Many thanks to Julie and the rest of the Wicked Cozy crew for inviting me here today. I was planning to talk about my new best-selling series, featuring the five women in the Readaholics Book Club in Heaven, Colorado who read classic mysteries and solve murders, but over the hols, I got caught up in a conversation I want to share instead.
Researchers talk about how twins sometimes develop their own language. Couples do, too. (I’m not asking for you to supply personal examples, but it’s not uncommon for couples to have special names for certain body parts, or code words for, ahem, intimacies.) Families also sometimes develop words or phrases that would leave anyone outside the family going “Huh?”
In my family growing up, my father coined the word “drut” to refer to obnoxious, ill-behaving children, especially in public places. The astute among you will have noticed that “drut” is “turd” spelled backwards. I didn’t say this was going to be high-brow or clever, did I? I guess he came up with drut because it was marginally more acceptable to complain about “druts” in a restaurant than to offend the parents and passersby with the other term. The funny thing is, my brothers and I have perpetuated the use of this word in our own families. I expect to see it inducted into the Oxford English Dictionary any day now.
My hubby and kids and I came up with the words “smartaclesic” and “thinky power” years ago. I don’t remember the origin of them, but the girls were much younger. Proper use would be, “I used my thinky power to guess the killer in that Castle episode” (not that it takes much thinky power to figure out a Castle plot). Or, “It was smartaclesic of you to read the SparkNotes before writing your Hamlet essay.” As you can probably tell, there’s no shortage of sarcasm in our household.
Our previous dog (long gone to his heavenly reward) was a “goofador” because he was goofy and a Labrador retriever. Our new dog is equally goofy, but he’s a Wirehaired Pointing Griffon and “goofafon” is too hard to say. Maybe if we went with “goofagriff”?
I’m sure there’s some intellectual, scientific-sounding reason that couples/families do this, but without looking up reams of research, I’d guess it’s because it gives a sense of being inclusive in a special way. Such words can also bring back memories of special times together as a family.
Readers: What words or phrases did your family make up? Or, do the characters in your books and their families invent unique words? I’d love to hear some. Oh, yeah . . . while you’re thinking about it, go buy copies of The Readaholics and the Falcon Fiasco and The Readaholics and the Poirot Puzzle. I’m going to make a point of inventing a family-specific word for Amy-Faye Johnson and her family in the next installment!
More about The Readaholics and the Poirot Puzzle
Amy-Faye Johnson’s book club, the Readaholics, is engrossed in Murder on the Orient Express, and Poirot’s surprising resolution is stirring up debate. Is the solution remotely realistic? Is justice served by Poirot’s decision? Well, the book is fiction after all…
Then, just as Amy-Faye is planning the grand opening of her brother Derek’s pub,
his hot-headed partner is murdered. To keep Derek from being railroaded as a suspect, Amy-Faye and the Readaholics take a page from Poirot and investigate. But as the clues lead to unlikely places, surprising motives, and a multitude of suspects, Amy-Faye and her pals wonder if truth can be just as strange as fiction.
Laura DiSilverio is the national bestselling author of 15 mystery and suspense novels, and a retired Air Force intelligence officer. Her first standalone suspense novel, The Reckoning Stones, debuted in September and was a Library Journal Pick of the Month. Her Book Club Mystery series kicked off in 2015 with The Readaholics and the Falcon Fiasco and The Readaholics and the Poirot Puzzle. A Past President of Sisters in Crime, she pens articles for Writer’s Digest, and teaches writing in various fora. She plots murders and parents teens in Colorado, trying to keep the two tasks separate.