CORNWALL & REGION WRITERS’ SOCIETY by Reg Coffey – April 23, 2012


Samuel Langhorne Clemens

CFN – The Cornwall & Region Writers’ Society held its monthly meeting on Monday night last week. As usual we rotate the facilitator/chairperson and this month it was Winona Van Noy’s turn. Before the meeting the scheduled facilitator usually issues a challenge by email to the members to write a story, poem, song, skit, etc., based on a phrase or picture or whatever strikes their fancy. The authors can then read their creation at the meeting. Basically it is just a way to “facilitate” discussion about writing. Members do not have to do the assignment and they can present another piece they have written, or just sit and listen.

Winona’s challenge this month was taken from a 1906 Webster’s Dictionary:

What is in a word?

This month I am providing you with a list of 21 obscure words. DO NOT LOOK UP THE DEFINITIONS. That’s part of the fun.


The challenge is to create your own definition and then use them in the format of your choice i.e. short story, poetry, etc. You determine whether they are a noun, verb, adverb, adjective. Out of the list you must choose a minimum of 7 words……Hmmmm…..I wonder who will be up to completing the assignment using ALL 21 words.


So be creative and set limits…….I can say this……no “Nona Novels”. I hope you enjoy it – after all we are writers who love words, right? I will bring the definitions with me that evening.

Here is the list of words complete with definitions. The writers did not have the definitions until the end of the meeting!


1. Antichthon ( an-tich thon ) One of the inhabitants of opposite hemispheres.


2. Azygous ( az y gous ) Having no fellow; not one of a pair; Single; as, the azygous muscle of the Uvula.


3. Downgyved ( down jivd ) Hanging down like the loose cincture of fetters. {Obs & rare} Shakespeare


4. Glauconite ( glau co-nite ) The green mineral which gives the peculiar character to the greensand of chalk and other formations.


5. Grumousness ( gru mous-ness ) A state of being grumous or concreted.

6. Hospitium ( hos-pish i-um ) 1. A monastery where entertainment is also provided. 2. An inn; a hotel.


7. Hotwall ( hot-wall ) A wall constructed with flues for the conducting of heat, to secure or hasten the growth of fruit trees.


8. Puddingtime ( pud ding-time ) 1. The time of dinner, pudding being formerly the dish first eaten. 2. Hence the nick of time; a critical time.


9. Puerperous ( pu-er per-ous ) Bearing children; lying in.


10. Pulicous ( pu li-cous ) Abounding with fleas.


11. Pulk ( pulk ) 1. A coward. 2. A short fat person. 3. A pool or puddle.


12. Videlicet ( vi-del i-cet ) It is easy to see, one may or can see.


13. Vidette ( vi dette ) A mounted sentinel.


14. Viduity ( vi du ity ) Widowhood


15. Vigintivirate ( vi gin-tiv i-rate ) A body of officers of government  consisting of twenty men.


16. Wanger ( wang er ) A pillow for the cheek; a pillow. His bright helm was his wanger. Chaucer


17. Wankle ( wunk l ) Tottering, unsteady. Not to be depended on; weak; unstable.


18. Wanty ( wan ty ) A leather tie or rope; a short wagon-rope; a surcingle or strap of leather used for binding a load upon the back of a beast.


19. Wappened ( wop pnd ) Having been subjected to intercourse; also wearied; fatigued.


20. Zax ( zax ) An instrument for cutting slate.


21. Zounds ( zowndz ) [Contracted from God’s Wounds] An exclamation formerly used as an oath, and an expression of anger or wonder.

Cincture: A belt, a girdle or something worn round the body.

Greensand: A variety of sandstone, usually imperfectly consolidated, consisting largely of green particles of a mineral called Glauconite.

Surcingle: A belt, band or girth, which passes over a saddle, or over

anything laid on a horse’s back to bind it fast.

Grumous: Resembling or containing grume; thick; concreted; clotted; as grumous blood.

Grume: A thick viscid consistence of a fluid; a clot, as of blood


With the permission of the authors I am going to reprinting a couple of the stories. The first one is from Pat Jamieson.

Let me tell you wappened to the azygous, downgyved, pulicious, vigintivirate wanger who wankled his way into sleeping in our village hospitium for over three full days during the puddingtime  after  the great flood of 303.

He was tall and stark, with a great beak of a nose,  dressed in a ragged multicolored cloak, and was carrying an old pulk  tied to his left wrist with a strip of brown leather.  A shiny silver zax was slung over his right shoulder.

Slowly he set down the zax.  Then he carefully opened the pulk and a beam of bright light shone forth from it.  He emptied the  pulk’s contents into his palm.  A beautiful  glauconite  sent out it’s beam of light  into our stunned eyes.

