I believe in using language that gives the reader or the listener the impression that they have “got it”.
What that means to me- sometimes fancy words are just that- fancy. Or why use a $2 word when 50 cents might do.
So, when I want some one to cut off wrapping paper, I want them to just “womp” it off. First, I want them to just do it. Second, there is nothing magical about cutting, only that you need a good pair of scissors that are sharp. No goop on them, no dull blades.
If you have scissors like that, you can cut well. And fast. And that’s the point- “womp” when you don’t have to worry about straight.
This is the way we think about wrapping- you can always fold it straight. And being somewhat compulsive (O.K. neurotic), I like folded edges. They look neater and they sure hide the fact that the paper isn’t cut straight. And, you just get the job done faster.
It started when I was wrapping in the basement of my house, where I started my business. I discovered at 2A.M. that cutting straight is not possible, no matter what tools you have. And then another epiphany occurred- you could use the box edge to make the fold straight.
And then double faced tape; it could hold your fold in place. No visible tape.
A wrapping miracle! (We say this in the store a lot- it means we have been blessed- the roll of paper we are using just so happens to be the perfect length before ending. Same goes for ribbon or any other item we need to finish the job).
This folding and double face tape experience was a wrapping break through of sorts. And, it worked especially well for that all important holiday, Christmas Eve, when many folks are trying to finish wrapping all their gifts.
Added to “womp” is “smush”, a phrase that helps in describing how one might gather, pleat or fold their ribbon in order to achieve a hand made loop in their bow.
In my 15 years of teaching wrapping and bow making, I have learned that you need to have a large vocabulary of words to give alternative directions if the first ones don’t take. My students have encouraged me to find these other paths. So that’s where these words come from.
Maybe you have to be there-in that moment- to understand why these words work.
I just wonder what other people have discovered as they explain themselves and their craft. Is it just me? What are your favorite words and does it matter if no one else “gets” what we mean?