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A Drove of Draws

My theme for the Blogging from A to Z Challenge is contronyms. A contronym is a word with two or more opposite meanings, making it its own antonym. Click here to find out more about these quirky words.
Molly with the letter DThe featured contronym for the letter D is draw. I thought buckle and clip had a lot of definitions, but draw blows them all away. With so many definitions for one small word, I’m sure there are several meanings that could be considered opposites.
When I was searching for contronyms, one place listed draw with the definitions ‘to open’ or ‘to shut,’ as in drawing the curtains can mean to open them or to shut them. After reading the various definitions for draw, however, I think both of those fall under the definition ‘to cause to move in a particular direction by or as if by a pulling force; pull; drag.' You might pull the drapes open or you might pull them shut, but that doesn’t really make this context of draw have opposite meanings because you are pulling regardless of the direction.
But going down the list I did find a few meanings I thought were opposites:
To contract, shrink
~ or ~
to pull out, stretch
~ and ~
To bring together
~ or ~
To pull apart
Essentially both these meaning pairs have to do with movement – moving inward or moving outward – it’s just that the perspectives are slightly different. Here is a color-coded super-short kind-of-gruesome story to illustrate various meanings of draw:
The advertisement offering free iPads draws a huge crowd abuzz with excitement about their good fortune. But their excitement turns to fear when aliens surround the prey caught by their trap. As the slimy green creatures draw closer, the crowd draws together for protection. The aliens reach in, drawing members from out the huddle. They play with their food like little kids. Who knew the human body could be drawn so far until it rips? The screams soon subside as this tale of greed draws to a close.
Hmmm... not really a prize-winning story there, but it does draw attention to the word draw. And since there are so many meanings for draw, I threw in a few extras that have nothing to do with the contronym connotations.
Are you familiar with contronyms? There are other ‘D’ contronyms out there, can you think of any? How Darling is Molly with her letter D?
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Crazy Clips

Chloe with the letter CMy theme for the Blogging from A to Z Challenge is contronyms. A contronym is a word with two or more opposite meanings, making it its own antonym. Click here to find out more about these quirky words.

For the letter C, I’m featuring the contronym clip. Clip has even more definitions than yesterday’s buckle, but many of them boil down to one set of opposing meanings:

To fasten, attach

~ or ~

To cut off, detach

To show today’s contronym in action, I’m going to use clips from Youtube. Ha, see what I did there?

Rebecca was forced to clip on the flowing locks from some stranger’s head…

… after her sister clipped her hair while sleeping because their mother always loved Rebecca best.

Does anyone know what show the second clip is from? I have no idea, since I just stumbled on it while searching, but I do know that it looks bonkers. My favorite part was when she oh so dramatically fell asleep, but the dramatic pissed-off hair brushing was pretty entertaining, too.

Are you familiar with contronyms? There are other ‘C’ contronyms out there, can you think of any? How Cuddly is Chloe with her letter C?


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Bedazzling Buckles

My theme for the Blogging from A to Z Challenge is contronyms. A contronym is a word with multiple meanings that are opposites, making it its own antonym. Click here to find out more about these quirky words.
Today’s contronym is buckle, which turns out to have several definitions and more than one pair of opposites.
Bedazzled Belt
Photo credit: Brano Hudak
Buckle - to fasten, hold together, connect
Every time Jimmy’s mom caught him with his pants hanging past his butt, she made him buckle them with her bedazzled belt as punishment.
~ or ~
Buckle - to collapse, fall apart, break
Simone sat in Blake’s lap to seduce him, but the chair buckled underneath them – emergency room visits were not sexy.
~ and ~
Buckle - to apply oneself with vigor
Emma’s dad made a flippant promise to buy her a car if she got straight A’s her senior year, so she buckled down and studied for the first time in her life, completely shocking him and his bank account.
~ or ~

Bailey with the letter B

Buckle - to give way, yield
When the crisis started, the boss buckled and hid under his desk, leaving his assistant to prove she was always the brains behind his success.
In both of these pairs, one definition is about strength and one is about weakness. In the first pair, it’s about physical power, whereas the second pair is about internal fortitude. I wonder if there’s a term for a contronym with multiple opposing definitions. I say we make up our own – how about über-contronymy or extra-contronymized?
Are you familiar with contronyms? There are other ‘B’ contronyms out there, can you think of any? Any naming suggestions for contronyms with multiple opposing pairs? How Beautiful is Bailey with her letter B?
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Absolutely Anxious

My theme for the Blogging from A to Z Challenge is contronyms. A contronym is a word with two or more opposite meanings, making it its own antonym. Click here to find out more about these quirky words.