The videlicet of his tale of how he got the rare stone  I cannot vouch for, and I admit to having been  somewhat  vigintivirate myself at the time.  Still, I swear in videlicet,  that when I looked on that wondrous glauconite, I saw two of them sparkling together in his palm. The magic of the glauconite has always been said to cause viduity in the observer of the stone, and all of us of the villagers there swear to this day that there were two stones of equal beauty in the traveller’s hand at that time.

“Zounds”, I said to him.  “Wappened in thy puerperous period, videlicet mind you, to cause you to own such a glauconite?”

I felt myself to be very wanty with grumousness  besides,  but forced myself to hotwall, and gulped another swallow of vigintiverate.

“Well”, he said, as he wobbled the glauconite in his palm before us.  I suffered viduity again as two beams of light struck off two equally beautiful glauconites and into my eyes.  “Have you ever entered a hospitium and found a vidette,  beautiful  water  spraying  up from it’s depths?  Well, that’s what I found in your hospitium.  And in the water I saw two rays of light.  I fished around with my hand  and raised up in my fist  this most beautiful glauconite.”

Well, you can imagine the near riot as  all of us villagers ran to fish for ourselves in that vidette in our hospitium.

By the time we gave up looking and returned,  grumousness and pulicious,  to acuse the stranger of a lack of videlicet, he was gone, and with him the only glauconite that anyone in this village ever found in that wondrous vidette in our village hospitium.

The story travelled widely, and our hospitium  became a popular  stopover  for  travellers  from  as  far away as the great salt sea to the north.

But never again were any rare and wondrous glauconites found inside the spray of it’s fine vidette.

Written by Pat Jamieson, 16 April 2012

The second story tonight is from Winona herself. I think she may have cheated because she already knew what the actual definitions were.


Most women of the village generally create a chorus of ‘puddingtime’ to the delight of the children playing among the fields at this hour of the day. There are the few azygous ones or those suffering viduity who simply lie across their window sills or stand on their porches with a small smile or a single tear upon their faces whilst listening to Mother’s Song and basking in the setting sun.


As day stretches into twilight the village settles in upon itself to comfortably wait out the blindness of the night. Each and all in this village feel blessed with the comfort of community and a wanger to each bed.



Father Moon watches; a celestial vedette to the tiny village below. His fullness rises over the water, Father Moon’s power ignites the gluaconite. Dancing green refractions tickle the shore making merry upon the sandstone.


As the quiet seeps along the midnight streets, grumousness, the natural constitution of one man, finds him creating with the strange song of the mason’s zax, lulling to sleep those awake whose eyes long to close.


One other light burns steadfastly at the farthest end of the village. Double doors of the hospitium are thrown wide open beaming welcoming light out into the darkness, as always offering that which is needed to those in need.


A rhythmic pounding reverberates through the ground of the village into each dwelling shattering the peace filled quiet. Horses bearing their riders continue down the main thorough fair toward the far end of the village leaving those who were awakened settling back to sleep knowing they are only passers through seeking respite or refuge.


All is well.



Shrieking screams shatter dreams before quickly silencing themselves upon the hills…


Quite well renowned for her baking, her beauty and sweetness as well as her seven breathtaking daughters, the home of the Widow Merry has been grievously set upon…by the horse riders of the night.


“The heinousness of the acts is videlicet. No one knows how many of them stole into her house.”


“I heard of each man using a wanty on a female, made on to act out his devilishness. Nary one was spared neither the youngest girl nor the widow. All were woppened! The older two had been trussed up but left downgyved for all to see!”


“Three of the daughters claim to be sure there was at least one antichthon among the attackers. One of the three girls, the wankle one, was dragged to the orchard where upon the barbarian climbed the largest tree and relieved himself into the hotwall. Only God knows if there be any truth to her tale.”


“Zounds such horror! What will happen now?”


“No one knows. Be assured the villagers will demand recompense especially if any one of the woman fall to puerperous.”


“Those brutes must be hunted and brought forth. When they are found you can be assured there will be more than one pulk among the offending parties.”


“I heartily concur however for the nonce we must await the sending for them and their response. When the vigintiverate do arrive, what is to be done will be decided by them at their leisure as is commplace.”


At that very moment the pulicous village hound awoke and began to bay. Some village watch hound, his deafened ears allowed him to rest as the dead all through the eventful night.


Written by Winona Van Noy ©15/04/2012

As you see we do have some fun at our meetings.

The group is open to all and we meet every third Monday at the Cornwall Public Library at 6:30 PM.

 Cornwall Freenews


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