The Power of Words

Wednesday, 13 March, 2013
In cyberspace they are impermanent, in print they are rather more long-lasting. The moments before pulling the trigger on going to print are more than a little nerve-wracking, as the words have begun to swim before your eyes, only kept straight by the insane amounts of coffee you have consumed.

You start searching for inspiration to keep going, to pull these words together in a way they makes beautiful sense.

I often find that inspiration in music. Young the Giant this cycle in particular. This little vid explains exactly why we see more and more choosing to wander through life with earphones (or over-sized fashion headphones as is the case with the youth these days), it just makes life better.

Then for a sure-fire shot of writing inspiration from writers, I go directly to one of my favourite blogs, Brain Pickings.

The article of advice on writing from Kurt Vonnegut (one of my all time favourite books is his Dead Eye Dick, read it!) was helpful this time around, sometimes you just need a stern talking to.

"1. Find a Subject You Care About

Find a subject you care about and which you in your heart feel others should care about. It is this genuine caring, and not your games with language, which will be the most compelling and seductive element in your style.

I am not urging you to write a novel, by the way — although I would not be sorry if you wrote one, provided you genuinely cared about something. A petition to the mayor about a pothole in front of your hose or a love letter to the girl next door will do.

2. Do Not Ramble, Though

I won’t ramble on about that.

3. Keep It Simple

As for your use of language: Remember that two great masters of language, William shakespeare and James Joyce, wrote sentences which were almost childlike when their subjects were most profound. ‘To be or not to be?’ asks Shakespeare’s Hamlet. The longest word is three letters long. Joyce, when he was frisky, could put together a sentence as intricate and as glittering as a necklace for Cleopatra, but my favorite sentence in his short story ‘Eveline’ is just this one: ‘She was tired.’ At that point in the story, no other words could break the heart of a reader as those three words do.

4.Sound like Yourself"

Oh Kurt, you make so much sense. Thank you.

And the third thing that keeps me going is the words from you, the readers.In Issue 3 I'm happy to say we're introducing a Letters to the Ed (that's Letter to me, Mel!) page. I am eternally grateful to the words you have taken the time to send to me. They are powerful indeed. Keep 'em coming please!

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