Despite culturally derived grammatical restrictions that control how we use and interact with words (nouns, verbs, tense, word order, case, etc.), a writer is offered a magnificent pallet for selecting and playfully interacting to mix, match, shake-up – essentially to allow words to fully live the lives they were destined and intended to live. In my own small way, I continually strive to seek out ways to assist them in finding their way to freedom and fulfilling enriched lives.
Each word I glance upon brings me to wonderment…
- Is it possible certain words have lives all their own? If so, where did they originate or come from?
- Are there specific ways we, as writers, can help those words live out and fulfill their lives?
- Might words have parents/siblings? If so, do they look or act similar to other family members?
- Can short words (ones with few letters) be as powerful as ones with more letters?
- How can short words succinctly state their purpose and take on greater power?
- Do consonants and vowels get along…or do they just tolerate one another?
This ongoing fascination (hmmm…obsession) with words and word usage for me seems to never end. I constantly feel challenged to seek out arenas that nourish and nurture my lust. For example, this semester I’m indulging in a class entitled “Languages of the World.”
In this class, I’ve learned that words do in fact have parents and siblings (they belong to Mother and Sister languages)…and at times, they can even look and act similar to other family members (called cognates). And, yes…in some languages consonants seem to only tolerate (more like “use and abuse”) vowels to serve their own needs.
Several years ago when I initially began offering career transition services – helping folks re-work or re-align their resumes (and job searches) – I observed a remarkable shift in my client’s demeanor and posturing as we worked together to reveal and unfold their work and career successes. What initially appeared to be a simple, singular word change suggestion (i.e. replacing “assisted” with “drove”) had a profound impact on my client’s demeanor and outlook. Their entire posture morphed – they seemed to “own” the new word – and reflected a deeper sense of pride and power over the work they had undertaken and accomplished. I also recall observing the word “drove” dance with excitement…and live out its intended purpose.
As shared in his book Words Can Change Your Brain, Dr. Andrew Newberg shares:
“Language shapes our behavior and each word we use is imbued with multitudes of personal meaning. The right words spoken in the right way can bring us love, money and respect, while the wrong words—or even the right words spoken in the wrong way—can lead a country to war. We must carefully orchestrate our speech if we want to achieve our goals and bring our dreams to fruition.”
Last week I was sick in bed for 4 days…and was clearly under the spell of a series of dreams (maybe the word “hallucinations” might more realistic align with the episodes). Interestingly…these “dreams” all just happened to be about words setting the course of my sickness–>wellness. I’ve recapped 3 of them below:
Dream #1 = 100’s of words surrounded me – they held hands, danced around me in a loosely organized circle. I wondere if they were they trying to organize their individual lives to join forces and offer me a message? Maybe it was “We hope you get well soon…so, you can come out and play with us again.”
Dream #2 = As I opened my computer and sat sipping a chai at a local café, two words hopped up onto the table – “implement” and “execute” – and stared at me. Suddenly, each one began presenting its case why the sentence I was crafting should include one or the other. This jockeying for position went on for quite a while…and each built a solid, defensible case why it needed to be selected.
Dream #3 = Early one morning, I stared at my computer pondering how to craft a harsh message… when 3 words appeared in full regalia (as much as a word can) – Could – Should – Would. They debated amongst themselves about their relationship, purpose, and usefulness quite loudly. Suddenly, Could and Would stopped interacting with Should claiming he was being too judgmental.
Yikes…I’m sure glad that short period in my life has ended. Although, come to think of it…it might be fun to maintain that level of creativity and enhance those dreams without being horizontally tethered and blanketed by a sea of white, fluffy clouds!!
© 2013 EMCarlock
The Write Resources, LLC™ – www.the-write-resources.com