Thursday, May 26, 2011

Harm, Healing, and Hope

                Yes, this is a post about writing. Probably the first of many. See, writers tend to rant a lot, but however poetic our ranting, I realize it can be quite irritating (and occasionally cliché). I apologize ahead of time. I’ll try to keep it short.
There is infinite depth in certain words. Of course, there are those that simply fly off the tongue without consequence, ricocheting off walls and eardrums, creating fainter and fainter echoes until they finally fade into nothing. But there are also those that hone in on their targets. Certain words, aimed correctly, can pierce a person’s very soul. Some words can fill a person’s veins with healing, restoration, peace. Others are capable of emptying that same person’s heart of joy and replacing it with anger, fear, even hatred.
Words have immense power.
Too often, people write off this power. “Sticks and stones may break my bones…” they chant, frantically ducking behind the frail, brittle shield of indifference. They grin in triumph, beyond the reach of those painful, piercing words. But if a person does not allow words to hurt him, how can he accept their help? The same shield that protects him from harm deprives him of healing. Of hope.
Words bear enormous hope.
One only has to know how to use them. Anyone can throw together a sentence, even a well-structured, grammatically correct one. But what makes a writer is the ability to place deeper meaning in that sentence. What’s more, a truly exceptional writer is born when a person discovers how to pierce souls with a simple phrase. How to instill fierce hope—or its frightened opposite—in those who read or hear his words. A truly exceptional writer breathes life into his words, giving them their own hopes and fears, dreams, desires. Giving them the ability to harm or to heal. Giving them worth.
Words have extraordinary worth.
We give words extraordinary worth.
Letting down our shields allows them to return the favor.

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