Monday, March 19, 2018

Denotations and Connotations

The basic part of a word interpretation involves its denotation, the dictionary meaning or meanings. A word may also have connotations - what it suggests beyond what it expresses: overtones and meaning.

The science writer uses language to communicate information and attempt to confine his words to one meaning at a time. The poet or literary writer will take advantage of the fact that the word has a variety of meanings by using it to mean more than one thing at a time. The word's meaning becomes enriched as a result. 

Home by denotation means a place where one lives, but by connotation it suggests security, love, comfort, and family

Childlike and childish mean "characteristics of a child" but childlike suggests meekness, innocence, and wide-eyed wonder. Childish suggests pettiness, willfulness, and temper tantrums.

Emily Dickinson uses the power of a book or poetry to carry us away; to escape from our world into a world of the imagination. She has compared literature to various means of transportation, using names that have myriad connotations.

There is No Frigate Like a Book
  by Emily Dickinson

There is no frigate like a book
To take us lands away,
Nor any coursers like a page
Of prancing poetry.

This traverse may the poorest take
without oppress of toll;
How frugal is the carrot
That bears the human soul.

A word may have ore than one denotation. Spring in the dictionary has 30 meanings such as: pounce, leap, a season, natural source of water, or coiled wire.

Ezra Pound defined great literature as "simply language charged with meaning to the utmost possible degree."  The word charged is roughly equivalent to filled. Yet, it brings more power to the sentence.

Play with a story using the denotations and connotations of one or all of the following words.


Consider all the dictionary meanings of the words. Check the thesaurus for similar words.

Which emotions, memories or overtones do these words have for your story?

Let your imagination fly.

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Go for Gratitude

“Be present in all things and thankful for all things.” –Maya Angelou

“For each new morning with its light, for rest and shelter of the night, for health and food, for love and friends, for everything thy goodness sends. I awoke this morning with devout thanksgiving for my friends, the old and new.” –Ralph Waldo Emerson

Research confirms the importance of Gratitude and sharing it with others. 
Subjects were asked to write about what they felt grateful for. After ten weeks in the study, they exhibited huge increases in their happiness scores, were more optimistic, and felt better about their lives. They also reported exercising more and had fewer visits to the doctor following the experiment. The second group wrote about daily problems and situations that left them unhappy — it was no surprise they were comparably unhappy.

"If [thankfulness] were a drug, it would be the world's best-selling product with a health maintenance indication for every major organ system," Dr. P. Murali Doraiswamy, head of the division of biologic psychology at Duke University Medical Center, told ABC News. He added, being thankful shouldn’t be a replacement for medical treatment, but it can improve wellness. 

Studies have shown measureable, quantitative effects on the body and brain as a result of certain hormones and mood neurotransmitters in the brain. For example, the social bonding hormone known as oxytocin floods the body with euphoria during moments of happiness and feelings of security that can be conjured up by a hug from grandma during the holidays.
The Harvard Medical School recommends following steps to help cultivate gratitude on a regular basis.

Start by writing a thank you note to anyone who has impacted your life big or small. Then, thank someone mentally and self-reflect on their importance to your happiness. 

Make it a habit to keep a journal where you can write or share throughout about emotional and physical gifts you have received. 

Take time each week to count your blessings and get into the specifics of why they make you happy. 

It’s also a good time to pray for those who are religious, and for those who are not, meditation can be the key to focusing on peace and gratitude.

Go for Gratitude!

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Celebrate St. Patrick's Day with Friendship

"When you cease to fear your solitude, a new creativity awakens in you. Your forgotten or neglected wealth begins to reveal itself. You come home to yourself and learn to rest within. Thoughts are our inner senses. Infused with silence and solitude, they bring out the mystery of inner landscape." - Anam Cara by John O'Donohue
John O’Donohue, author of Anam Cara, celebrates the soul that shines like a cloud around the body. He feels that when you become open, appreciative and trusting with another, your souls flow together.  

O'Donohue writes, "Friendship is the sweet grace that liberates us to approach, recognize and inhabit this adventure."

In Celtic spirituality, the anam cara friendship stimulates the richness and mystery of life. The Irish believe an individual blessed with anam cara, has arrived at a sacred place.  

Friendship becomes an act of recognition and belonging.


Many have enjoyed a friendship that brought them out of solitude and contributed to the richness and mystery of life.

Contact a friend to celebrate and renew Friendship along with the wearing of the green.