I was backing up old files and emails off floppy disks today and I dug up an email in which I expounded on a word I had just invented. Why did I invent the word? Because I had something that needed a word? No, actually I made up a definition for it after making it up. Did I expect it to gain entry in the standard lexicon? Rather not. No, I just did it for fun. The word was squidgeemorrow. (It sounds invented, doesn’t it?) Here, unaltered except for typo correction (note the outdated computer references), is the original explanation, from an email to my friend Michael Corrado, sent September 12, 1995:
Squidgeemorrow is the little space that enters your mind between thought and thought so that you stare into space thinking only that you are between thoughts. Is this the mental space in which dogs spend most or all of their time? Is the essence of caninity the suspended state between the originating thought which led the dog into existence and the final thought into which the dog enters after its demise?
Is thought in fact the thing which prevents us from realizing the true nature of things, is thought the Apollonian bubble in which we float oblivious to the Dionysian reality that swirls around us? What if the true dichotomy in life is between the aesthetic and the non-aesthetic? No, that can’t be, as even the absence of aesthetic is aesthetic. Even squidgeemorrow, the anaesthetic state, the pure suspended thought condition which is the obverse of the pure active thought condition in which thoughts flow as smoothly as the absence of thought in the other (and the name of this condition is Cat), has its own aesthesis, perhaps unrealized during the condition, but it will come piling out like seven and a half thousand frogs flooding out of a closet after the door has been opened by some unwotting latter-day pharaoh, piling like the commands execute in rapid sequence after you come up to the terminal in the library which someone has pressed F1 on (hold screen) and not realized what was up, and then six and a half other people have come up to the terminal and typed their life stories and a few of their fantasies into the apparently unresponsive keyboards, only to walk away in frustration and animal disgust due to their unawareness of the hold screen function; the hold screen button off, snap out of it, and the frogs are everywhere, aesthetic overload for a blinding second which is so pure as to obliterate even its own traces, leaving behind as a memory for the experient no more than the single Trident gum wrapper left on a desert road after a stop by two tour buses full of persons from an unspecified country where they speak no language known to humans (thus possibly Alabama).
So, now, why that meaning and this word? Let us taste this word for a moment. Obviously it starts with squid, and yet there is nothing squiddish about its referent. I think I simply had a feel of the squalid squishiness of the liquidity of quiddity when qualia absquatulate, desquamating like squillions of scales from a Komodo Quasimodo. And how are they cleared thus from the windscreen of your mind? Why, with a squeegee… or a squidgee. (And where does the word squid come from, by the way? “Of obscure origin,” says the Oxford English Dictionary. So why shouldn’t it originate obscurity?)
And morrow? Well, gee, an eye to tomorrow is an eye that is suspended from today. Ah, yes, if there will always be more, oh, why turn to what is here now? At best there is a memory and a promise – squid yesterday and squid tomorrow, but never squid today.
And why such a long word? Well, apart from its evidencing a bent towards a prolix jag, and its possibly caesura-inducing sesquipedalianism, it occurs to me now that this word, too, is like the frog-pile following the fugue, that flash of green aesthesis that wipes even its own traces, flashing by like a bullet train… or a dream you had just before you woke up, but forgot on the instant your eyes opened. Ah, such is life.