“That’s what I do,
and I know things.”
Apologies to George R R Martin, and Tyrrione, for bastardising this often memed quote..
I love words, reading, writing, speaking, collecting. I’ve had it described as my Superpower… I love being able to take people on a journey, in their heads, by just using words; and I love that the empath in me can collect peoples emotions about a happening and translate it, into a piece of writing that comforts; informs or simply resonates.
In recent times, some people and events have caused me to lose my words, which has been so sad for me.. and I am always overjoyed when the Muse returns, and I can write again… And, now in this time of unimaginable turmoil I have reflected on the importance of words..
So, an “Ode to Words”…
First words – learning your Mother Tongue, from the cosy comfort of your parents embrace. Hearing sounds and realising that they mean something; those first hesitant lisps, so proudly recorded in baby books, announced in posts.. mostly remembered for a lifetime..
Second language – or third, or fourth or more; a tongue that belongs to your culture, your land, your whanau… easily learned in those early days, when your brain is hot wired to absorb… Casually picked up, intermingled, swopped backwards and forwards with the ease of a weavers shuttle… Later years, learned in school, or from a new partner or in a new country.. Not as easily acquired, but the desire to communicate impelling you onwards..
New words – rolled around the mouth, tried on for size; some discarded, some become new favourites; evolving into signature sayings; spellings customised; idioms and slang adopted; each person, nationality, culture’s lexicon individually tailored to suit
Imported language – words, phrases, thoughts, adopted; pilfered; absorbed into everyday speech, becoming second nature; borders blurred until ownership of the original unclear
Books, fact or fiction – the writer’s sweat transmuted into stories to entertain or inform. Tomes of wisdom, holiday paperbacks; best sellers or limited editions..
Scripts – transporting the viewer to a magical invented world; the best run with an unconscious rhythm that pleases the ear; stage directions interpreted to live action, filling in the spaces between the words..
Poetry – rhythmic, rhyming, the cadence giving the words emphasis; read alone in quiet solitude or shared, by a Shakespearean Actor, sonnets to soothe.. Written in love, shared in the dark; or 17 syllables over 3 lines – succinct and precise; limericks to amuse; Ballads to recall history; lines written to share the beauty of a moment in time, or the torture of unrequited passion…
Music lyrics – melodious, rhythmic, rhyming.. evoking another time, place, person in an instant.. the background to your life. Falling in and out of favour; reaching across generations…
Prayers – words tied to a higher being. Learned in youth, arrived at in adulthood; familiar, reassuring; churches full of the memories of thousands of silent voices, weaving a cloak that consoles. Incense fuelled; recited in precise unison; the repetition easing grief; familiar words to mark birth, marriage, death and everything in between… Silent intercessions; pleading, bargaining, thanking… ancient languages long dead, used to control or comfort. Whispered alongside modern versions..
Commentaries – met with cheers or jeers; words to provide explanation of the action; opinions welcomed – or not; news real or fake? Informing, educating, misleading, entertaining, amusing, fuelling…
Promises – oaths of allegiance; unconditional guarantees; reassurance of support; some are broken – maybe given in ardent haste, then the slow retreat, regret, remorse of unfulfillment; Most kept, a contract; a solid link of friendship and love..
Cheery morning words – dragging from the depths of slumber; urging, rushing, hoarse staccato instructions; followed by “Love you, have a good day, be safe”…
Sleepy late night words – snuggling down, soothing the cares; whispered endearments; caressing connections; easing into safe somnolence..
Words become chaotic thoughts at 3.45am – churning, debating, pondering; rehearsing new conversations, rehashing conversations past.. chasing away sleep; frustration; restlessness..
Words written – paint on stone, ink on parchment; paper and pen; keyboard. Committed to some sort of permanency; invitations; congratulations; thoughts and opinions. Hard copy reminders of times past; Hopes and dreams; to be shared, mailed; sent out into the ether – nervous as to how they will be received..
Roared in anger; or self-righteous hatred; response spewed back and forth… frenetic typing…. Back spacing to delete…
Gentleness spread with kindness and generosity; healing, calming, reassuring; “Breathe” “it will be ok; it IS ok”..
The gift of time spent in silence – no words needed; love sitting, waiting for the moment to pass…
Thus In This Time of Geographical and Mandatory Distance; where even touch is limited we must just rely more and more on words. Written; mailed, sent; spoken into devices, transmitted face to face…. Let us choose them with care; connect with compassion; attend as much to how they will be received, as to our determined compulsion to deliver them. Treasure the connections we do have while we wait for these limitations to pass…
Take care my friends. Kia Kaha, Kia Māia, Kia Manawanui – Be Strong, Be brave, Be steadfast.
“Love All, Trust a few; Do wrong to None”William Shakespeare