Daily Archives: April 30, 2015

Z is for Zyzzyva

One Sunday evening after church, we were invited over to the Grohs’ home to play games and eat ice cream. While the adults laughed over squeaky clean jokes in the dining room, Mike (one year older than I) and I and maybe others played the game Probe. (It’s a word game, people.) That was the night I learned the word “syzygy.” I think Mike was only in 8th or 9th grade to my 7th or 8th, but he was one brainy dude. I liked that word a lot, and tried to use it three times in a sentence (because once you did that, the word was yours permanently. I think I learned that from Reader’s Digest). However, even the definition of syzygy was kind of wordy and it didn’t stick.

So, remembering that distinctive word, I went on a little quest tonight to see what exotic word I might come up with. Back to phrontistery.info I went to peruse the list of unusual words that begin with the letter z. Peruse, peruse, scan, hmm, peruse, notice, peruse. Last word. zyzzyva.

I like spelling it. I like saying it. I love what it means (the definition that describes it as the final word in some dictionaries.)  And it’s also the name of a beautiful magazine about west coast artists and writers. It’s also a type of South American weevil, often destructive to plants (emphasis MINE).

Seeing as how this is the LAST entry in the 2015 A to Z blog challenge, I couldn’t resist this word.

ZYZZYVA Magazine‘s website looks to be an absolute treasure trove of interesting books, interviews with artists, events in the San Francisco area, and visually pleasing images.

Zyzzyva: The Last Word in Word Study is a program you can download to study Scrabble words, should you be so inclined.

And, that, dear readers, brings this year’s A to Z Blogging Challenge to a close. Thank you for joining me for this journey and please do continue to visit and comment.









Yes, and ……..

valerie saying yes

When “Whose Line is it Anyway?” was on the air, Greg and I were deep in our “raising-children-without-television” years, so I have only seen a couple sketches on YouTube. There are some great ones with Robin Williams. And when I was growing up, “improvisation” was about the piano! It was cool to be able to improvise on the piano. I don’t even remember hearing about the comedy form of “improv,” even if it was being practiced around me, or even by me!

As I hurtle from book to book in my life, I gnaw my way through some, power my way through others, and positively jump into a few with both feet and all my toes. One of the books in that latter category which I happened on a few years ago is called “Truth in Comedy” by Charna Halpern, Del Close, and Kim “Howard” Johnson. (Figures it would be a collaborative effort since it is the “manual of improvisation” and improv is most definitely a collaborative effort.)

Chapter 4 is called “Yes, &.” Rather than arguing, this rule means the actors agree, AND add something, which gives the other actor something to continue the sketch with.

That works in life, too! When I say “no” to what is happening, I pretty much close off my creative paths. When I say “yes, and” I’m allowing my creative juices to flow in responding to what is happening.

While writing this post, I got sucked into the vortex of YouTube looking for the perfect sketch I could link to. I probably spent an hour, at the end of which I had nothin’. I can say “NO, I DO NOT ACCEPT THIS AND I SHALL FIND A VIDEO, DANG IT.” and then what’s left to me but to continue to go through them one at a time, watching the commercials before every video, getting more and more irritated, looking for the video that I know must be there.

Or, I can say. “Yes, I am not finding a perfect video, and perhaps that means putting a video into this post is not the path for me. Maybe I could finish the post and look later. Maybe I could let my readers search YouTube on their own and find funny videos that they enjoy. Maybe there’s even something different that this post is to be about, something different for me to learn as I write.”

The point, and I do have one, is that saying yes to what is provides a type of agreement that enables me to greet what comes with a semblance of acceptance, and think about how to move forward.

Well, I’ve dithered around with this one for long enough. Or maybe, yes, I’ve dithered with this post for quite some time, and I’d really like to feel good about posting it, so I’m going to stick with it for just a few more minutes . . .

And now I am ready to post. What phrases do you find helpful in dealing with the inevitable changes that come?