Word of the Week: prodigy


When I was a kid I worried I wasn’t right in the head.  People who didn’t exist would walk in, flop down onto a beanbag chair and start telling me their stories.  By my early twenties the party room in my head had morphed into a kitchen and the characters pulled up a chair and sat at the table to talk.  I’ve come to embrace my own brand of insanity, thanks in part to one character who wouldn’t leave.  Thanks to Sunny and her family, I’ve reached a few of my writing goals since my first publication in the late 90s.

Two years ago, before I worked up the courage to submit any ERom, I participated in NaNoWriMo for the first time and ended up with a nice (and hot) story about a man in his late twenties re-connecting with his family.  The man is one of Sunny’s sons, and before that I wasn’t sure what had happened to him.  For years, just about all I knew was that he went away to college in Chicago and basically dropped off the family radar.  Once in a while someone would mention him, so I knew he stayed on the music track and was with a pianist named Charlie.  I thought Charlie was a woman, but it turns out Charlie is a beautiful blond boy with blue eyes and mad piano skills.

By the time I reached the end of that NaNo draft I realized I didn’t know Charlie well enough to write that story.  He felt like a cardboard character, but I could see glimmers of a more interesting guy in there somewhere.  Of course there’s only one way to remedy something like that—through more writing.  After a few months of peeling that onion I had a draft I called The Prequel, and a much clearer picture of the early years of one of my favorite couples (who happen to be the main characters in my Christmas story that’s forthcoming from Etopia Press):  Sam and Charlie.

Sometime during the writing of The Prequel I checked into lesser-known meanings for the word prodigy and was surprised to find it also means “something abnormal or monstrous”.  I suppose it’s possible for a gifted child to seem scary—just like some current technology would probably freak-out someone living in the Middle Ages.  Depending on his mood, Charlie would either agree with this assessment or launch into a scathing soliloquy aimed at anyone daring to say a gift (or a child) could be monstrous.

Here’s the usual info about this week’s word.  I hope you all have an extraordinary week!

Prodigy [prod-i-jee]

noun, plural prod·i·gies.

1. a person, especially a child or young person, having extraordinary talent or ability: a musical prodigy.

2. a marvelous example (usually followed by of ).

3. something wonderful or marvelous; a wonder.

4. something abnormal or monstrous.

5. Archaic . something extraordinary regarded as of prophetic significance.

Origin:
1425–75; late Middle English prodig < Latin prōdigium  prophetic sign

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