Random Word Challenge

If you are a regular reader of this blog, you may recall that I regularly attend a challenging writing workshop, one feature of which is called the Random Word Challenge. When I saw the words listed below it reminded me of the writing style of my grandfather’s cousin, Albert Coates: early to mid-twentieth century lawyer, University of North Carolina professor, and founder of well-known and respected Institute of Government. This challenge is always demanding, but usually leads to entertaining results.

felicitous            risible                contentious       dolorous            elaborate              delineate           

celebrate            mourn              reverence           eternity              antidote               solitude               

rebirth                stillness   (Parts of speech were allowed to be modified.)

Dearest Sister Gwendolyn,

Please allow me the honor of sharing this moment with you via this written communication.  I wanted to let you know about the hours leading up to and following our precious youngest sister’s death. Of course, you are aware of the many contentious doctor and hospital visits where no one seemed to take Ida’s complaints seriously, so I do not need to elaborate on that episode other than to say that once Bryant was able to come on the scene he finally got through to them that her illness was indeed serious. Alas, it was far too late to be of much help other than to give her some degree of comfort in her last days. Had the situation not been so dire, it would have been risible.

Please be assured everyone understands why you could not make the long journey to Natchez. Caring for Warren must be your highest concern in these difficult days. Sometimes it is challenging to delineate between one’s duties and desires, but not in this case. You mourn Ida’s passing with the same sorrow and anguish as do we all, and that does not change based on physical proximity. The spirit is always nearby.

The days leading up to the service were filled with flowers and visits with friends who shared a lifetime of happy memories, which served as a much needed antidote to the otherwise dolorous atmosphere of the home that now belongs only to Stephen and the children. The reminiscences of friends and colleagues presented versions of Ida they would not otherwise have known and allowed them to begin the all-important work of celebrating a life well-lived. The week confirmed the deep love and affection Ida inspired in all those who had the good fortune of her acquaintance.

I offered and was graciously granted the privilege of sitting with the home so the rest could attend the service with no worries. It is indeed the better place for me as I need the solitude of the moment to properly revere our sister’s life.

It is fitting that Ida’s time on earth ends with the blossoming of spring, a time when we are so gloriously reminded of the rebirth of all life. The stillness of these hours gives me the opportunity to reflect and be filled with gratitude for the gift of being born as sweet Ida’s brother.

Life in this sphere must always end. It was never meant to be an eternity. We are only unsure of the timing.

Grace requests that I  send her felicitations.

With deepest affection,

Your brother Aaron

An elegant and loquacious speaker and writer, Albert Coates was the inspiration for this exercise.
The Coates Building, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Originally the Institute of Government, the Coates Building currently houses the school’s geography and Asian studies departments.

(Photos copied from unc.edu.)

3 thoughts on “Random Word Challenge

  1. Dear Carole,

    For some obscure reason (that only a tech head could work out), I am unable to post a ‘comment’ directly to your postings, hence the email.

    What a beautiful style of writing you have given us today in adressing the word challenge. It is a form of writing which has been lost, I fear, with the rise of technology and the character-limited social media. You have captured not only all the challenge words in your letter, but conveyed their sentiment so well.

    As a former teacher-librarian, I cannot recall this style of writing being taught to students during my teaching years; assignments seemed to be very much geared towards essays, powerpoints and analyses rather than letter-writing for its own sake. Certainly not in the Australian Capital Territory as far as I know.

    Thank you for shaing your writing through your posts; I enjoy reading them as they arrive in my inbox.

    kind regards, Trisha

    >

    Liked by 1 person

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