Freya with the letter AIt's April 1st, so the A to Z challenge is now officially started! Over the past few weeks, the approaching kickoff made me feel anxious. But what does that mean?  
Was I greatly worried or full of mental distress because of apprehension of danger or misfortune?
Or was I eager or looking forward to something?
I could be either one of those because anxious is a contronym. Saying I'm anxious could mean I'm excited about something, or it could mean I'm apprehensive about something. Both meanings for anxious usually produce a sensation in the gut, but one is a happy flutter and the other is a sad churning.
As for me being anxious for the start of the A to Z challenge, it's actually a little bit of both definitions. I've been looking forward to meeting lots of new blogging friends, but I've also been very worried about keeping up with the posts.
I also discovered that like a glass with water to the halfway mark, the way anxious is used might give a clue to the speaker's outlook on life. I almost always use anxious to mean I'm nervous (and assumed that's the way everyone else used it), and I'm definitely a glass half empty kind of gal. But while talking with my brother, who sees the glass as half full, he said he always uses anxious to mean he's excited. Granted this is only a two person sample, but I thought it was interesting that we mostly use anxious in different contexts.
And because visuals are always more fun:
Sarah was anxious to see her father...
Anxious - eager
... but she was anxious about meeting her stepmother.
Anxious - nervous
Since today's letter is A, I'd also like to say thank you to Arlee Bird for creating this crazy blogging challenge. It's such a great way to meet new people and to discover new things about the way we blog. Thanks, Arlee! 
Are you familiar with contronyms? Do you usually use anxious in the positive or negative sense and does that correlate with a half-full/half-empty outlook on life? How Adorable is Freya with her letter A?
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Fun with Contronyms

I've recently become obsessed with contronyms, so much so that I've picked it to be my theme for the Blogging from A to Z challenge. Before the challenge starts, I thought I'd share some of what I've learned about them.

The simple definition for contronym is a word with multiple meanings that are the opposite of each other. The intended meaning is usually made clear by the context of the sentence.
To throw some fancier words around, a contronym is a word that has a homograph that is also its antonym. Homographs are words with the same spelling but different meanings, and antonyms are words with opposite meanings; so with a controym, you get two semantic occurrences for the price of one.
Jack Herring coined the phrase contronym in 1962, although two years before, Joseph T. Shipley named the same phenomenon auto-antonym (sometimes spelled autantonym), which means the word is a self-antonym.  
Janus and contronymsAnother common term for these quirky words is Janus words. Janus was the Roman god of beginnings and endings and is usually shown having two faces - one looking to the future and one to the past. Since Janus is always looking in opposite directions at the same time, his name really fits these words that have opposite meanings.
Other terms for these types of words are antagonym, enantiodrome, antilogy, and sometimes contranym is used as an alternate spelling for contronym.  Since contronym is the first term I learned for these fun words, that's the one I'm going to use.
At first I thought English was the only language weird enough to do something so ridiculous as have the same word mean two completely opposite things (and then come up with several different terms to describe the illogical phenomenon!), but wikipedia indicates several other languages participate in this confusing practice. You can read more details here.
A common example of a contronym is bolt which can mean to secure (bolt the shelf to the wall) or to run away (the horse bolted from the barn). And anyone who read Amelia Bedelia as kid knows how confusing a contronym can be from the infamous dusting scene, since dust can mean to remove fine particles (dust the furniture) or add fine particles (dust sugar on the cake). 
Throughout the month of April, I'll present alphabetical examples of contronyms for the A to Z challenge, so I hope you'll stop by to see how weird and wonderful our language can be.
Have you heard of contronyms before? How about any of the other terms used for the phenomenon? Are you ready for the start of the A to Z challenge?

The Big Reveal Bloghop

The Big Reveal Blog HopMina and David are hosting The Big Reveal blog hop today so that folks participating in the Blogging from A to Z Challenge can share their themes together. I was already planning a post about my theme and why I picked it, so finding this hop-within-a-hop was perfect timing.

