The practice is inspired by Naomi Shihab Nye and her notion that words are like oars. Dip them in the water. Explore with them. Feel how they touch and bump up against one another. Let them take us further down the stream.
This word, this little word–just–is the bane of my writing existence. It weasels its way into sentence after sentence when I’m trying to almost say something but I pull back. Just a little. See? I didn’t pull back a little or a lot but somewhere in between so that I barely, hardly, simply don’t say anything. At all.
Just. Just. Just.
And then I look at the word a little more closely. It has another meaning. Fair. Right. Objective. Impartial.
What a strange little word. One use obfuscates the meaning of a sentence; the other deems an ethical balance. Put a chunk of -ice at the end and it becomes a word we fight for and march toward. Today.
What language we have.
Great post, Lindsey! Five out of six times, I cut “just.” But I leave it in that sixth time, because it seems to possess a pawn-like value. It whispers, “Hey writer, don’t take yourself too seriously.” And, “Hey writer, ‘just’ is a real word, albeit a weak little word, and often an annoyance. But used at the right time in the right place, it can work–just like a pawn can check a king.
Yeah…just like that!