Today’s Word is Pressure, Believe You Me

(noun) the burden of physical or mental stress (as defined by Merriam Webster online)

One of the new realities of my life is sitting down every day to write a blog. No one asked me to do this. No one clamored at my door. I write a blog because I want to. As a quote-unquote-newbie, this is pressure enough. I’ll be the first to admit I’m a bit of a perfectionist. So it takes time and thinking and more time.

Thinking. A common pitfall of mine. And, as such, in the what-was-I-thinking category, last week I proclaimed “Wednesday is Word(le) Day.” And it worked! So far, the most popular post on my blog is that one. Go figure. (Of course, I haven’t yet been named a Top Ten Blog for Writers, but who’s competing?) I’m guessing it was the quirky blog title that pulled readers in, but who knows.

It caused me a lot of pressure this week. What word will I pick? How will I decide? I went to site after site, finally deciding to write about the most common word in the English language. Kind of like starting at A. This led me to, a very cool website that presents “an interactive presentation of the 86800 most common words in the English language.” Here’s the thing. Every word is numbered! So, I could start with #1, find the most common word in the English language, and bingo, problem solved. Unfortunately the #1 word turned out to be the. Predictable. But not exactly what I’d been hoping for.

But, EUREKA! I had yet another random idea: what if I went to a random number generating site, generated a random number between 1 and 86800, and then used that number to go back and get a word from the numbered word list!? Perfect plan. Except this: my random number was 41,632. And when I typed that number into the word site, up popped cholecystokinin.

“a hormone secreted especially by the duodenal mucosa that regulates the emptying of the gallbladder and secretion of enzymes by the pancreas and that has been found in the brain.”

And since everything I ever wanted to learn about gallbladders was in the emergency room during a gallstone attack, I decided to move on and spare us all.

Back to the drawing board. Next, as I moved beyond Sunday, and realized it was Valentine’s Day, my week-long love theme jelled. Of love I know. But what word would I choose? Again, putting pressure on myself, I wrote in my blog on Monday, that my Wednesday Word would have something to do with love.

But the love words are all so common and well known. And everyone was blogging about them! Again the pressure, but by happenstance, I was reminded of anagrams on Twitter, a blog, a website about words, or somewhere else on another one of the zillions of blogs I’ve visited this week.

For love, there is only one anagram: vole. Which is very cool because the prairie vole is one of the only monogamous animals (besides—often—humans). I briefly considered writing about voles, but I think I just wrote everything I could that hasn’t already been written on wikipedia…so I crossed it off my list.

Ok. So. Wednesday Eve. My Engineer Husband (MEH) and I are watching the fourth movie in as many days. Again with the love theme. Last night Sideways. The night before Love Actually. But nothing really kept my attention because in the back of my mind was the pressure pressure pressure, pecking away at my mind. It was Wednesday Eve, for goodness sake, and I didn’t have a WORD.

After the movie, and way too late, MEH and I revisited my list of candidates:

Candidates 1a and 1b. #34,229 wilcoxon; #35,662 freebie. Number and word generating again. REJECTED. Although I actually liked both words, if I was going to use this proscribed method for choosing, I wanted a word on the first try. Otherwise I would be compelled to admit I used the second or third try and make up some elaborate story of why.

Candidate 2. Back again to the love theme: duprass. This is the “karass of two” from Kurt Vonnegut’s Cat’s Cradle. REJECTED. a) it’s a made up word from a made up language, and b) I never read the book (MEH did), but I may feel compelled to lie that I did.

Candidate 3. To demonstrate how really down on the whole word thing I was feeling, I turned to anti-love, and perhaps what could arguably be called the antithesis of love: unrequited. Like Cyrano’s great love of Roxanne in Cyrano de Bergerac and Pip’s of Estella in Great Expectations. REJECTED. I actually started writing about this one, but it just didn’t go anywhere.

I went to bed, unrequited. And woke up way too early. I usually do, but this time it was with the pressure in my mind. It’s Wednesday MORNING and I DON’T HAVE A WORD. Not quite the same pressure as not having a present to give on an anniversary or a birthday, but it felt bad.

And then it hit me. PRESSURE! And that, dear readers, is a small glimpse inside the mind of Julia Munroe Martin. Tomorrow, if you dare, please join me again as I return to the by now dreaded love theme and I blog about “Making up with Mr. (Re)Write.”

My question to you: what causes pressure in your writing life? Or life? Any ideas for words you’d like to see on Word Day? Please?