Last year was my first A to Z, and like most things that challenge me, I had a love-hate relationship with it. It was amazing meeting so many new blogger friends, many of whom I still chat with regularly in the blogosphere, but writing new blog posts every day nearly put me down for the count. If I was going to participate again, I had to do things differently this time.
Well, Jocelyn, why don’t you write your posts in advance like the sane people do? *falls to the ground laughing hysterically* Yeah, that’s not gonna happen.
Besides the rampant and appalling procrastination, I think my biggest issue last year was I made things too complicated. My theme was actually six different themes, one for each day of the week. The variety was supposed to keep things fresh for both my readers and me, but it ended up keeping me from finding a blogging groove. I also put a lot of unrealistic pressure on myself that every post had to be hysterically funny and deeply insightful at the same time. Yeah, that’s not gonna happen either. 
So I needed a simple theme, but the clock was ticking and I couldn’t think of anything. Then a few weeks ago the 15 Minute Tweet Tales word of the day was contronym, which is a word with multiple definitions that are the opposite of each other. For example: dust can mean to remove fine particles (dust the furniture) or to add fine particles (dust the cookies with sugar). 
Despite my love of words, I’d never heard this term before, and it kind of blew my mind. I mean, how weird is English that we have words (turns out quite a lot of them) with meanings that are complete opposites AND we actually have a word to describe that illogical phenomenon? Fascinating! Well, at least it is to this word nerd. Speaking of word nerd, here’s my tweet tale using the word contronym: Tiger was excited to hear he was being fixed, thinking his stolen claws were being replaced. Poor kitty didn't know about contronyms.
As I hit up my old friend Google for more info about this new-to-me word, I found several lists with example contronyms. A whisper at the back of my brain pointed out that the words seemed to be covering a considerable span of the alphabet. I felt a thrill – could this be it? Had I finally found my theme? With more research, I found a contronym for every letter but two. Close enough! I’ll just have to be creative on those two days. 
I’m really excited about my contronym theme. I’ll get to explore more about this concept that has captivated me, and the posts should be relatively simple. Each day I’ll post a contronym and its contradicting definitions plus something fun to illustrate them – it might be pictures, maybe a tweet tale, perhaps a very short story, or any other ways I find to get creative. I hope you’ll drop by during A to Z to revel in word nerdiness with me.
But if that’s not enough to entice you back, then how about cute doggie pictures? Like last year, each day I’ll feature one of the Rish family dogs displaying the letter of the day. They’re too cute to miss! To give you a sneak peek, here’s the video I put together last year for the A to Z Video Challenge:
The Blogging from A to Z challenge is tough but rewarding, so if you’ve never participated before, you really should try it. Click here to sign up. Hope to see you around the alphabet in April!
Are you participating in the A to Z Challenge this year? If so, are you going with or without a theme? Care to share your theme? Have you already written your posts?


Alphabet Insanity

Survivor A to ZLast month I participated in my first Blogging from A to Z Challenge, and now it's time for the Reflections post - I have to say the experience was both awesome and awful.  Much like NaNoWriMo (or giving birth so I’ve been told), I hated it while it was happening and swore I’d never do it again, but now I’m looking back on it with fondness and already looking forward to the next one.  

Even though all the hosts and previous participants kept advising us to write our posts in advance, my bestest buddy Procrastination convinced me that was crazy talk because nightly adrenaline-fueled blogging sessions are the BEST!  Turns out they just made me feel drained and resentful.  By the end of week two, I really wanted to throw in the towel (and forever abandon my blog), but I’m a real stickler for finishing what I’ve started, so I kept slogging through. And now I feel such a fabulous sense of accomplishment, and I’m (mostly) proud of the posts I wrote.  And since I’m still relatively new to this whole blogging thing, I learned a lot about what I liked to blog about and what other people like to read (unfortunately, not always the same thing).

Instead of one overall theme, I broke it down by days of the week: obscure Netflix movies on Monday, writing tips on Tuesday, a free-for-all on Wednesday that turned out to be mostly about my dogs, television on Thursday, short films on Friday, and I wrote very short stories on Saturday.  My favorite days were the ones where I talked about movies and television, but the days I had the most blog traffic and comments were the writing tip days followed by dog post days.  

Writing tips being the most popular posts really surprised me.  I’d actually been avoiding those types of posts in the past because so many other writer-bloggers cover tips and advice on writing who are funnier/more insightful/have more clout than I do.  The fact that people responded so positively to my writing tips posts has me considering writing more in the future.  

I do have to mention I was a little disappointed about the “return on my investment.”  I spent A LOT of time commenting on other participants’ blogs, and I’d say only about ten percent of those people ever visited mine in return.  Since I’m such a goody-goody rule follower, I get frustrated when others don’t (even if it’s just common courtesy blogging guidelines).  Plus, since I don’t use Blogger, I can’t have the Google Friend Connect widget on my site; and people don’t seem to follow blogs via email or RSS feeds (both these numbers only increased by a few over the month of April), so I didn’t gain a horde of new followers like I was hoping at the start of the month.  Although both these things could be a commentary on my blog posts, so I’ll definitely be re-examining my posts to make sure I’m providing interesting and/or worthwhile content.    

