First off let me thank you all for the kind thoughts about the loss of our friend Gar. Beth, who was a part of Gar’s life from the beginning, took the event rather hard. To be honest, for me it solidified just how much I love this woman. Her compassion and empathy towards animals are one of the reasons why I fell in love with her and remain one of the reasons why I love her more than I am sometimes able to express.
Which leads me to the the reason for this post. Beth and I just finished watching “Almost Famous.” It’s a story about a 15 yr. old kid who goes on the road with a rock band to write a story for Rolling Stone magazine in the early ’70s. Aside from being a totally enjoyable flick, it reminded me of why I fell in love with the written word at an early age.
Words have more power than we sometimes give them credit for. Although a lovely 200 word sonnet can express ones love for another, sometimes a simple “I’m sorry” will do the same. Words can heal, they can hurt. They can start or end wars. Words can make us laugh or cry. They make us angry, yet they can make us forgive. In short, words have the power to shape who and what we are.
I have a friend who is dealing with the loss of his mother right now. Words, in this case, make it hard for me to fully let him know the sorrow I feel for him and his family. They fail me. My friend is dealing with the loss in the same way he deals with everything bad that comes his way. He learns. He grieves. He laughs. He cries. In short, like my bro Merv, he will come out of this stronger than he went in. I admire him greatly for that.
So powerful and yet so elusive. Their effectiveness lies not only in the crafter, but in the listener. The words themselves are the same, but the meaning may change. Like I said, a simple “I’m sorry” may heal a wound, or it may just be letting the lemon juice run wild.
As I kid, I grew up reading Hemingway. After reading ‘A Farewell to Arms’ I wanted to go into the army. His account of WWI was exciting and glamourous in an odd way. He had a style of writing that pulled you in and never let go. It wasn’t until later in my life that I saw war in a totally different light. Not so exciting and really not glorious at all. The words were the same, it was just my interpretation that changed.
Thoughts, feelings, ideas. All placed on paper for others to read. 1000 years from now, that’s all we’ll have left. Archeologists and anthropologists of the next millennium will be pouring over what we’ve left behind, trying to learn from us. What will we leave for them to find?
Powerful, thought-provoking, damaging. It’s become all to easy to put ‘pen to paper’ and have it read as fact by millions. Obama was a islamic extremist who was born on Mars. Romney ate small children. Words carry great weight, and with that comes great responsibility. If we don’t adhere to that responsibility, what will the future think of us?
More than anything in our culture, words have the ability to define us as who we truly are. Next time you leave a comment on a blog post, please remember that. If some of you are inclined to try for a political office, remember that. Even when you just send an email to someone, remember that. Choose your words with care. Let’s lose the UR and the LOL and the :-). Use words. Real words. Remember the character in “Almost Famous,“ where words not only defined and shaped who he was, but who he became. They can do the same for us.
Me, I love words. They just don’t always love me.