Society & Culture & Entertainment Writing

Quixotic - Idealism Linked With Impracticality

Quixotic is a truly special word in so many ways.
To begin with the combination of letters is beguiling.
How often in English do you get to use a Q, U, and X in such close proximity? Then it possesses that rough sound that QU makes.
After all, with all due respect to linguists and language fanatics, where does a W- sound come from when the letters are Q and U? Yes, we do that in English - QUEEN, ACQUIRE, and QUININE are excellent examples.
But then why on earth does the W sound vanish in a word like UNIQUE? Shouldn't it actually be pronounced U- NEE - KWEH? Then our word of the day, quixotic, throws in that X or KS sound followed by an uptick - -IC.
It is a magical word to look at on the page and it increases in value when spoken aloud and when used in a sentence.
Robert Laxalt in his book Nevada states: " [Peter Skene} Ogden, a rough-hewn man with a quixotic nature that mixed brawling, drinking, and swearing with a penchant for quoting the Bible and Shakespeare to his men, is credited with discovering one of Nevada's main waterways in 1828.
" This river, originally named Ogden's River, was later renamed the Humboldt River, a quixotic stream in itself.
It is lovely when it flows but it often runs dry when snows do not fly.
It winds hundreds of miles from the steep and spacious Ruby Mountains into a reservoir that is often sapped dry by the end of summer.
The river roars out of the mountains and thunders onward until a dam subdues it until it is released to disappear into alfalfa fields or a dry lakebed.
Quixotic: idealistic yet unrealistic; romantic but impractical, dreamy and anything but down-to-earth.
Quixotic reminds me of Don Quixote who definitely imbued the term as a romantic, slightly off kilter, explorer and endearing figure.
How cleverly he was named by author Miguel de Cervantes! By linking my knowledge of Don Quixote with quixotic, I can easily remember the definition while conjuring a picture of this affable figure in my mind.
What better method to learn, remember, and understand a new term and then be able to apply it in conversation and in writing.
Quixotic also ties to "exotic" which adds a mysterious and striking tone.
Someone with a quixotic personality grabs attention, not so much through bluster and affront but rather through the naturalness of unusual and outlandish behavior.
While this attention may grab, a wary individual will remain guarded as s/he surmises whether the quixotic person is living true to character or if the entire show is simply a masquerade to draw awareness to the bizarre rather than draw wonder to the idiosyncrasies.
Finally, quixotic is one of those words that you can only use once in your writing.
Even if you are churning out a novel, this word is of such enormous dimensions that to reuse it diminishes its value.
Toss it in once to thrill your reader as you captivate curiosity of your character.
Then leave the rest to the description of wonderfully amazing deeds in your piece and to the inventive imagination of the reader.

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