But even though I felt a bit bummed about the number of new visitors, I have to say quality without a doubt trumps quantity.  I met some fantastic new folks over the month of April:  wonderful blogs I discovered and now look forward to reading and people who found my blog and became regular and insightful commenters.  So even though some nights had me moaning about writing a new post or sad that my numbers weren’t spiking, I am so happy I participated because otherwise I never would have crossed paths with these amazing people.  They were so worth those bleary-eyes nights of trying to think of something to say!

I want to thank all the wonderful hosts of the challenge (especially Arlee Bird for thinking up such a tortuous and rewarding challenge) for all their hard work.  And thank you to everyone who stopped by during April to read my babblings – it means a lot to me!

ABC AwardIn other alphabet-related news, Jeri at JeriWB Writes gave me the ABC award.  Since the ABC stands for “Awesome Blog Content,” I was extremely honored - thanks Jeri!  Jeri blogs about writing, teaching, and even restaurants, so swing by and check out her blog.  I’m supposed to use all 26 letters of the alphabet to say something about myself and then pass it on, but 1) these blog awards are one of the few times I actually do break the rules 2) the past month of abecedarian antics has me alphabet adverse, so I’m just going to suggest people read my A-Z posts since they reveal a lot about me.  

Write MotivationOne last piece of business before I sign off… Monday means it’s time for an update on my #writemotivation goals.  I must shamefacedly admit I have made no actual progress on my WIP.  However, I did have a lot of other stuff that needed to get done, which I have now completed, so hopefully with no other tasks to provide avenues of productive procrastination I will now be able to make some real progress.

How was your experience with the A to Z challenge?  Are you already planning for next year?  Did you make positive progress with your #writemotivation goals? 

It’s #writemotivation Time Again!

#writemotivationBetween the Blogging from A to Z challenge and temporarily moving my 15 Minute Tweet Tales roundup posts to Sunday, I just finished writing a blog post every day in April.  For a procrastinating, occasional blogger like me, that’s HUGE.  But now I kind of desperately want a blogging vacation.  In fact, I was planning to stay away for at least a week.  But today is the first day of the latest #writemotivation goal-check month, so I really needed to post my goals.  It’s actually pretty simple this time because there is only one that matters:


And when I say finish, I actually mean finally start the rewrite.

January was the first #writemotivation month, and it was so helpful for me to finally be accountable for my writing goals.  In fact, because of all the encouragement I got from the group, I have kept up with some of my smaller goals like writing a tweet tale every day and posting on my blog once a week.  However, I let some of the biggies get away from me.

I didn’t sign up for March #writemotivation month because I knew I had too much going on with movie stuff to be able to write, but I’m so glad May is a goal-check month because it’s time to get serious about this rewrite.  Yeah, I’m pretty sure I said that last time too, but this time I really mean it (you can tell because I bolded, italicized, and underlined it).  If you happened to visit my blog last Wednesday, you know a fire has been newly lit under my butt, and it’s time to stop dawdling.

I know I really should break this one goal into smaller weekly goals so it’s easier to gauge my progress and keep myself accountable.  But since I need to add scenes and do some character brainstorming in addition to line-by-line polishing, I’m having trouble figuring out the best plan of attack.  But I’m working on it.

I also realize if I want to do this rewrite right, it's lilkely I won't actually finish in a month.  However, I won’t feel bad about that as long as I am making serious progress.  But if I spend the first three weeks talking about rewriting and then start rewriting in a mad rush the last week, I will be very disappointed in myself.  

So I’m looking forward to some #writemotivation cookies when I need some encouragement and some whip cracking when I’m being stupid.  And I’m excited to cheer on everyone else.  Here’s to a great month of meeting our writing goals!

Are you participating in #writemotivation?  Any specific goals (writing or otherwise) for the month?  How do you keep yourself writing when there are so many fun distractions?

Photo credit to Hugh Lee and licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

Zombie Zeal

Freya with the letter ZWe’ve finally made it to the last day of the Blogging from A to Z challenge!  There were definitely days I wasn’t sure I was going to make it to the end, but I’ll save that for my reflections post next week. For now, it’s Movie Monday and the letter is Z, so you know what that means - zombies!!  Which is kind of ironic considering I feel a bit like a zombie after a month of daily blogging.

