A is for…
September 28, 2011 § 16 Comments
A is for aardvark. B is for baboon.
I sometimes assign the creation of an “A is for…” alphabet to adult writers as an exercise. Each must choose a subject to give that humble list shape:
“Words Sixth Graders Think are Really Funny.” Anyone care to guess what “F” is for? Hint: it has four letters one of which is not U.
One of the frequent commenters on this blog, MLS, made an alphabet of Portuguese words which she then explained in English. She left me jealous of those who write in Portuguese; with a single word they can express the sentiments of the heart.
Susan, a veteran teacher wrote an alphabet of students she had loved. B is for Bertha–she had a baby last year–adorable little boy–she had to do some classes online but she graduated and got a full ride to college. F is for Female, pronounced Fee-Ma-Lee. Her mother said the hospital named her.
Here is my alphabet. It’s an alphabet of self. Next time I might do one about dogs or ways to kill ten minutes, but here it is, an alphabetical version of me. What amazes me is how contradictory it is, and at the same time how true.
B is for Bereft: Their hats hang on nails. My mother’s straw, my dad’s knit beanie. Both parents are gone. Orphaned at 55.
C is for Cocky: Yes, I am all that, plus a side of fries.
D is for Docile: If you know me you’ve probably noticed, I nod in agreement a lot.
E is for Earnest: As earnest as a dog. Look in my eyes and see my heart. No irony, no subtext.
F is for Forgetful: Things set down trail out behind me, never to be found again.
G is for Grateful: For all that has been and for whatever may come, thank you.
H is for Habitual: Every morning the same heavy white china mug warms my hands.
I is for Insignificant: Less than a grain of salt spilled on a tablecloth.
J is for Jumpity: If I sit at this computer one more minute I’ll scream! Wish I had a screen door that would slap shut behind me to announce my escape into the real world.
K is for Knotted: Change is hard, and so I remain, knotted.
L is for Local: I can name any kid, any dog anywhere in the few square blocks of my neighborhood. Local is the only scale I can manage and care about and effect.
M is for Mortal: I watch the spectacle of my own aging, an interested observer–I now know what goes first.
N is for Needy: I crave your company, consume your words like bread.
O is for Ozonated: My early report cards all said: Adrian needs to stop daydreaming and concentrate! Lucky for me I no longer get report cards.
P is for Present: Now is the slant of sunlight on a hard wood floor.
Q is for Questing: After what? I don’t know, but it’s there, just out of reach.
R is for Romantic: Before I draw my next breath my life will irrevocably and forever transform!
S is for Singing: Life’s sound track runs without pause; Go, Go Johnny B Good!
T is for Treasured: Lucky to have been loved all my life, passed from hand to hand like I was worth something.
U is for Unknown: Always in translation, understood only through the unreliable witness of my words.
V is for Vulnerable: Holy crap, I hope nobody catches on–I’m still eleven in here.
W is for Wordy: Let me put that another way…
X is for Xuberant: Rope my ankle before I float away! Rope in hand you can parade me down 5th Avenue.
Y is for Yearning: Seeking its heat I lean toward life, not always wise about keeping a safe distance.
Z is for Zero: The sum of myself. Hopeful and afraid. Kind and selfish. Vocal and silent. I exist at the point of balance.
But enough about me. Give me a few of the A, B, Cs of U.