Reader, there are so many newsletter drafts in my dashboard. I was waiting for a definitive point, a feeling that now I can write, or this is something I must write about.
Eventually the drafts were less like various beginnings waiting to happen, but a graveyard for words. Letting every Sunday go by instead of writing seemed easier. I think many can relate to this, especially within my ADHD community. But as we know, getting started again is the key.
I imagined after my death, a friend somehow combing through the drafts of this newsletter. It makes me glad I have no need to have friends tend to my ‘estate’ when I pass. It’s all digital clutter, and they will go when the first credit card payment lapses.
Is there a word for when we unearth an old written draft after we discover an old blog platform login, or stumble upon childhood diary pages? I can’t think of that word, but I can share some others I do like, after the first below*:
Döstädning: a Swedish word for death cleaning, a continuous decluttering in consideration of those who must tend to what you leave behind in death. I don’t know if I like the word so much as I feel obliged to share it given the genesis of this letter.
Onism: The crushing knowledge that we are restricted to live only one reality, at one point in time, all the time. Knowing that your lived reality is fundamentally anti-multiverse.
Isekai: A Japanese word for another world. This is my favourite manga genre, even if it is typically replete with an uncomfortable amount of happy imperialism introducing otherworlders to mundane marvels like soap, or Japanese culture.
Pandiculation: when you have a good long yawn, stretch your fists in the air until your elbows lock – that satisfying movement is pandiculation. Cats do it all the time, I think it's a great word. Sometimes when I pandiculate hard enough, I can hear my heartbeat and I see spots.
Rubatosis: An awareness of your own heartbeat. I think of this word whenever I am stressed, and hear the whooshing of my blood inside my ears (pulsatile tinnitus is the sound you hear). It is a form of interoception, our vague thoughts and feelings on what is happening within our bodies (eg: feeling heaty or my kidneys are tired). I wish I knew one specifically for sensing our blood pressure.
Batin: “If jiwa is soul, then batin is the soul’s character traits, its feelings and thoughts.” — ila’s description of batin (alongside other words) was so soft and thoughtful, I felt a new appreciation for the word. Read more over at her newsletter, half-baked stirrings.
*I mean, I’m no lexicographer, but don’t email me corrections. Let me inaccurately enjoy words if necessary. But absolutely do email me words you like.
I don’t want this to turn into some insufferable “Look at all these fancy words I know” list — if it’s already there, I can’t help you — but I will recommend some things I like, so if you like words you might like these too.
1. Sticky Terms
When I need a quick break at work, I play a round of this. It's a game about words without translations (I view some with quite a pinch of salt). Letters are broken apart and scattered around the screen, and you have to reassemble them into words. You can view the trailer here.
As an aside, I watched an English video where someone said of course every word can be translated, but maybe not encapsulated with just one word. It’s such an annoying, hubris-filled idea — anyone who has tried to explain what manja means over many many words to a monolingual English speaker will know exactly why.
2. Etymology geek
As some of you may know, ich lerne Deutsch. Part of what I like is to look at the etymology of words to see if they come from familiar roots. I mostly only look at German words, but the site covers many more. The ten largest collections are quite European, but I occasionally poke around the Chinese section. Also, pinch of salt, etc.
I'm not always here, but when I am, I can lose a fair amount of time. As above, I like looking at nonsense (eg: what is the etymology of etymology), but there is also another section I scroll through: Foreign word of the day. Yes, I too, feel the “Foreign your head!” vibes, but it does not mean the content itself is not interesting.
4. Typing websites
It’s not a resource for more words, but you can produce more words in the same amount of time if you type fast :)
I am not a particularly fast typist. I think this surprises some people, because they’ve seen me do transcribe conversations on the fly. English itself is not a particularly fast language, and there are certain letter patterns.
I have poor typing discipline; I don’t work at improving my typing much, though I know where I could. I would love to learn Plover one day.
If you are the more motivated sort, here are some resources:
I mostly use Monkeytype to test if my keyboard builds affect typing speed. I recently customised two keyboards, switching my keycaps to cherry profile and OEM profile. My typing is faster on the cherry, which troubles me a tad as that is on my secondary keyboard.
I hope to assemble the keyboard of my dreams in 2023. Until then, this will have to do: a full mahjong-themed mechanical keyboard I recently customised. I am still in the midst of tweaking it (new mahjong keys, quieter switches), but will have to wait for certain deliveries to arrive.
I don’t see myself using this theme forever, but for now, I am quite pleased with it.
I end this with a word for a favourite game that has recently returned to my life:
Sudoku: Caveat: I have no idea what it means. The internet, which is full of facts, provides two possibilities: that in Japanese it means sū (number) and doku (single); or Sūji wa dokushin ni kagiru (the digits must be single/occur only once) where the first syllables were taken to form Sudoku (and not Sudoka, why, idk).