Have you ever been in the middle of a debate -- or say, a friendly verbal exchange -- and suddenly a word pops out of your mouth; a word you've never used in your whole life?
"Verisimilitude," for example. And then the rest of the conversation is lost on you, because you're so intrigued with how this word got purchase in your brain, why it took this particular moment to make its appearance. "Verisimilitude," you think, "Verisimilitude? What the hell is that?"
But if, in the background, the chatter continues, you think, "Yes, score! I got it right."
It takes you back to when you first learned a language, something beyond nouns and verbs. The first time language touched concepts -- and you knew words could embrace something greater than an's or is's or even a does.
I used "confluence" for the first time, recently. Oh, my friends have been conflueing this and that for ages, but I couldn't. So I sort of pledged, sub-consciously, that sometime this year, I would find the perfect moment (it's like waiting for the double-dutch jump ropes to invite you in), to enter "confluence" somewhere during a conversation.
What can I say? For me, language is both a religious experience and a competitive sport.
Next on the list: Diaspora and marginalia. Both very popular among my set. And even though ephemera seems to be huge this year, I'll pass and stick with stuff.