Monday, October 26, 2009

Make me a word

Have you ever heard of the word schadenfreude? It’s defined as “the pleasure derived from the misfortunes of others.” I’ve often felt that I needed more complex words to more accurately express my feelings.

Jeffrey Eugenides, in his brilliant book Middlesex, says it best:

Emotions, in my experience, aren’t covered by single words. I don’t believe in “sadness”, “joy” or “regret”. Maybe the best proof that language is patriarchal is that it oversimplifies feeling. I'd like to have at my disposal complicated hybrid emotions, Germanic traincar constructions like, say, “the happiness that attends disaster”. Or “the disappointment of sleeping with one’s fantasy”. I'd like to show how “intimations of mortality brought on by aging family members” connects with “the hatred of mirrors that begins in the middle age”. I’d like to have a word for “the sadness inspired by failing restaurants” as well as for “the excitement of getting a room with a minibar”. I’ve never had the right words to describe my life, and now that I’ve entered my story, I need them more than ever.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Love this book!!!