Word of the Week: Lachrymose

Word: lachrymose

Pronunciation: LA-krə-mohs / LA-krə-mohz

Part of Speech: adjective

Definition: tearful or given to weeping

Source: Oxford Dictionaries


A few weeks ago, I shared a word to describe people who feel overly sentimental. Along those lines, here’s another word for those who tend to be especially tearful or inclined to crying. Maybe you didn’t get a chance to fully celebrate the month of love this year, but hopefully it hasn’t made you “lachrymose”!

To be “lachrymose” is to be given to weeping or tearful. The word arose in the mid 17th century in the sense “like tears” and comes from the Latin adjective lacrimosus, meaning “causing tears”. This adjective stems from the noun lacrima, which means “tear”.

I first heard this word in the 2004 movie A Series of Unfortunate Events, when Aunt Josephine shows the Baudelaire children the view of Lake Lachrymose from her window. Though I’ve loved the sound of it ever since, I would recommend the word mostly for poetry as opposed to narrative, simply for how formal it comes across compared to simpler synonyms like “teary” and “misty-eyed”. Still, if you think it fits the style of your writing, feel free to work it into a story. If your characters often find themselves getting emotional, “lachrymose” may be a good word to keep on your vocabulary list!

What are your thoughts on this word? Any suggestions for future “Word of the Week” featured words?

White Dove

One cold evening,
I looked outside
At the ashen sky,
Trembling with grief
For the world
I once knew
And loved,
A world I feared
I might never
Know again.

But a white dove
Came to me,
Bathed in light,
And told me
Not to be afraid,
That the world
Could be better
If only I chose
To make it so.

She told me
That Light
Is stronger
Than Darkness,
That Hope
Is stronger
Than Fear,
That Love
Is stronger
Than Hate.

She reminded me
That just as
The night
Comes before
The dawn
And every storm
Is followed
By sunshine,
So does resistance
Precede acceptance.

Her words
Filled my heart
With hope
And gave
My spirit wings.
In that moment,
The fear I’d felt
Gave way to courage
And the promise
Of a brighter future.

As I watched her
Fly away
Into the sunset,
I smiled,
Knowing now
What I must do.

If I want to
Make the world
A better place,
I have to believe
I can start
With myself.
It’s time to
Be the change.


My submission to the February Poets for Peace collaboration. May we all be the change we wish to see in the world!

3 Lessons from My Father That Inspire My Writing

Last year, I shared a post about the lessons I’ve learned from my mother and how they inspire my writing. Today, I’d like to honor my other greatest role model with the most important lessons he’s taught me and how I apply them to my fiction. My family has played a large role in my life choices as well as my creativity, and much of that is thanks to the wisest man I know: my father!

So this week, I’d like to dedicate my creative writing post to the man who lovingly raised me by sharing three of my favorite lessons from him that inspire my stories. Enjoy, and thanks for the inspiration, Dad!

1) Real men respect women.

There’s a lot of debate around the question of what constitutes “being a man”. Some people measure masculinity through physical strength, others through intelligence or courage, and still others through power or wealth. Many even claim that the only requirement to make a man is a Y chromosome. My dad, however, seems to have his own idea of what it means to be a man. He’s not a big fan of sports (unless you count the tennis game in Wii Sports), he values wisdom coming from anyone, and he considers people who show off their wealth petty and obnoxious. In truth, the only men I’ve ever heard him call “not real men” are those accused of mistreating women.

If I learned anything from my dad, it’s that a real man knows his worth shouldn’t be measured by the power he can exert over women, but by how well he thrives when on equal footing with them. My whole life, my father was the only man in the house (even most of our pets were female!), yet from the respectful way he always treated his wife and daughters, I know any brothers I might have had growing up would be just as chivalrous today. That’s why the male heroes in my stories are always gentlemen who treat their female peers as equals and never look down on them in any way (the same can’t always be said for the villains). It’s a lesson my dad has been teaching me for as long as I can remember, and one I continue to work into my fiction to this day. If I expect to be treated decently by the men in my life, my heroines must demand no less from the men in theirs!

2) Whatever you do in life, strive to be happy.

One piece of advice my dad always gave me and my sisters was to “be happy”. That may sound vague, but what he really meant was that we should always make choices that lead to a positive and fulfilling life, in every possible aspect. Pursue a career in something you love doing. Marry a person – not “man”, “person” – who loves and respects you. Avoid people and situations that make you miserable. Tackle the problems you can solve and let go of the ones you can’t. In a nutshell, every decision must be made with a single clear goal in mind: being a happier person.

