Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Wednesday Word: Capricious

On 4th of July, we went to the beach with some friends who also have small children. We thought grandly that it would be relaxing and fun to sit on a broad beach blanket with a cooler full of icy snacks while we watched the wee ones frolic.

Alas, it was disgusting and cold and miserable. The coast sat shrouded in thick fog that didn't bother lifting until later afternoon. But we gave it a go anyway and went to the tide pools. I showed my whippersnapper how to poke sea anemones until they puckered, and compared hermit crabs to filthy spiders, which they totally look like. We had fun despite the winter weather, and I remembered one of the most important things in life: relax. Don't take things so seriously, even if you're freezing to death and your small child can no longer feel his fingers. Poke a sea anemone! (Gently, of course. Gently.) And above all, take time out to be capricious.

Capricious means to be impulsive and unpredictable; determined by chance, impulse, or whim. I suspect people use capricious to describe people who are silly or unwise, but it doesn't have to mean that. It just means unpredictable and according to whim rather than reason.

It seems like I write a lot of characters who are capricious. In fact some members of my writing group get a bit disgusted by it. But a capricious character tends to let go and follow his or her dreams. There's always a price to pay for it, but it's interesting, no? I probably write characters like that because I don't allow myself to be capricious very often.

Do you like capricious characters--to write about, or to read?

P.S. Tomorrow I have some special anti-stress advice. Involving balls.


Linda G. said...

I adore capricious characters. Probably because, like you, I don't allow myself to be capricious all that often in real life. I do enjoy it vicariously, though. :)

P.S. Feel free to unload some of the cold weather on me--right about now I'd be happy to take it off your hands.

KLM said...

I like when a character is generally never capricious but there's this one time he/she lets himself go and then BAM. Total mayhem. Seems like you can't have any story at all without at least some capricious behavior.

Now if you'll excuse me. I have to tell my daughter -- who is nothing but capricious -- to stop brushing the dog with my hair brush.

Indigo said...

Like Linda I would love some of that chilly weather. It's been in the upper 90's here in NY.

I love characters with a capricious nature, who take a situation and make the most of it. Life will occasionally give you lemons, it's how sweet you make the lemonade that makes all the difference. (Hugs)Indigo

Carolina Valdez Miller said...

I'm trying to figure out where in the planet you went to the beach over the fourth of July. I thought it was like a law or something that on July 4th, it had to be 95 degrees and humid enough to stick yourself to the wall.

P.S. I could use some anti-stress with balls advice.

P.P.S. I am myself rather capricious at times, but people don't seem to like it as much in real life. In fiction, however, it makes for interesting surprises.

Sierra Godfrey said...

Linda -- you would only dislike the cold :)

Kristen -- ahh,the tightly controlled caprice. That is a good one.

Indigo, I like stories with characters that make most of capricious results too.

Carolina, it was just south of San Francisco, which is freezing in the summer. Inland in the Bay Area it is disgustingly hot. There's no in between here. The Bay Area has a bipolar disorder.

Tawna Fenske said...

I always love sea anemones. And capricious characters, but mostly just sea anemones. They're the reason I spent my childhood wanting to be a marine biologist. Now I'm a romance writer. Pretty sure there's a link in there somewhere that I'm not going to touch.


Travener said...

Life is capricious. People are capricious (except the really stodgy ones, though many of them have secret caprices, like all those British government ministers they find dead, dressed in women's undergarments). My writing here is pretty capricious, too, now that I think about it. Clouds are definitely capricious. Dogs mostly aren't. Cats mostly are. Hamsters I don't know about.

Tahereh said...

hahaha i love that word. if it were a food i think it would be prickly.

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