Word.

…Words are powerful. Language changes lives. The letters of the alphabet give me identity, purpose, dreams and often happiness (or is it happyness?). I wholeheartedly pursue relationships through communication. I love with words. I hurt with words. I remember not with just crinkled images and faded pictures, but with narration to tell the story…

All these thoughts streamed through my head while reading the motives behind why some guy named Big Brother, I mean George Orwell, wrote. He says, “When I was about sixteen I suddenly discovered the joy of mere words, i.e. the sounds and associations of words.” Sure, I have lists upon lists of my favorite words: wasps, banana, radii, squash, Trigonometry. But why write? Why continually place yourself in moments of vulnerability and exposure? Well Mr. Orwell, I’m glad you brought this up.

To write is to risk yourself – a broken daughter, a failing sister – for all to see. “And yet it is also true that one can write nothing readable unless one constantly struggles to efface one’s own personality. Good prose is like a windowpane,” Orwell says. Telling my perception of the story and entering the conversation is revealing. I feel that writing is as raw of an act that there can be. It’s abstract thought turned into artifacts you can hold in the palm of your hand.

Andrew Sullivan agrees in a different sphere, saying, “To blog is therefore to let go of your writing in a way, to hold it at arm’s length, open it to scrutiny, allow it to float in the ether for a while, and to let others, as Montaigne did, pivot you toward relative truth.” Truth is raw.

I’m also a collector of so-called “lines” – the phrases or language combinations that are able to be both written and spoken with conviction. It’s as if I want to mental archive all of my Aha! moments with words. But for the first time, I had an Aha! moment by way of disagreement. Sullivan says, “Words, of all sorts, have never seemed so now.” Really, blogger Andrew? Words have never gone out of style. Words have never flown south for the decade. Words will never not be powerful. It’s the people that we have to get to listen to them.

3 thoughts to “Word.”

  1. Emily- I really enjoyed your thoughts in the beginning of your blog, especially the line, “I love with words, I hurt with words”. It makes your point about Sullivan saying, “words never seem so now” especially poignant. It’s true too I think that words never really go out of style, they will always be in our lives, even if it is a stop sign or a cereal box. Especially with the presidential politics going on right now, words seem especially listened to and picked apart; however, like you said, they aren’t “new” words; they didn’t go away, people just are choosing to pay attention to them.

  2. Emily- I agree with Madelaine that words will always be around and carry a great sense of power.

    I also really enjoyed reading your view on how “the letters of the alphabet give me identity”, because I too have found writing to be a self-exposing and vulnerable act that can also be very rewarding. Writing has always enabled me to learn something about my own emotions and opinions and I found this idea to be most relatable. I think this speaks in great magnitudes to the power of writing and words. The bigger the risk you are willing to take the larger the reward…

  3. Emily,

    I agree with you in that words will never go out of style. That being said, I actually interpreted that line a bit differently. I interpreted it as his notion that words in the blogosphere are much more active and immediate rather than the seemingly passive and patient process of writing a novel. I really enjoyed your commentary on the fact that writing is such a vulnerable thing. I cannot possibly count the times I have rejected even my parents’ pleas to read their own daughters’ writing. But what can I say? Me, you, and every other human being hates being rejected, it’s a fact of life.

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