. It’s been a blast hasn’t it?

Hope to see you on the Other Side.

44 thoughts on “Lost For Words

  1. K. A. Laity

    Sorry to see you and your words go from here, but I understand that tick tick tick that calls you to other things. Now to make note of some of those words!

  2. Graham Smith

    Sorry to see you leave this blog. It's been a pleasure reading your posts. However if it means more novels from you then I support the decision wholeheartedly.

  3. Sarah W

    You will never not be clever, Zoë, but I don't think even tarantism is gonna raise my spirits right now.

    I will forever be grateful to Murderati for introducing me to Charlie Fox and to the amazing person responsible for her.

    Thank you so much for your encouragement and friendship!

  4. Barbie

    I always read blogs, though I'm a "youngster", as Alex calls me, and am always on Facebook and Twitter and at one liners!

    Defenestrate! I really love that word <3

  5. PippaW

    Here's the thing – I read more blogs now that they turn up on my fb feed rather than my RSS feed. So I read those that are referenced on fb.

    Do I like longer posts – absolutely, and I feel that the short word sentences on fb are difficult – BUT it's a lot more straightforward to 'like' on fb if something has been interesting, to demonstrate that I've read something etc.

    I'm a relatively new reader of Murderati and I suspect that there will be a growth somewhere of online magazine (ie blog-esque) posts. Perhaps in this new and exciting social media world, we'll see another longer format style of article reappear?

  6. Allison Davis

    Zoe, one of the greatest joys of Murderati is when my friend Robbie (who reads the blog but doesn't comment) and I decided to read through all of your books in order starting with the very early ones. Savoring the last to take to New Orleans (how appropiriate) with me next week for vacation. Charlie influenced my writing like many others on this blog. When I get my book published, all of you, and especially you, will see the muderati dna in it. Please let me know if you get on this side of the pond and I will do the same. Would love to share a meal and writing. In the meantime, we're on FB. Take care, you will be missed.

  7. Seeley James

    Sad day. But I'm sure you'll turn up somewhere soon. I have a GoogleAlert watching your every post 🙂

    Thanks for the word list, now I know what my wife means when I try to plan our anniversary and she says, "why not Skoptsy?"

    Peace, Seeley

  8. Pari Noskin

    My friend,
    I'll miss everything about your thoughtful, often funny, posts. The words? Well I'm very grateful we'll be archiving this site; I'm going to have to take each and every one of them and use in, um, ten sentences?
    Thank you.

  9. Tom Barclay

    Ah, Zoë. Where and how would we have found you, if not for Murderati? Pari, J.T., take your bows, please.

    So now we've found you, and we will keep reading – and not just the Hell On Wheels Charlie stories.

    Yes, I read blogs; but I am old. My clients get the fimblegrimbles if a paragraph for their website is more than one sentence long. Time takes its toll. Onward, then, and though one may tend toward the hyperpolysyllabicsesquipedalian, it's the simple truth that's to be told: It's been great.

  10. Stephen Jay Schwartz

    Thanks for all the fun, Zoe. But I couldn't help feeling a sense of gymnophoria as I read your final blog. I'm going to have to follow you on Facebook…

  11. Lil Gluckstern

    Ah Zoe, you will be missed here, but I hope to see you fb, and read your books. I do read blogs, but I check in with FB more often than not. Good times for you!

  12. Larry Gasper

    I'll miss both your posts and the words. Lethologica describes my constant state. See you on Facebook, but not on Twitter.(just can't get interested in it) I still follow blogs, but Murderati was first and foremost. Like Allison said about her book, Murderati dna has infused my manuscript and I can't think of a better base to grow from.

  13. Jake Nantz

    Z –
    I'll miss the word of the day, but I'll also miss battling back and forth with Monty Python lines, and learning about the craft of writing from you just as much as the business of it. You always had a way of wording things that would make something clear, just as I had been having trouble with it. It was kinda spooky, actually. I wish you well in all your endeavors, and will definitely be contacting you as our vacation to your neck of the world nears.

    And since you took Hitchiker's "So long and thanks for all the fish", I'll leave you with two:

    "Always look on the bright side of life," (of course)
    "But sir…it's only wafer thin…."

  14. Pauline

    Hi Zoe!
    You know I am a big fan.
    Since my internet time is limited (darn hubby bought a house in the middle of nowhere – no internet),
    I will be visiting my fav authors' websites during my lunchbreaks.
    So happy that Murderati helped me discover all you wonderful people!

  15. Zoë Sharp

    Hi KA

    I love words in all their forms and it’s been my delight to share some of them. But you’re right, the tick tick tick is a constant factor. I’m still trying to find the right balance of work/exercise/life and sometimes I wonder if I ever WILL crack that one.

  16. Zoë Sharp

    Hi Barbie

    Defenestrate is one of my favourites too—mainly because it’s an action for which somebody decided to come up with a word. Reminds me of a line in an old movie called Broken Arrow, where one character explains to another that a Broken Arrow is the code-name for losing a nuclear weapon. “I don’t what’s scarier,” responds Christian Slater’s character, “losing nuclear weapons, or that it happens so often there’s actually a term for it.”

    See you on FB and Twitter :))

  17. Zoë Sharp

    Hi Pippa

    I usually link to blogs from FB and Twitter, and people very kindly share and retweet the links, so I think it often spreads faster that way.

    I’m going to experiment with some short-ish bloglets on FB and see how that goes down. See you there m’dear :))

  18. Zoë Sharp

    Hi Allison

    You’re on! Next time I’m heading transatlantic (and I’ll be coming over for B’con in Albany) and I have any time to call my own, I’ll be reminding you of this rash invitation.

