The occasional ramblings of a freelance lexicographer

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Favourite words

soporific adj Inducing or tending to induce sleep; causing a person to sleep or slumber. (Oxford English Dictionary)

It is said that the effect of eating too much lettuce is "soporific."

I have never felt sleepy after eating lettuces; but then I am not a rabbit.

They certainly had a very soporific effect upon the Flopsy Bunnies!

These, for those who don’t recognise them, are the opening lines of one of my childhood favourites - The Tale of the Flopsy Bunnies by Beatrix Potter. They also mark one of the first times I became aware of how some words roll around the mouth in a pleasing way and somehow manage to convey so much more than others. Soporific remains one of my favourite words, partly because of its significance in the start of my love affair with language, but also because it’s used so rarely, despite expressing an apparently basic concept for which there is no simple synonym. So when it does crop up, it somehow gives all the more pleasure!

Monday, July 02, 2007

Working the night-shift

You know you’re working too hard when you start dreaming about work. Last night, I had long, complicated dreams about work in which I was convinced that I’d sent the same material to different publishers by accident. It all seemed so real that I was on the point of getting out of bed to go and check!

All my conference schmoozing a few months back seemed to pay off way beyond my expectations and I’ve found myself completely snowed under with work. In the uncertain world of freelancing, being busy is what you’re always hoping for and it goes against all your instincts to turn work down. But it does reach a point when you start longing for a quiet patch. Over the past few months, apart from my trip to Greece, I’ve been working flat out, putting in hours in the evenings and at weekends to try and keep up with deadlines on 3 or 4 different projects I’ve been juggling. I’ve become gradually more tired and more grouchy and, as an RSI sufferer, my health has deteriorated from being a bit achy to starting my day with painkillers at breakfast! And it’s showing no signs of letting up yet. I’m currently ‘taking bookings’ for October onwards.

I’ve always said how fantastic freelancing is for taking control of your of life and maintaining a great work-life balance; extolling the joys of long lunches, days off when you want and mid-week shopping. Over the past seven years, I’ve got used to fitting my work in around the rest of my life rather than the other way round. But I have to hold my hand up now (if it didn’t hurt so much to do so!) and admit that the balance has tipped too far towards work. I don’t mind the odd busy patch, but this patch has gone on too long and I really need to find a way of slowing things down again.

Still, on the plus side, at least with all the recent rubbish weather, I don’t feel like I’m missing out on the summer …