There oughta be a word for that: Sudstub
Writers love inventing words. William Shakespeare, arguably the most famous writer of all time (in English anyway) is said to have invented over 1700. I am no different when it comes to this predilection. That’s one of the reasons I love writing in the imagination genres (fantasy and science fiction.) Because there are so many things in such stories that don’t exist in our world, I get to make them up and decide what they are called. In the back of each of the books of The Chronotrace Sequence I include a glossary of all of my made up and refashioned words for that series.
But not every word I invent ends up in a novel. Today I’d like to share with you one of the everyday words I came up with. The word is:
sudstub (noun): a piece of soap which gets so small through repeated use that its really not worth using but you don’t want to throw it away
You know what I’m talking about? It’s those slip-through-the-fingers sorts of things that cause so much cleaning consternation. What I do with sudstubs is try and meld them into a new, fresh bar of soap. If you lather up the new bar enough, the sudstub will usually stick fairly well to the other bar. It usually takes several washings for the sudstub to fully meld with the new soap, but then, like left over rice that gets turned into casserole, the sudstub gets re-appropriated and reimagined into something useful.
Melding old soap…or baseballs
Sudstubs can be a metaphor for life. We’ve all got things in our lives that might have once been useful and now need to be appropriated into something else. That habit of watching baseball games on Saturday afternoons, for instance. It was relaxing and wonderful during its time, but now you’ve got kids and watching men in skin tight pajamas stand around waiting for a ball to be hit their way just doesn’t capture their imagination. So you take that love of the old ball game and you re-appropriate it into tossing around a ball with your wee little one instead.
“It’s the bottom of the ninth and Big Daddy winds up to pitch…Oh, no, Sally the catcher dropped it. Quick, Sally, get it before the other team steals home!”
Sure it isn’t the world series. But it could mean the world to that little girl that you took time out of your Saturday to toss around a very un-hard, un-major league ball around with her.
Shall we play a game?
Me personally, I’m not so into baseball, but I love strategy board games. I mean brain-burner “shall we play a game of global thermal nuclear war?” type stuff that drags on for hours. Games where you almost have earned a PhD by the time you’ve finished reading and understanding the rules. Now, my kids are all in their tens (10-19) and certainly love playing board games. And they are not unintelligent either. But they just aren’t up for epic throw downs around the game table the way I was when I was their age. They like shorter, easier, less thinky types of games. So I’ve had to give up my machiavellian ways and play lighter fare with them.
Do I still tend to overanalyze every play of a ten minute card game? Unfortunately yes, and they are wont to complain that I’m a bit of a tough out. But that makes it all the more momentous for them when they do beat me. (Which seems to be happening more and more the older they get)
Like a sudstub I’ve taken my love of deep strategy games and grafted it into enjoyment of lighter one. And so it is with other things in life. The fiercely independent young adult gets married and has to learn how to graft all his personality quirks, predilections, and habits into the service of building a “new bar of soap” as it were, a new family, a new home, a new set of traditions. In the best cases the old sudstub melds seamlessly into the new bar and you can’t even tell the difference after a few washes. In the worst cast it takes building up quite a bit of lather before the slippery old sudstub starts to behave.
And so there you have it, a new word for you. Sorry, I couldn’t resist seeing it as a metaphor as well and giving you a bit more than perhaps you bargained for. But that’s another penchant of writers, you know. We’re known to be rather fond of metaphors as well.
So what about you, got any invented words you’d like to share? Or how about metaphorical sudstubs you’ve had to give up and graft into something new?