Contemplate Word Choice With Alice Walker

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In our October issue, legendary writer Alice Walker discusses the craft of writing—including this great insight about the power that words can hold:

You’ve said that heaven should be a verb. What other words are underutilized?
"Bliss, ecstasy, joy. I live in Mexico part of the time, and my friend Yolanda always says that something is maravilloso. The word marvelous—especially when she says it about almost everything—reminds me that yes, indeed, that’s the truth of it. Even with all of the things that are so awful, if you walk into your yard and stay there looking at almost anything for five minutes, you will be stunned by how marvelous life is and how incredibly lucky we are to have it."

With that in mind, consider this prompt:

Underutilized Words
Feel free to take the following prompt home or post a response (500 words or fewer, funny, sad or stirring) in the Comments section below. (If you’re having trouble with the captcha code sticking, e-mail your piece and the prompt to me at, with “Promptly” in the subject line, and I’ll make sure it gets up.)

Choose five words that you feel are underrated, underappreciated or underused, and write a short piece in which you challenge yourself to use them as much as possible.

And for more inspiration from Alice Walker, don’t miss Jessica Strawser's WD Interview in our October issue, on newsstands now or available here or for instant digital download here.



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