So I’ve tried to make choices that benefit my happiness. I’ve pursued writing and science because I love both. I’m in a relationship with someone who makes me laugh and who treats me like royalty. I work hard for the things I want and try to get past the things that make me unhappy (hard as it is much of the time). And I apply the same lesson to my stories: I give my characters clear ideas of what they want in life and the courage to jump through every hoop imaginable to get it. I once wrote a protagonist who was ready to throw everything else in her life away for the one thing she desired. Why? Because she knew it was the only thing that would make her happy.

As a writer, I’ve come to realize my father has essentially been telling me to be the heroine of my own comedy. And as long as I’m willing to pursue happiness above all else, my characters will continue to do the same.

3) A woman’s father is the most important male figure in her life.

Every girl, no matter how many strong women surround her, still needs a man in her life to serve as an example of what she should expect from all the other men she ever meets. Brothers, uncles, grandfathers, and even male friends can provide some insight, but no man is more influential in a woman’s life than her father. He’s the man who raised her, who watched her grow up, who was always there for her (or in many cases, wasn’t). He’s the first man who ever loved her and the only one guaranteed to love her forever. How can any other man hope to compare?

Princess Merida sharing a laugh with her father, King Fergus (Brave, 2012)

More often than not, the way a girl interacts with her father growing up will set the standard for how she interacts with men throughout her adult life. The relationship I have with my dad is one of my most valuable family ties because he’s more than just a cool dad to me; he’s a mentor and a friend. Our bond has made me the woman I am today and has served as inspiration for several father-daughter relationships in my fiction, and his wisdom continues to guide me and influence my stories about family. I’ve learned much from my mother and sisters, but my connection with my father will always be exceptional!

What about you? Have you ever been creatively inspired by your father’s lessons? What sorts of stories or poetry has he inspired?

Today’s post is dedicated to my father, whose love and lessons have always been a wonderful inspiration to me. Happy Birthday, Dad! I love you!

Word of the Week: Kakistocracy

Word: kakistocracy

Pronunciation: ka-ki-STAH-krə-see

Part of Speech: noun

Definition: government by the least suitable or competent citizens of a state

Source: Oxford Dictionaries


Happy Presidents’ Day! To celebrate, here’s a new political word to add to your vocabulary. Yes, I know I said I don’t like getting political on my blog, but with so many interesting words floating around my news feeds these days, I couldn’t pass up the chance to feature a few more of them in my Word of the Week segment! Don’t ask me where I found this one (not that it isn’t obvious); I just thought it was so eye-catching that I had to write about it here. It’s definitely relevant for many people this year; I’m sure none of us expected to be faced with the possibility of a “kakistocracy” in our lifetimes!

A “kakistocracy” is a government run by the least competent or suitable citizens of a state. The word arose in English in the early 19th century and was coined by English author Thomas Love Peacock as an antonym for “aristocracy” (in the sense “government of a state by its best citizens”). This noun comprises two Ancient Greek roots: the adjective kákistos “worst” and the noun krátos “power”.

Whenever I read the word “kakistocracy”, the first image that comes to mind is a dystopian society. What else would you expect from a government run by the least qualified people imaginable? The word certainly seems fitting for fiction about states on the verge of collapse, though it’s more terrifying to think it’s becoming common in nonfiction media. If your story is set in a world run by an incompetent government, you may have created your own “kakistocracy”!

What are your thoughts on this word? Any suggestions for future “Word of the Week” featured words?

Your Wise Words

If there’s one thing I remember
From the days when I was small,
It’s the lessons that you taught me,
The wisest words of all.

You told me to be happy
In whatever I might do,
Whether writing for a living
Or finding love that’s true.

Your incredible work ethic
Was your family’s guiding light,
As you worked from early morning
To the late hours of night.

For the family you so love,
You do everything you can,
And your three adoring daughters
See you as their Superman.

You’re the best male role model
That a girl has ever had.
I’d say my greatest blessing
Is to have you for a dad.

So I say to you, dear father
(I think you know the rest),
I love you times a million!
May your birthday be the best!


Happy Birthday to my wonderful father! Thank you for your inspiring lessons and words of wisdom! I love you so much!

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