September 06, 2002
Touch not the Weblogger
Words have power. A word said in one context is just a word, but in another context lights the fuse to a bomb.
(Crispy fragments of confused wonderment)
Power words are given their power through worry, fear, anger, insecurity, sadness, or hurt. Especially hurt. Nothing gives a power word more energy, more kick, more bang per syllable, than hurt.
Unfortunately, there are different power words for each of us, and pity the poor person who says the word or words in the right context and releases a veritable torrent of reaction.
What's difficult for the unwary is the circumstances surrounding our aquisition of a new power word are such that we don't particularly care to share them with the world at large. So some poor sod can be walking happily along and between one sentence fragment and the next, the ground quickens beneath his or her feet, and "SLURP!" -- they're sucked into the vortex of power word wipeout. It's not a pretty sight.
Luckily, wipeouts leave visible marks that trace around the power word, forming chalk outlines on the psyche, warning signs to touch not the weblogger.
Not that I have any words. Not me.
Posted by Bb at September 06, 2002 07:30 PM
"Crispy fragments of confused wonderment..."
And them's good eatin'!
(sorry, sorry, can't help it, that was the first thing that leapt to mind)
Finger licken' words. Hee. I like it.
(Excuse me, but are you going to eat those words?)
"I didn't know that I was going to have to eat my words," objected Milo.
"Of course, of course, everyone here does," the king grunted. "You should have made a tastier speech."
-- Norton Juster, _The Phantom Tollbooth_
I eat a poem
I take a big bite
And alliteration drips
Down my chin
_Shane_, "How to Eat a Poem"
Nope, don't give anyone else that power.
Too many years teaching to be bated like that. You get angry; they win. Too much power to hand over to anyone.
Now, 'tis fun some times to throw words out there and see if they get a reaction.
You just hope they don't go off so close to your fingers that you get powder burns.
"The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved...the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn, like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars and in the middle you see the blue centerlight pop and everybody goes 'Awww!'"
_Jack Kerouac_On the Road
Okay, okay. I'll be good now. I do understand what you're saying Loren. Still, it's difficult to control that hammer to knee reaction with certain words. I've seen even the most serene of us react to words that, frankly, surprised the hell out of me.
Well, I didn't say that it didn't come at a cost.
Unfortunately when I used to get mad the adrenaline rush scared the hell out of me. I'd shake for the next two hours.
I've even been known to slam on the brakes in the middle of I-5 and tell the passenger, an ex-wife, to get out.
I worked hard to take back the power that I gave those people.
"He who wants to persuade should put his trust not in the right argument, but in the right word. The power of sound has always been greater than the power of sense."
Joseph Conrad said that, and it's something I've always taken more as a warning than a recommendation.
(Enjoy the chance to use a favorite quote, since I have so few!)
I, like Loren, don't always put my own good advice into practise but I do try to remember Ghandi's saying "If you are right you have no reason to be angry and if you are wrong you have no right to be angry"
Words are explosive. They shatter and blast and obliterate as much as they lay the foundations for good things. It is not only when I have found myself ducking for cover or manning the AA guns that I've learnt something about myself. I'm as surprised or stunned when a wall breaks and a new world opens before me. Trouble is, it's a bit of a lottery.
Kerouac is a different story altogether. That was not writing, that was and is a music that drifts and keens and wails and riffs through the empty spaces and up against the cliffs and down into the sea and into all those mad, sad, empty and faraway places of the soul peopled by the Ti Jeans of God's only earth ... I miss Kerouac, honestly I do. He's there, somewhere. Beautiful, beautiful words.