What you have in common with Tolstoy

wordsLooking for the right word, the words that will best express what you want to say or write? You are not alone. The great writer Tolstoy often found himself in a similar predicament. His solution might prove helpful

Nabokov, a Scholar of Russian Literature in addition to being a great novelist, said this about Tolstoy’s writing. “Tolstoy is intent on achieving a meditation, to follow the contours of a thought, emotion, until he reaches a perfect rendering. His creative repetitions, each more expressive, each closer to the true meaning. He gropes, he unwraps, he peels the apple of the phrase, he tries to say it one way, than a better way, he gropes he stalls, he toys, he Tolstoys with words.”

If I had the powers of a Fairy Godmother, I would ask the editors of the Oxford English Dictionary to include Tolystoying, a verb that means to actively seek words that best express and communicate ideas and emotions. The OED is updated four times a year, March, June, September, and December. Maybe there is hope—To Tolstoy or Tolstoying, a verb.


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