I’ve always been a fan of zombie movies.  Zombies may seem slow and bumbling, but their sheer numbers and determination make then pretty dang scary.  Today’s Netflix Watch Instantly selection is called Zombie Apocalypse (in some listings there is a 2012 in the title).  For my previous Monday Movie selections, I picked ones I’d never heard of until the Netflix ratings predictor assured me I was going to love it (and the ratings were always right).  But in this case, Netflix tried to warn me off, saying, “Girl, you are NOT going to like this, turn back now, you could do so much more with this hour and a half, like trim your dog’s toenails.”  Usually I listen to Auntie Netflix because her rating system really ‘gets’ me, but I had another reason for wanting to watch this particular zombie flick.

Jocelyn Rish, Gary Weeks, and Brian RishTwo months ago, my short film Saying Goodbye was screened at the Beaufort International Film Festival.  While there, we met a charming guy named Gary Weeks.  He introduced himself as a screenwriter, but my sister thought he looked familiar, so we looked him up on IMDb.  Turns out he’s also an actor who’s played several parts we remembered, including Fiona’s paramedic boyfriend from Burn Notice.  We chatted with Gary several times over the course of the festival, and he was very nice; so since we are zombie fans, we decided to watch him in action as one of the main characters in Zombie Apocalypse despite Netflix’s dire prediction.

Well, the Netflix rating system enjoyed having another chance to say, “I told you so.”  As much as I wanted to like it because of Gary, I was not a fan.  I think Gary did a great job giving his character depth and pathos because I’m 99% sure none of that was actually on the page since the script was so bad.  It was as blandly typical as a zombie movie gets - a random group of survivors trying to… survive.  The dialog was cringe-worthy to the point I was embarrassed for all the actors who had to deliver the lines.  And there were actually well-known actors involved in the project like Ving Rhames, Taryn Manning, Eddie Steeples (Crabman!), and Lesley-Ann Brandt (aka the gal who left the buzz-worthy show Spartacus to be in American movies. Oops!).  I guess the producers spent their entire budget on hiring familiar faces because the zombie makeup and special effects were bargain basement terrible.

Zombie ApocalypseIt wasn’t all bad.  There were a few creative zombie kills, and the characters actually wore sports gear when wandering around to protect themselves from potential zombie bites (I don’t recall seeing that in previous zombie movies I’ve watched, but I’ve now added looting a sporting goods store to the top of my to-do list when the zombie apocalypse actually happens… ‘cause you know it’s coming!).  Also, there was one character who got some funny one-liners, but I actually think it was more the actor’s delivery than the lines themselves.  Annnd… that’s about it as far as bright spots.

So even though I thought Gary was a great guy, I can’t recommend this movie.  But I will be checking out some of Gary’s other movies and following his career as both a filmmaker and an actor.  


Have you seen Zombie Apocalypse?   What did you think of it?  Any really good zombie movie recommendations?  How Zonked is Freya with her letter Z (just like I feel!)?

Temporarily Tweet Tales Sunday Week 16

15 Minute Twet TalesI can’t believe there is only one more letter left for the Blogging from A to Z challenge. April has FLOWN by.  So this is the last time for the temporarily relocated 15 Minute Tweet Tales.  I’ll skip posting them this Tuesday (since there will only be two new ones and I am more than ready for a blogging break!) and return to the regular Tweet Tales Tuesday schedule next week.

4/23 – Fascinated by the body, Jim plans to be a doctor ‘til he discovers he’s really the scion of a mass murderer & ?s his love of viscera.

4/24 – I recall the vespertine waltz of fireflies from my childhood. The lack of dancing lights in my yard means The Darkness is winning.

4/25 – She bought candles that smelled like cookies and grass. Her womb was permanently empty, but her house could still be redolent of kids.

4/26 – She stared at her husband’s carpaccio and the raw meat made her pregnant belly queasy. She smiled. “You’re right, it’s another girl.”

4/27 – Her nescience about a proper diet for dogs led 2 a pooch 2 pudgy 2 toddle, so she carried him everywhere, thriving on his adoration.

4/28 – Anger flared at his admission, so she left before she did something indefeasible like thrusting that whore’s stiletto into his heart.

4/29 – Every so often, Judge Sue revisited the quondam life that paid her way through law school. The gavel gave her and the johns a thrill. 

Play along and write tweet tales for the above words.  If you’re willing to share, post them on twitter with the hashtag #15tt or add them below in the comments because I’d love to read them.  Any thoughts about this week's tweet tales?