10 March 2012

Para.... (with diversions)

Where do ideas come from? Just as every raindrop is formed around a tiny particle of dust, gathering more moisture until it is big enough to fall to the ground, every idea has a tiny, invisible starting point. The cloud of creativity sometimes needs seeding to get any precipitation out of it, but that's another story.
Image from here
Hot on the heels of my Parasomnia and Paraesthesia titles come suggestions (thank you, Clea) for more in the same vein, also (of course) to be made of embossed paper, scanned in and scaled down, and formed into an eight-page concertina covered with black-core mountboard, 6cm square -- and to be sold in pairs. The realisation of the idea, though, depends on what is pressed into the paper, and how the prints are sequenced. So, the tiny droplet of the idea must rise up through the cloud of moisture - and risk being broken up many times in the process, forming the potential for many others - some of them growing large enough to survive evaporation in their descent, and fall to earth.

ok, enough of the elaborate metaphor and let's get back to the ostensible topic...

The prefix "para" has many meanings: alongside of, beside, near, resembling, beyond, apart from, abnormal. (Not to be confused with the term "para", which means to bring forth or bear, eg a multipara is a woman who has given birth several times.)

In the medical line of things -
paranoia (unfounded or excessive fears about others)
paraparesis (weak legs)
paraphimosis (cured by circumcision)
paraplegia (paralysis of the lower part of the body)
paraphilia (complex psychiatric disorder manifested as deviant sexual behaviour)
parasitemia (presence of a parasite in the blood)
parasitosis (infection or infestation with parasites)
parasuicide (apparent attempt at suicide, in which the aim is not death)
paracentesis (removal of fluid from a body cavity using a hollow instrument)

Some others, from my 1930s thesaurus -
parachronism (false estimate of time)
paraleipsis (rhetorical term referring to neglect)
paraffin (ok now we're getting silly)
parachute, parasite, parapet, paragraph

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