Words, words, I love words.

All my life I’ve looked at words as if I were seeing them for the first time.   ~  Ernest Hemingway

I’m with you, Papa.  Me too.  And even before I could look at words and read them, I loved them.  Sometimes, at a very young age, I would hear a word and adopt it right away because I liked the sound of it.  I would roll it around in my mind and silently repeat it over and over.  I guess I was a bit OCD early on, wasn’t I? 🙂  And I would have repeated it aloud except that my mom would say, “Honey, could you please just not talk for a little while?”  I understand that now but I didn’t back then.  I did, however, want to make her happy, so I would try very hard not to talk–no easy task for a three- or four-year-old would-be wordsmith.

I wish I could say I have always used my words wisely but I haven’t.  I have not-so-jokingly said that when my genes were figuring what goes where, they should have had some sort of thingy to put between my brain and my tongue.  Unfortunately, that piece disappeared like an important piece from a grandchild’s Lego set.  Whenever a notion enters my brain, it almost instantly exits my mouth.  Sometimes that “quality” makes me look outspoken but honest, which I am.  Other times I look and sound like the horse’s ass who forgot to consider my words a little before I voiced them.  And once spoken I can never get them back.  I have worked on this issue for years and I will give myself credit for being much more modulated and moderated than I once was.

I’ve been thinking lately about my written words.  Writing gives me an opportunity to weigh my words before I pass them off to a receiver.  I like that.  I usually proofread and edit my posts several times before I hit publish.  I’m not usually checking for spelling and grammar.  I’m looking for tone and how I will sound to my reader.  But here’s the problem:  When I’m speaking I have many tools at my disposal that I don’t have when I’m writing.  I have a very mobile face and a voice that changes tone and emphasis and mood.  The person I’m communicating with can see and hear if I’m making a joke or if I’m crying or if I’m angry.

When I’m writing I have to use words to convey those messages.  You who have been writing seriously for a while have probably figured out how to do that.  I think I am slowly learning but it isn’t easy for me.  I’m thinking maybe I will take a writing class.  Have you had experiences, good or bad, with writing classes?  If so, I would love to hear from you.  I’m sick of smiley faces and I really don’t think they’re very effective.

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21 thoughts on “Words, words, I love words.

  1. There’s what I write, and then there’s what you read. Any connection between the two is random at best. When I was a child my teacher said to the class: “First we are going to figure out what the poet meant, and then we are going to figure out what it means to you!”

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  2. Peter and I went to a writers’ class for several years. The room was provided for free by the council. We had to pay the instructor only 7 Australian Dollars for a two hour session. We didn’t have to pay for missed sessions. The course helped us a lot with our English. The instructor was a retired acadamic. What I distinctly remember is that she kept teaching us to leave out unnecessary words. If the sentence makes sense without these additional words, then leave them out/! She sometimes did get annoyed when I put too many commas in a sentence! We are still friends with our instructor and some of the participants whom we befriended over the years. We met some very interesting people in some of the classes.

    Peter and I, being of German origin and still talking mostly German to each other at home, we often have a problem with finding the right English expressions in conversation. Writing it down comes easier. All our children and grandchildren are of course fluent in English. And by the looks of it the 3 and 4 year old great-grandchildren already have an impressive command of the English language.

    During the course of my life I often felt inhibited when it came to small talk. However when philosophical questions were being discussed at high-school in Germany I was not one to hold back with my opinions! I also didn’t find it too difficult to write essays on certain subjects. I presume as a toddler I would have been very talkative. I was happy when some-one taught me the words to the songs I wanted to sing. A lot of these words to the songs I can still remember.

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    • I think it’s really great that you and Peter took a writing course together. And in your second language.

      Your comment about small talk grabbed my interest, too. That’s where I have the greatest difficulty in my second language, which is Spanish. And when I think about it–in my native tongue as well. I grew up a middle child in a family of five children. I think I didn’t get enough opportunities to “small talk” as I was lucky to make my most basic needs heard over the bossiness of the two older siblings and the crying demands of the younger ones whose needs usually took precedence over mine. I got pretty good at leaving out “unnecessary words.” I still have a terse, pragmatic style of speaking and writing.

      By the way, I have a German surname–Winkler. That was my maiden name.

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  3. Awww, S, thank you for your kind words. And you do indeed string together some lovely and meaningful sentences. That’s why I read your blog.

    I have been running behind with my reading and my comments lately–lots going on around here. I have meant for some time to thank you for honoring me with an award. I really mean it! I am honored that you would think of me.

    I hope you will keep writing. Writing gives me a sense of accomplishment and a sort of emotional release for having said what I want to say. I imagine it’s the same for you. Before I started this blog I didn’t feel as if I had a voice–that’s what divorce and other tragedies can do to our self-esteem. It’s a wonderful tool for us all and so we’ll keep writing and pouring it out. Sometimes I type and cry. Sometimes I type and laugh or sing or both.

    Keep on keeping on sweet S. You have much to offer the rest of us.

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  4. Hi BOMO,
    I loved this post. In fact I have returned to it about three times now. I completely agree with you that words are liberating in some instances, and I absolutely adore stringing them together to craft beautiful and emotional sentences, but that takes a rare gift. One I am almost positive I don’t possess. In my meagre attempt at blogging, I have found a love for casual writing that I hadn’t nurture since before college. It was like returning to an old friend.
    BOMO, I have been following your blog for over a year now and I absolutely value your place in my life. You have shown me what it means to love, accept and treat yourself with compassion.But you also haven’t hidden the hard truth that sometimes everyone feels melancholy and lonliness, sometimes there is doubts but the prevailing attitude is one of compassion towards yourself, and other that you know and don’t know.
    Tons of love,
    xoox – S,.

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  5. I think you’re one of the majority, then!
    There’s online courses, I believe, but also I’ve seen websites where you can write something creative, like a small story (poem) and other people rate it. Great place to start to get feedback and stuff.
    By the way, sorry to invade your space, but just out of curiosity, where is the picture taken from at the top of the screen? It looks so familiar I had to ask (it looks like Tasmania or if not that, this place we go to in Wales (but from a weird angle) just can’t put my finger on it where!

    Yours very baffled.

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    • Hi PN. Thanks for reading my little essay. I hadn’t thought about online courses. That’s a great idea. I’ll check on that.

      I took the photo at the top of the screen from the deck of my last home which was in the western North Carolina mountains. It’s in the Appalachian chain and situated a few miles from the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. In my opinion, it’s one of the most beautiful places on earth. Unfortunately, I’m now divorced and living in the “big” city of Charlotte. Fortunately, I have daughters and grandchildren here. BTW, not to worry, I don’t feel in any way invaded.

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  6. I agree with Caroline. When you write them the words belong to you, but when people read them they often take ownership, and what they makeout the very words youve used often surprises you. What always gets me about your writing is the honesty in it. Can’t get anough of that

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  7. I love this post. I find it fascinating how some people interpret some of my posts!! I get comments which to me go off on a route I had never even considered or intended!! By the way you’re not one of them!

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    • Thank you, Caroline.

      I know exactly what you mean about interpretations of your writing. We interpret based on our own experience and learning. I guess it’s inevitable that some folks would have a different take than we intend. Still, some are so bizarre that I can’t imagine how anyone could draw such conclusions. Never a dull moment, huh?

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    • In some ways I do, too, Angie. For example when I’m trying to be tactful about something, writing works better because I won’t just blurt it out. I have more time to think about it–well, most of the time.

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