I have discovered a new word and nothing makes me happier. Junkettaceous means frivolous and it sounds down right fabulous rolling off one’s tongue. No really try it! I want to say it over and over again! I want to fit it into sentences where it clearly doesn’t belong, like I am having the most junkettaceous lasagne this evening, and Well I never! Isn’t that quite the most junkettaceous mobile phone you ever saw!
I do love a good word. I like happening across words I don’t understand and having to look them up. I like sitting in bed on a cold and rainy Saturday afternoon reading poetry aloud and bringing meaning to the lilt and fall of each sentence…
I am happy after a lovely night out last night. Relaxed because there is nowhere I need to be in this moment in time. Both meditabund and saturnalian all at once. A contradictory state that has me smiling beatifically and closing my eyes to listen to the giddy dance of my blood. Now I am indulging in a bit of accubation. Sprawled across my cream sofa for the last time before it is replaced by a vintage brown leather Chesterfield, I intend to soften with cream blankets and bark-cloth floral cushions.
Saturday afternoons in February exist only for the most junkettaceous of pursuits and so I am eating almond biscuits and reading Astor Place Vintage, listening to Gene Kelly singing in the rain and planning the most wonderful of fiddly, frivolous little junkets of nibbly things to eat while watching foreign films on Curzon (Gloria tonight) and snuggling Finn up in the den built from blankets strung between his bookcases once he has finished dancing at his first evening disco. And in-between it all, I am awash with words. Scouring the internet for new ones. Hoarding poems like so many collectible stamps, on secret Pinterest boards…
In the small town I grew up in, there was a wizened old woman called Maria, a greek matron with a hunched back and the long stringy grey hair of the witch all the children of Maghull thought she was because she plastered her windows of her falling down house with bewildering, screechy, hand-scrawled notes and spent all her waking hours in the district library: a pen in one hand and the dictionary in the other, making lists of words and popping yellow post-it notes between the pages of all the books she fingered with her grubby, arthritic hands, wherever, I presumed, she saw spellings and punctuation that needed correcting.
I wasn’t scared of her, more I found her utterly fascinating. Where had she come from? It was along way from Greece to Merseyside suburbia and she seemed so very alone in the world. Why was she so angry? Why were words her weapons? Her stock in the poverty stricken trade that was her daily life? Who was she before she was became this malicious, terrified crone?
This then was what words could do to a person. Bewitch, bother and bewilder them. Maria was the subject of the first poem I ever wrote. A someone, I stood between aisles of literary possibility and stared at, listening to her muttering in a foreign language, translating sentences into her own complex, passionate tongue and once holding back exhausted tears standing at the front desk while she tried to make herself understood. She was proof to me that it was in among a thousand words where madness truly lay. Words that to this day, I consume, devour and harbour.
I wonder then what Maria used to do on a dank and lonely February Saturday night like this one? Whether there was ever a junkettaceous moment in her entire life, and more than that who we become once passion and fear get a grip of us?