I've been silent for the last few weeks as I mulled over a situation I've discovered. What to do? Rest assured it isn't going to go away and has been around for a long time but...
I read a poem. It was a very awkward poem and I could follow most of what the author was attempting to commit to paper. BUT... There were a few lines which left me totally lost. I didn't understand. Even if in context or out of context, it didn't make sense.
He will come a rim.
Okay. What does that mean? A rim is an edge -- like a rim of a canyon, rim of a coffee can. I looked it up in the dictionary. An edge.
The word "rim" rhymed with another line but I have no idea what the image was being offered.
Later, I read a story. It was a really good story and I was into it when BAM! I was slammed with a term I didn't recognize by the context being offered. My first thought was I needed to look it up and see what other possible meanings were available.
A shoal of mermaids.
Ah, yeah. Exactly what is that. My first thought, a misspelling but when it was used repeatedly in the story, I realized it was not a misspelling. Every time I read "shoal" I was jerked out of the story.
For your information, there was another phrase which also jolted me and made me stop and think, huh?
Out of exasperation, I contacted the publisher of the story and explained I probably was a cranky old fart but I found the terms disconcerting and just plain wrong in their usage.
The publisher was kind enough to respond. (I really didn't expect a reply!)
He enjoyed the new definitions and imagery the terms brought to mind. He found an author who he felt wasn't locked into the ho-hum terms and created new slang.
Perhaps if the terms were used more by the general public before it was introduced into a story, it might not have been so bad. That's cool. I'm bad with a rad idea. Those terms have been absorbed into the vernacular of our society.
Come a rim? Shoal of mermaids?
Uh, not yet. And they may never make it to acceptance and common usage.
My question -- Is this a good thing? Are authors now empowered with the ability to create new definitions for words? I know we can make them up to describe a new item... an aero-photon psionic distillinator.
Until next I ramble...