I Made This Up

Words get stuck in my head – often.  If I hear “cattywampus” or “chartreuse” or “onomatopoeia” (and for the record, spellcheck didn’t flag any of them) my brain hangs on for a while because I’m entertained by the sound or the meaning. Sometimes a word repeats so often in my mind it doesn’t sound right anymore, like putting the accent on the wrong syll-AH-ble. But this is the reason I never struggle to include a unique word in every Life In A Word post. It’s the reason my topics often become unexpected adventures in writing – several hundred words spun from the single word ricocheting around in my brain. So what word am I stuck on this week, you ask? Make.

I know, I know.  You expected a more sophisticated word; something you could really sink your teeth into.  Certainly a word with more than four letters.  But here’s the thing.  Some words have one meaning while others have a list of definitions a mile long.  “Make” is wonderfully (sometimes confusingly) versatile.  It seems to have limitless uses. So, while “make” shows up in, like, every other conversation we have, consider just how many different ways we’re using it.

Here’s an example, probably my favorite for today’s topic.  We contracted with a bakery in Denver to create the perfect cake for my daughter’s upcoming wedding.  You call them first to make a sit-down appointment (yes, I’m aware I just used our word-of-the-day).  Then you work with a consultant on sketch paper to design exactly what you’re looking for. Then you taste-test six cakes and six frostings (using a tray of cupcakes) to come up with your dream combination.  The name of this establishment?  The Makery.  At first I thought it was a strange name, but then I realized, no; it’s a cool, tidy spin on words.  The Makery is not just a bakery.  A bakery would fill their glass display case with creations for you to choose from.  The Makery is all about custom creations, based on your input and your preferences.  In other words, The Makery declares “baking” a subset of “making”.

Without peeking at your Webster, guess how many definitions you’ll find for “make” in the dictionary.  Five? Ten? Two dozen? How about fifty-six? “Make” has forty-seven definitions as a verb and another nine as a noun.  I told you “make” was versatile, didn’t I?

I’m not about to go through fifty-six definitions of “make” because you can make better use of your time.  But here are my favorites:

  • To bring into existence by shaping or changing material, combining parts, etc. (as in, “Dave is making his Lego Grand Piano”).  The formality of this definition – the first in the line-up of the fifty-six – cracks me up.  It takes a lot of words to explain the most basic use of “make”.
  • To put in the proper condition or state, as for use; fix, prepare.  “This morning, Dave made his bed.  Then he made his coffee.  Tonight, Dave will make his dinner.”
  • To become by development; prove to be.  “Someday, Dave, you’ll make a heckuva writer.”
  • To be sufficient to constitute.  “One blog post does not make a writer, Dave.”
  • To arrive at or reach, attain.  Dave just turned sixty years old. Will he make it to sixty-one?
  • To plant and cultivate or produce (a crop). “Dave makes some of the best corn in the entire county.” (Note: this one is specific to the U.S. South.  Since I’m moving there soon I’d better get used to it.  And no, I don’t have any plans to “make” corn when I get there.)
  • To cause oneself, or something understood, to be as specified.Make sure this is a good blog topic, Dave.”
  • To show oneself to be or seem in action or behavior.  “Dave plans to make merry the day his daughter gets married.”

Make Love, Not War” was a slogan born out of protests over America’s involvement in the Vietnam War but it’s probably getting renewed use in the last couple of months.  Not that I can explain what “make love” really means.  Something physical?  Metaphysical?  Peace treaties?  Making out? I can’t make up my mind (and don’t make me).  Besides, it’s time I make for the exits with this post.


Lego Grand Piano – Update #20

(Read about how this project got started in Let’s Make Music!)

Today’s section of the Lego symphony was a ten-minute sprint.  Bag #20 – of 21 bags of pieces – assembled nothing more than the underlying support structure of the piano lid, with hinges to anchor it in place on the left side of the instrument. The dark, raised bar you see running across the top of the lid is part of that structure.  The support “stick” to the right was already there, lying quietly across the piano strings from a previous build, just waiting to be raised.

Bag #21 will be a rapid final chapter, perhaps as fast as this one.  We only have the free-standing bench for the pianist to go, and (with a final flourish), the sheet music we’ll center on the stand above the keys.  We’ll bring the entire assembly to the finish line inside of fourteen hours. Then you and I will step back, admire all that we’ve accomplished these last twenty-one weeks, and take a well-deserved bow.

Next week: the final movement!

Running Build Time: 13.5 hours.  Musical accompaniment: Liszt’s Liebestraum No. 3 in A-flat Major (two times through). Leftover pieces: None again!

