This Mindful Midweek will pay you 10 bucks. Simply contrive a rejoinder espousing a sumptuous vocable!

I’ve always loved words. Although I’m far from an expert wordsmith, I recognize the link between the right combination of words, written or spoken, and the corresponding mood or action that can result.

For years and years I’ve believed in the adage “keep it simple.” Why use a highfalutin word when a simpler one will do? Then, I met a remarkable young man by the name of Scott Provence, a gifted author and former University of Washington creative writing instructor. (Scott also entertained at halftime shows of professional basketball games by doing flips off trampolines and dunking basketballs. Go figure.)

Scott mentors me in writing, edits Mindful Midweek, selects and provides the origin of the Word of the Week and playfully challenges me to step up and use more descriptive and sophisticated words. Often, we have friendly battles over linguaphilia (Scott’s choice). He winces each time I use words like dang, jeepers, bozos and gobs, and I chastise him for encouraging me to explore fancy words that will scare normal, well-grounded people (like me) away.

The answer rests somewhere in the middle, where I hope Scott and my robust discussions take us in most Mindful Midweeks. Like other life situations, I want to be understood and to stay within my comfort zone. But I also want to have fun, to explore the unknown and to challenge myself and those around me. Using unfamiliar words and discovering phrases that offer more vivid color and specificity brings me joy and a sense of personal growth and satisfaction. I hope you folks don’t mind me messing around in this space from time to time.

Back to the 10 dollars. Listed below are nine of our favorite words of the week. Pick one you like and put it in an email response to me by the end of today. Include your mailing address and I’ll send you a personal check for $10 just to show our appreciation for your verbal dexterity.

avuncular

defenestrate

ephemeral

gregarious

harbinger

ostracize

quixotic

skullduggery

ubiquitous

Get busy! I’m ready to be impressed.

Now, the fine print: This offer excludes those who are English professors or individuals I know to already be great writers, such as Roy Williams, William Miller, David Mee-Lee, Sharon Cruse, Jan Prochaska, Steve Hayes, David Gastfriend, William Slebos, Claudia Black, Scott Miller, Thomas Lifka, Constance Schlak and others. You know who you are!