Word of the Week 7/7/2018

Sojourner

By Annette Rey

Sojourner, such a melodious word underused today.

First, as a verb – sojourn – means a temporary stay.

That sets the stage for what a sojourner is. The very dry definition of the noun is a person who resides temporarily in a place.

But to me, a sojourner implies a person moving from place to place, seeking settlement, seeking something…

What I see in that word is possibility – a cloak over an invisible person – an unknown factor – a mystery – a magical aspect.

Sojourner by itself hangs the reader to that word in his own mind. Try not to use an adjective to further define sojourner as that then limits that character – he is an Italian sojourner, a lonely sojourner, a wide-eyed sojourner. Rather, allow the reader to see the character defined by his own experiences and his desires for the character in that scene. Then, in the following sentences describe the mood of the scene, the scents, the time of day, the surrounding sights, the weather.

My example:

The fog-filled air caused the street lighting to appear fragmented, hazy, and lent eeriness to the form of a sojourner passing under the distant tree line. Midnight and the air cooling from the memory of high noon, it seemed nothing could go wrong. A squalling cat startled the night.

I don’t describe the sojourner, I direct the mood of the atmosphere and allow the reader to fill in any blanks with his own imagination.

This is how I look at words and how words perform for me.

Fall in love with words. Be still and choose a word that speaks to you.

Then write.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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