Writing 101 – Day 14 (Open a book and choose a word on page 29)
I’ve always liked the way you look…. You know, the two l’s followed by the double o’s. There’s something quite rounded about you. And I love all of your colors – they make me so happy that I could fill these pages with pictures of your beauty. Well, that is if you’re a noun like a regular balloon on a string – a birthday balloon, an anniversary balloon, a get- well balloon. There’s also a trial balloon, a weather balloon, a lead balloon. And the barrage balloon (World War II blimp.)
But then when you’re a verb, things change. I mean, “to balloon” always means to increase in size, in fact, usually it means to increase “greatly” in size, to inflate, to puff out, to fly, to rapidly increase — like a balloon mortgage (horrors!) , and that can be bad.
I never thought about all of these things before but when you’re a verb …. well, class size can balloon, a medical instrument can balloon to expand your vein and check things out, the market can balloon, real estate can balloon, even your mother-in-law can balloon. And if she steps on your foot, it can balloon too!
As an adjective though, you can be so much more creative: balloon sleeves, balloon wine glasses, a a speech balloon.
This is fun. I’ve looked you up on the dictionary and found so many entries – wow! You are quite the word. Looks as if you come from France and Italy: in 1570 you were a game called “ballon” which was played with a large leather ball. Hmmm, wonder what the rules were. And before that your great, great grandparents were Old High German (balla) meaning ball. I wonder if they were the great grandfathers of soccer.
What I’ve saved for last is my absolute favorite balloon — more fun, more beautiful than any other thing I can imagine — the hot air balloon, a ballon a air chaud in French. I took a ballon a air chaud ride over the Dordogne countryside, above the fields, the beautiful cliffside village of Montpazier, and over the magnificent Hautfort Chateau.
There is no way to describe the peace …. the silence between the bursts of hot air …. the serenity of the ride. Balloon dear, you are fabulous !!
*Found on page 29 of Paris by Edward Rutherford