Words, words, words. We are in a world of words. As a writer, I’m attuned to the infinite number of words bouncing around the world. Unlike plastic and paper, spoken words are not recyclable. Once a word leaves the mouth, it is done. No turning back on the spoken word.
Written words are a tiny bit more lenient if you catch them in time. By written, I’m talking about word processing. I rarely write with pen and paper anymore except to make a grocery list. Even then, my handwriting has become so atrocious, sometimes I can’t read what I’ve written.
So, I guess I should redefine “written” as “processed” words. Until it hits the Internet, the processed word is a give-and-take commodity. Unlike the spoken word, the processed word has some flexibility.
A good case in point is this blog entry. I’ve backspaced a few times to correct typos or to reword a sentence. I corrected my cat’s contribution from his walk across my keyboard ([;[plokjhohi908hftsaw) although I hesitated to erase it because what if this is actually cat language in the written form? However, knowing Jackson, it probably means, “I’m still hungry.”
Slang and street words are fun unless you don’t know what you’re saying. I didn’t know “Going Commando” meant something other than Sylvester Stallone or a reasonable facsimile putting the smack-down on an enemy of the state. One of my girls got a kick out of my online cringing once the term was explained to me in great detail.
Another funny use of slang is an acronym from one of those World Wars we were involved in last century. I cringe and laugh at the same time when I hear 80 and 90-year old ladies talking about how the salad they made for the church’s pot luck dinner was “a complete fubar.”
Words, words, words. Sharper than a knife, stronger than steel and their sting can last forever. It is unbelievable the naivety of some who think their dirty secrets are safe on paper. Especially when those written words fall into the wrong hands. Like mine . . . a writer . . . with a personal agenda.
Anything written is fair game. Just because you tell the recipient to destroy or give back what you’ve written, it’s no guarantee they will. They may be obsessive/compulsive and hardwired to save everything. In the words of Gru, “Naught cooool.”
We need to always be adrift in the sea of words. Without words, we’d still be drawing pictures in the dirt with sticks. Words are full of consequences: good, bad, undecided, but never indifferent.
Each and every word matters. Choose carefully, choose wisely, google street slang before you use it, know your acronyms, and keep your secrets in your head and not on paper lest they fall into a writer’s lap.
Current enthusiasm is co-authoring at Rubicon Ranch