So, then. oursin generously provided the letter O.
O for a muse of fire... It's the letter of exclamation. It's the letter that can in one single rounded shape denote pain, joy, awe, surprise, disgust, and any number of other feelings. It's one heck of a letter - I don't think there is any other that has this kind of power standing on its own. And from there you can (in the words of one of rdeck's favourite quotes, ride your horse off in all directions. For instance, that thing I put in bold just above, there - that makes me think of Shakespeare, of theatre, of history, of language, of literature, of writing and of telling tales, of dreams, of loyalty, of royalty...oh, of cabbages and kings. All from that one letter. Amazing, eh?
oak There's a folk custom in the land where I was born, that if you have troubles you go out and you hang your coat on an oak tree, and you beg the oak to shoulder your burdens - because oak trees are eternal, and huge, and gnarled, and have weathered years and decades of troubles of their own and know how to endure. Oaks are wonderful. They have personalities. They have leaves like no other tree. They have those perfect little acorns. And they are magical - they are mentioned in the incantations - in the name of oak, ash and thorn - they are ancient and they are part of our mythology and the very beginnings of our worlds. Was Yggdrasil an oak? If it wasn't, it should have been.
October Autumn. My favourite time of year. When the air starts cooling into winter and the leaves turn gold and the light turns sharp and brittle and you can suddenly see things on the horizon that you were never able to see before because of the clarity of the air. When things start slipping into slumber, and plants sigh and start dreaming winter dreams, and bears go to bed in caves and wait for snow. Autumn. Oh, Autumn.
odd That which doesn't quite fit, that which is different, that which you are unable to adequately pair off or neatly shelve or pigeonhole, something you have one too few or one too many of, the odd shoe, the odd sock, the odd job, the odd one out. That which alerts you to danger - something will feel or smell "odd". Vive la difference! Normalcy is overrated.
old When I go to places like England, where history lies heavy on the land, I can breathe this word through the pores of my skin. It's a reminder of those that came before us. It's there in the stone steps of ancient farmhouses, worn into wells where generation of steps have trod. It's in the knowledge that people are still living in houses built inthe 1500s. It's all over church graveyards with stones so old that time has effaced everything from their surface - the identity of the remains buried below it, or how long it had been there. ALl you know is that it's OLD. Despite our civilization's insatiable chase of the fountain of eternal youth, I find myself LIKING old people's faces - they have had life etched into them, and not erased by creams and potions. Every line tells a story. "Old" is a container for memory.
ooze Cthulthu rules! [grin] The ultimate horror word. Things OOZE in all directions when you want to indicate horror. Monsters ooze out from the shadows or from under beds. Slime oozes out of everything. There are few other words which convey what they ARE just by the sound and the look of them. OOOOOOOOZE. Look at it. Doesn't it make you shiver just to see it?
once A slightly sad word, indicating something now gone, for me. They stabbed me to the heart when they changed the lyrics to the title song of the musical "Camelot", for the final end-credit version to say -"Don't let it be forgot that ONCE there was a spot for one brief shining moment that was known as Camelot..." Once. No more. Now gone. All that remains is that wonderful, wonderful beginning which all childhood's stories share. "Once upon a time..." You kind of know how it's supposed to end. WIth a happily ever after. I think you count childhood's end when you stop believing in Once Upon A Time.
open It's an accepting word. Open, to new ideas, to new people, to new things. Open to at least hearing someone out. Open to the possibility of innocence before declaring guilt. Open-minded, and realising that there are people not like you out there, and that's okay. Also, open as in wide and broad - like African skies.
other A little like "odd", but subtly different. Odd is merely strange, something subtle out of kilter. "Other" means... other. ALien. Wholly different. Faerie are "other" to us. Jupiter is "other" to our Earth. Other implies a wariness, a sense of not-quite acceptance, an unfamiliarity that breeds fear and perhaps even a knee-jerk reaction of "shoot first and ask questions later". The tragedy of it is that this is a word too often used to divide the races and creeds of humanity - a black man is "other" to a white man, a Muslim is "other" to a Christian, and "otherness" applied to an enemy means that you cease to consider that enemy a fellow human and it therefore becomes easier to kill them. It is a dangerous word, and it needs to be applied... with the utmost of care. Label something as "other" and you may become that thing to them. And you would probably not want to know what that feels like.
own What do we own? What owns us? I see so many signs out there - houses, cars, "for sale by owner". But many of the aboriginal races of this world - the American Indians, the Aborigines of Australia - find the concept of "owning" land a passing strange one. We of the civilized west barely bat an eye. I talk of "MY woods, as though I own them - but I am borrowing them, and they are mine only as much as I may by law prohibit anyone else from cutting the trees down. Other than that... they own themselves, or they belong just as much to the deer and the raccoons and the beetles and the worms which make their homes in, around, and underneath them. Do I own my pets? DO they have souls? How can I OWN a being with its own soul? Did my cats choose to be mine - or am I theirs? Do I own the words of my stories, or do I, by virtue of having published them, give them freely to other people so that they may read them, internalise them, hold them dear... OWN them? O, for a muse to sing...