What’s this about a new year?

For me the year ends in June, and winter is not the beginning but a divide between the semesters of which a year is composed. Summer is a strange period in which time is suspended, a vast meadow with knee-high yellow grass when I’m staring at the page of a book and a beach with warm teal waters when I’m lying in bed. The year begins again in fall. It begins, though it never ended, because summer doesn’t mark a beginning or end. The end of summer is both.

I never write New Year’s resolutions, in January or otherwise. I vaguely recall attempting the exercise against my will; I must have been forced with an assignment sometime in grade school. Instead I decidedly drew a map of the world, with Antarctica at the top, “upside down”, meticulously labeled, and only colored in the water. I was convinced I would ruin it if I colored in the land. Somehow it was never quite as beautiful.

“You know, they say that symmetry was invented by humans,” I told the boy next to me as I drew Russia, “because nothing is perfectly symmetrical in nature. But I think there must be something symmetrical somewhere. Or else everything in math is based on things that are made-up. That’s why math is hard. Except shapes. This is a triangle; it has infinite triangles inside. Did you know those trees outside never stop being green? I keep waiting for them but they never do. Do you think that’s a secret?”

“I think grown-ups know,” he replied.

“Oh,” I said, disappointed.

I remember this conversation, but not how I managed to get away without turning in a resolution. Needless to say, I had failed to focus on writing one, which is just as well, because I would have failed to keep it—the same way I cannot maintain a schedule regardless of how much I need one.

And I’m not so much a fan of writing things I don’t mean.

I know what I need to do: daydream less, edit my own writing even though I’m afraid I’ll cringe at it, stop being so anxious, daydream less, take notes without drawing in the margins, daydream less—

But I possibly can’t stop. I was never the organized type no matter how hard I tried, and I always resented when anyone would assert that organization shows care. I care very deeply about everything I can’t organize. But as much as I’m disorganized, and as much as I can’t write resolutions, I’m somehow a great writer of lists.

So to start off the new year here is a list of 20 of the most beautiful words (in the English language):

Bittersweet pleasant and regretful

Chiaroscuro an arrangement of light and darkness

Crepuscular twilight

Crescendo music with wings

Crestfallen sunken hearted

Cunnilingus (because when I first heard this word I thought it was a language)

Dissemble mislead

Eloquence stunning in speech

Evanescent swiftly vanishing, fleeting

Evocative suggestive of memory or feeling

Gossamer delicate veil

Mendacious untruthful

Mondegreen product of mishearing

Procellous stormy like the sea

Sensual arousing to the senses

Serenity regal peace

Syncopation a shift in the expected accent

Velocity swiftness, speed

Velvet a sensuous fabric

Zephyr a light wind

And here are a couple of things I enjoyed:

the solar system scope
the planets making music

Who’d you kiss?

8 thoughts on “What’s this about a new year?

  1. Very original :) I like a lot of your favorite words. One of my favorite words is “mariposa”, Spanish for butterfly. I know that’s not English, but anyway :p
    An English word I like is serendipity, or is that too much of a cliche?

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    1. One of my favorite words in French is “incroyable” (incredible / unbelievable)… the vowel in croy is a sound we don’t have in English, and it just sounds delightful to me in conjunction with the ‘r’, like a tiny slip of adorable fury. xD

      Like

  2. Redd

    Here are 5 things I would rather be doing now than studying for my biochemistry final:
    1. Reading Charles Dickens
    2. Swimming with dolphins
    3. Dancing
    4. Go wall climbing
    5. Organizing my room(I’m an organizing nerd)

    I would love to write more things, but I reaaalllyy have to finish studying!
    No matter what you seem to write about, I always enjoy it. Thank you!
    Happy new year!!

    Like

    1. I’m glad! <3 Sometimes I wonder if anyone's interested in things like this, since the main purpose of the site is Islam and feminism. Excellent list–I'd rather do all of those things any day. (Except for the last! =P) Happy new year. <3

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  3. Wow, what a great word list! There’s two words that I never heard of until now (Mondegreen and Procellous), one that I only had a vague idea that it was “something about art” (Chiaroscuro) and have no idea how to pronounce, and one that I know the meaning of but trip over the pronunciation (Crepuscular). My favorites from the list: Cunnilingus (it *is* a beautiful word, whatever one thinks of the activity), Evanescent (which I know how to pronounce but not how to spell), and syncopation (both the word itself and the rhythmic technique are beautiful).

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