Welcome to my world and beyond...

A collection of snippets of the books I write and, occasionally, my life and the things that inspire my writing...

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

The Weight of Words

I think of this often; I wonder if most writer's do--or if it is a cause and effect thing?  Is there a catalyst that brings this concept to mind: we write the words, we release the words for public viewing...then we reap what the words have sown.

When I was younger, I gave little thought to the impact of my words, let alone those of anyone else.  I believed that my words had impact only if I intended it to be so. Naive...ignorant...a little of both, or maybe even a lot of both.

Age has brought many things with it; an inescapable caution about my words is one of them.

Sometimes, when I am ready to click "publish" right here on this blog, I waver.  Should I? Should I not?

There is no bringing them back once they are cast to the virtual universe.  And...I don't want to go the fight with people who disagree with me-- and have limited word skills when it comes to "voicing" their disagreement. Perhaps, once so naive and ignorant, I am just now older and tired? :-)  <-----  That smile was not a typo.

But...that is a small risk in compare to having written words that offend people.  The weight of words...  And offense is small in compare to lowering someone's self-esteem, or to have them view themselves in a bad light--over something a writer has released to the public.

We can't always avoid our words being harsh--sometimes harsh is needed, but not often. We can't help but occasionally offend people, or caus them to have a bad day.  It happens.  Sometimes the words are a needed wake-up call.  But, it is a pretty good practice--to weigh and measure the words we choose to  wake up people.  You do get better mileage out of other ways, other words. 

I have a hard copy of the manuscript of the very first book I ever wrote. It is on a shelf, wrapped up in brown paper, unopened since the day I sent off its twin via media-mail to a publisher.  I also saved the rejection letter that soon enough followed the nearly ceremonious mailing--well, it felt sort of ceremonious to me.

That was five years ago.  I think I might never open it...so ashamed I am of the writing quality.  I hope that editor didn't write my name somewhere, or enter it into a file that reads "Reject any ms. sent from Teresa Cypher."   The weight of words...

Those words were awfully heavy.  I made so many rookie mistakes.  By the time I mailed it off, I had been polishing it for two years. I was pretty sure that it was a showpiece.  Little did I know...

I was just standing at the threshold of enlightenment...the weight of words.

Since then, I have spent five years learning the craft of writing, and have learned so much I could write a book about it *attempt at humor*. Of all the things I treasure from my years of learning, practicing, reading, writing--and the opportunity given to me by that wake-up call a wise editor sent to me under the guise of a rejection letter, is this:  I think I understand the weight of words.

Fiction, non-fiction, memoir, essay, poetry, emails, facebook posts, tweets, and the list goes on and on and on...all words. And the words all have weight.

Where are you on this path to literary enlightenment--do you have a good grip on  the weight of your words?

8 comments:

  1. Well said Teresa. Every writer's tool is his words;when he knows how to use his tools well only then his craft excels! Gibran once said: "All our words are but crumbs that fall down from the feast of the mind." You have come a long way and have excelled at communication using the best of words. and your words carry weight as the're sincere!!

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  2. Awe, thank you so much, my friend... That is a beautiful quote. And to have you add that my words carry weight because I am sincere? *blushing* I am humbled and joyous at once. Thank you :-)

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  3. Yes. I feel the weight of words, too. The other day I made a joke that agents see me coming and think how many more bloody MS is this moron going to make me suffer through! But! Then I get a good response and relish in their sweet powerful words.

    Open that MS one day, if nothing more, just to see how far you've truly come. (I did this with a MS that had sat for 10 years, and rewrote it from a romance to a fantasy thriller. It was fun!)

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  4. Lol...thank you for that, Tanya! It is good to know that someone else suffers under their weight.

    Read the old manuscript??? Oh, my. Maybe, someday...I might even share it with a few others. It could serve as a cautionary tale about jumping into things without the necessary knowledge to keep from looking quite *foolish* ;-)

    Thank you for stopping by and giving this a read :-)

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  5. I cringe when I think how free I was to hit people with words when I was an impetuous youngster! But rereading old words is mostly hilarious, as long as you're in the right mood :-) I like this post a lot!

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  6. Lily, lol, I so know what you mean. In a way, I kind of envy that person. Not bearing the weight of my words. But I am older, wiser...and better for it in so many ways. Thanks for visiting!

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