Friday, July 25, 2014

Of Haida art, smoked clams, and tsunami evacuations routes

Oyster Bay
Oyster farms along Hood Canal
Hood Canal
low tide
high tide
Skookum Creek
Haida art
madrona trees
logging trucks
smoked clams
fish hatcheries
oyster farms
green: Douglas fir green, pine green, salal green, madrona green
blue: sky blue, saltwater blue, Hood Canal blue

I recently added those “crackly” words to my lexicon for a place I’ve driven through many times in my many years on earth: Hood Canal in western Washington.

At Priscilla Long’s delightful urging, I’m gathering words and phrases for stories about where my roots grow down deep.

I collected those words while driving along Hood Canal toward my destination, the north end of the Olympic Peninsula. Here are entries in that lexicon:

Discovery Bay
Lavender Festival
Dungeness Spit
Port Angeles and the Olympic Mountains from Ediz Hook
Port Angeles
salty cool air
City Pier
Hurricane Ridge
the Crab House
smoked oysters
Olympic National Park
Hama Hama Oysters
Swain's General Store
“Where the mountains greet the sea”
tsunami evacuation route signs
rugged, snow-capped, forested Olympic Mountains
World-class ships 
Gordy’s Pizza
Chestnut Cottage
border patrol agents
Scooter Chapman
Sandy Keyes
M.M. Fryer and Sons
logging trucks
waterfront trails
world-class ships
MV Coho, Coast Guard station, and Vancouver Island in the distance
Ediz Hook
U.S. Coast Guard station
U.S. Coast Guard helicopters hovering low
fog horns
Vancouver Island, B.C. in the distance across the Strait
wild blackberry vines in bloom
Frank Prince
Pete Rennie
Peninsula Daily News
Peninsula College
Canyon Edge Drive
Little League baseball
Dan Wilder’s car dealerships
The MV Coho
maritime history
dense, tangled undergrowth
Dungeness crab
farmers’ market
green: cedar green, fir green, wild blackberry green, bracken fern green, ivy green
blue: sky blue, saltwater blue, Strait-of-Juan-de-Fuca blue

If you haven’t already gathered what Priscilla Long calls“crackly” words, now is a good time to compile your own lexicon, or, more likely, several lexicons.

Do away with boring, generic, ho-hum words.

Instead, gather words and phrases from the unique eras and places and people and experiences in your memoir’s vignettes.

Doing so can be loads of fun, and using those words will add richness to your memoir and leave your readers involved and charmed within your stories.


  1. Beautiful scenery. Reminds me of my own short trip down to Whidbey Island not so very long ago. I always love the coastal scenery. Your 2nd photo of Port Angeles and background mountains looks just like my view from Jericho Beach toward the north shore. I like your lexicon. I'm sure it will serve you well once you start writing. xx

  2. Thanks, Penny, for your comments. When I posted this, I thought of how many similarities your home territory has with the Olympic Peninsula in Washington. Surely that area is one of the most beautiful parts in the world--God's beautiful creation!