    I’m honoured that you feel Murderati has influenced or helped your writing. What a lovely thought to take away with me. And again — see you on FB and stay in touch.

  19. Zoë Sharp

    Hi Seeley

    “I’m sure you’ll turn up somewhere soon.” Makes me sound like the proverbial bad penny :))

    And at least your good lady wife is offering to let you DIY rather than taking matters, as it were, out of your hands …?

  20. Zoë Sharp

    Hi Pari

    It’s been a privilege to be a part of this group and damn I’m going to miss it too, my friend. I thought I’d stockpile a few odd words to keep you all going through the summer. And if you can use all those in only ten sentences it’s going to be a very interesting story!

  21. Zoë Sharp

    Hi Tom

    Well, however you found me, I’m very glad you did. Thank you! And I hope I manage to maintain Charlie’s Hell on Wheels status for some time to come.

    And “hyperpolysyllabicsesquipedalian”

    Respect — that’s all I can say. Respect :))

  22. Zoë Sharp

    Hi Larry

    Lethologica is pretty much a constant for me, too. I like Twitter for the smart-alec remarks and the quick-fire wit. I dislike it for the constant marketing pushiness. <sigh>

    I hope your manuscript benefits from the ‘Rati DNA and doesn’t start to mutate into anything more sinister!

  23. Zoë Sharp

    Hi Jake

    You’re welcome! And weird that someone who named her blog Changing Feet after her habit of only opening her mouth in order to do so seems to have been able to help as much as hinder. That will always remain a source of pleasure and bemusement to me :))

    Yes, definitely get in touch when you’re over this side of the Pond.

    I see your “But sir … it’s only wafer thin …”

    And I raise you a, “Ah, a cleaning lady for monsieur …” and a pair of slightly scuffed Joo Janta 200 Super-Chromatic Peril Sensitive Sunglasses

  24. Zoë Sharp

    Hi Pauline

    Thank you, and I know that all time is precious but you know I'll be very happy to catch up with you whenever and wherever you can get on line.

  25. KDJames

    Zoë, I feel like I already said goodbye in the comment on your earlier post this month, so I won't do that again. I follow you on twitter, so I'll see you over there, and my "page" already likes your "page" on FB and if I could just remember that FB even exists… maybe our pages will behave themselves and not engage in vigesimation.

    I do read blogs. Probably too many of them. But I read them in my RSS feed so I'm not tempted to venture into the comments and become part of yet another community. That is the thing that consumes so much time and energy, even though the reward of friendship can be remarkable. As it was over here.

    Love the words, love all your words. You keep putting them out there, I'll keep reading them. Wherever they are.

    Take care. And do try to cut back on that whole "hanging out of cars" thing. We worry.

  26. Reine

    Hi Zoë,

    I read several blogs every day, usually group blogs, because they provide variety within a broader area of interest — like group blogs by mystery writers. I read a couple of individual blogs by writers whose work I love if they are regular in their posting. If they aren't I tend to forget to check. I started opting out of email notifications for such things last month when my unopened mail topped 600 items.

    Back to my electric book.


  27. Dee

    I am too old for all the bitsy busy sound bites of FB and twitter, so I mourn the end of Murderati.

    Thank you, Zoe, for all your wit and wisdom. You regularly made my day, and while I don't have any two-dollar words for the pleasure you brought, the feelings are mega-dollar grateful.


  28. PD Martin

    Hi Zoe. Yes, I don't know quite how I'm going to commemorate my last Murderati blog…. it is hard to find the words!

    And I think you should post a word of the week on the Murderati Facebook page. I know some people here won't see it, but hopefully we'll have some of the Murderati community come across 🙂

    Anyway, it's been a pleasure and honour sharing Thursdays with you here at Murderati. And nice to have another blogger who prefers honour to honor! 🙂

  29. Zoë Sharp

    Hi KD

    You did. Nice that our FB pages Like each other. Let’s just hope they play nice :))

    I know I tend to get caught up in answering replies to replies or comments to comments and if you’re not careful there goes the working day.

    Thank you again for the kind words. I will indeed keep putting the words out there and see what happens. Who knows, some of them might find good homes and go on to lead full and productive lives!

    Oh, and I more or less retired from the car photography last year. Don’t bounce quite like I used to …

  30. Zoë Sharp

    Hi Reine

    I know what you mean about email notifications. If I’m not careful I end up drowning in them. I’ve had to stop most of my notifications for things for the same reason.

    Enjoy the electric book!

  31. Zoë Sharp

    Hi Dee

    I’ll try to keep notifying everybody when I’m doing guest blogs, but by far the easiest place to do that is on FB and Twitter. I held out against both for ages but finally joined in a couple of years ago and I admit I like the banter and the contact with other authors and with readers.

    Oh, and thank you too for the kind words. You are mega-dollar welcome :))

  32. Zoë Sharp

    Hi Phillipa

    It’s been a pleasure and an honour (spelled UK/Australian way) to share Thursdays with you as well. One day I’m coming over to Oz and then we can finally get together in person!

  33. David Corbett

    Sorry to be a day later. Yesterday was rather hectic. But your posts always cheered me and readied me for the day. I'll greatly miss that — and so will search it ouot elsewhere, wherever I find you, hopefully often on the Murderati FB page.

  34. Catherine

    I've loved reading and sometimes commenting here over the years. Witnessing from afar the numerous torturous ways people write what I like to read has been perversely satisfying. Thanks Muderati people for the generosity of sharing your inner workings.

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