Conductor’s Note: Liebestraum means “love dream” in German. This short piano piece could certainly be interpreted that way. It starts out soft and melodious, a soothing lullaby. But it picks up steam in a hurry, building to a crescendo and using the entire keyboard.  It’s a beautiful piece, which is more than I can say for Franz Liszt’s last name.  Every time I say “Liszt” I sound like I have a lisp.  Maybe he did too?

Some content sourced from Wikipedia, “the free encyclopedia”.

Author: Dave

Three hundred posts would suggest I have something to say… This blog was born from a desire to elevate the English language, highlighting eloquent words from days gone by. The stories I share are snippets of life itself, and each comes with a bonus: a dusted-off word I hope you’ll go on to use more often. Read “Deutschland-ish Improvements” to learn about my backyard European wish list. Try “Slush Fun” for the throwback years of the 7-Eleven convenience store. Or drink in "Iced Coffee" to discover the plight of the rural French cafe. On the lighter side, read "Late Night Racquet Sports" for my adventures with our latest moth invasion. As Walt Whitman said, “That the powerful play goes on, and you may contribute a verse.” Here then, my verse. Welcome to Life In A Word.

22 thoughts on “I Made This Up”

  1. First I’ve been remiss in not commenting on how you’re MAKING wonderful progress on putting together the grand piano. As for the Makery, I think that’s inspired. Clever you, clever them– both MAKE the world a sweeter place.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I’ll never look at “make” the same every again! We never got to do a taste test for our wedding cake. We just recently had it for our anniversary but it didn’t taste as good as I remembered. We had a small cake and big dessert table with an assortment of treats, but neither of us ever made it to the table to try any.. we still talk about that haha

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The Makery is smart, Lyssy. They’ll make my daughter and her husband an anniversary cake a year from now, so it’s as fresh as the original. We froze the top of our cake for a year, and when we had it on our first anniversary it tasted awful. Not sure how the tradition got started – I never hear of a good experience with one-year wedding cake!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. That is nice! Our cake took up a lot of valuable space in the freezer. I never hear good experiences either but I’m not the biggest cake fan anymore. My tastebuds have changed and I don’t like the sugary sweetness like I used to.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I’ve been in my workshop making stuff all week, but the word stuck in my head this week has been, well two words really, “Rocky Raccoon” Yes, it’s a song, but my brain doesn’t sing, it just says, “Rocky Raccoon.”

    Well there is one other word around my house, “Fix.” I have to fix a lawn sprinkler, a chair and a lamp. My wife keeps fixing lunch and I didn’t even know it was broken …

    Great work on the piano – looking forward to seeing it completed.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Hi Dave,
    I cannot wait to see the final wedding creation (I hope you will post the pictures).
    I am so impressed with that piano. It doesn’t look like Legos at all in the pictures.
    What will be the next project?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. My daughter’s wedding cake was simple yet elegant, Ana – four tiers draped with real flowers. Once I have the photos I’ll be sure to post them. Great question about the next Lego project. There are so many to choose from but only a few appeal to me. I’ll take you along for the ride again once I start!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Dave, well here’s hoping you will indeed “make merry” with the Makery’s cake on the day you give your daughter away. Who knew there were 56 definitions for the word “make” – that is amazing. We have something here in Dearborn every year called the Maker Faire. It is a meeting of the minds, a lot of STEM folks/students, but there are also groups of people who dabble in the arts. We are not unique in hosting the Maker Faire here in Michigan. I just Googled and found out that large, as well as small-scale Maker Faires are held around the world. I thought the “prop stick” was new to the piano since last time – one more week and we’ll see the finished product!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. “Makers” never cease to amaze me, Linda. A glance at Etsy “makes” you realize how many truly creative people there are in the world. And yes, I was fooled by the piano lid prop stick as well. I completely forgot it was already there, just waiting to be raised.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, Monica, the cake was delicious. I only wish they cut bigger pieces like we asked them to. Instead, we have a refrigerator full of wedding cake 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Ah, the wonder of words! Such a delightful post you MADE out of such a simple one. Then again, can a word with 50+ definitions be called simple? I think you proved the opposite. Just because a word is short and common doesn’t mean it’s uninteresting!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I wonder how many times “make” or “made” or “Maker” shows up in the Bible, Nancy? My first thought when I saw your comment was “This Is My Father’s World”… “… the Lord God MADE them all” 🙂


      1. Remember Strong’s Concordance? There are 22 COLUMNS of references for made, make, and makest! The first verse that comes to mind: “He makes me lie down in green pastures” (Psalm 23:2), from the first psalm I memorized as a child.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. I knew there was a way to search the Bible, Nancy – thanks for the reminder! I should not be surprised to know there are so many instances of “make”. After all, He is our Maker!


  8. Although it is too late for alternate title suggestions, I have one: Dave On The Make.

    I am also thinking of the makeup ladies are so fond of.

    Liked by 1 person

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