What’s With Words?

It was with some pride that i first introduced myself as a writer, although it took a number of years before i stopped feeling too fraudulent. It was a badge, i figured, i had a reason to take. I write everyday, so i had the defence of addiction. Addiction to words i guess.

What's With Words

There are many facets of communication: we use words, sure, but also pictures, songs, dance, sculpture, and we colour our messages with music, with tones and meter, with rhythm and rhyme. We communicate in more than words, and yet at the heart of communication are words.

They’re like bricks: we can pick them up and play with them, knock them to the floor and start again, build them high and wait for someone to knock them over or just leave them in a box, gathering dust.

Somehow, words work: we put them together and find satisfaction in their juxtaposition. There are few things more satisfying than finding a phrase that just works.

Although if i had to name something more satisfying, it would be finding a phrase that somehow just doesn’t. Because whilst words are about beauty and flow, they can also be about schism and fracture. Sometimes it’s in the convoluted complexity that we find the greatest satisfaction.

I love poetry: partly for it’s freedom from expectation, but largely for it’s permission to play. Especially once we abandon rhyme: discovering internal logic and flow that has it’s own pleasure.

Writing in the Social Age is democratised to a greater extent than every before: it’s a voice to claim, like graffiti.

Graffiti: voice for the voiceless. Words stolen and pinned to walls.

Our imagination is a gift: i love the look in my niece’s eye when she warily looks at me and exclaims ‘you made that up!’, as if discovering a secret. Because to make stuff up is a secret joy: to create stories, to elaborate, to explore the illogic of fantasy.

Words carry power, but can be disposable: used with caution or wild abandon and shouted into the night.

I’m in deepest America: picking up a hire car late last night, they took pity and gave me a yellow Mustang convertible. So i drove, hour after hour, through the night, with the hood down, singing to myself. Throwing words out into the night. Because there’s a certain joy in broadcast.

We are careless with words: in organisations we steal their joy and sanitise them, we bloat and fray them until they lose their power. We appropriate them and try to nail them down, but somehow they always escape: it’s in the nature of words to evolve their meaning.

Nothing is absolute: the context provides the lens we read them through. And that lens is wider than we may think.

We use them everyday, but often cease to wonder what’s with words. Which are wonderful.

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About julianstodd

A learning and development professional specialising in e-learning and learning technology.
This entry was posted in Words and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to What’s With Words?

  1. Alan says:

    Loved reading this Julian, read again more slowly and it truly resonates

    Alan.

  2. Best post that I have read in a long time. We always need to re-tell our story, in the context of the day. The bricks help us aim and achieve.

  3. Pingback: This Week’s Links « Timothy Siburg

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