Thursday, June 20, 2013

The Power of Words

"There exists, for everyone, a sentence––a series of words––that has the power to destroy you. Another sentence exists, another series of words, that could heal you. If you're lucky you will get the second, but you can be certain of getting the first." ––Philip K. Dick 

     I am reminded this week of how words have such power. As a writer, it shouldn't be such a startling realization to me. But as a human, I find it surprising nonetheless. They are only ink on paper, right? Only sounds vanishing in the air. Only zeros and ones pinging through cyberspace. No, they are more than that. They are the physical substance of a thought spoken or written. And that's where their power comes. The physical manifestation of something intangible. Those words, once morphed into the physical, are almost impossible to erase. 

    Words grab people––they act as hooks (much like an opening chapter should!). They can mesmerize, console and comfort, tear down. Words can manipulate. 

     Words become alive. They take on a type of flesh and blood all their own. Think back on how words have survived thousands of years in the forms of spoken, sung, and written mediums. I'm sure the authors never dreamed their words would survive that long. Words can become immortal––living beyond our ephemeral reach. 

    Words become memories. Ones either pleasant or painful to remember. It is said for every negative stimulus you are exposed to (whether of your own doing or someone else's), you need five positive ones to reach a state of equilibrium. I marvel at how instantly you can recall a flood of memories just from one simple trigger word. 

     As a writer, I have the opportunity to create something that lives. Something hopefully reaching beyond my mortal span. I want my words to be remembered as compelling, touching, poignant, inciting change. Conversation starting. Meaningful. Never spiteful, rude, gibbering, or trashy. 

     I'm sure you can remember a time when you've been on the giving and receiving end of all of these. I can. Let the permanency of our words motivate us to watch what we say and how we say it. And, for us writers, that what we record will define our legacy for the better. 

"My task, which I am trying to achieve is, by the power of the written word, to make you hear, to make you feel––it is, before all, to make you see." ––Joseph Conrad


  1. Words are powerful and your post provides an excellent example, Christi.

    Sweet prose, melodic, rhythmic, poignant and pleasing -- your words encompass every one of these elements.

    A read joyful at the same time rueful. Emotions real and varied finding a place in my mind and my heart.

    Words reign infinite. And so seems evil's destruction of goodness. Beauty short-lived and fragile.

    Read on and rejoice!

  2. Thank you Gary for your kind words! I think the key to good writing is emotion, emotion, emotion (I'm not talking about cheap, sappy emotion). It's the easiest way in my humble opinion to snag a reader. But, writing emotion into a piece isn't all that easy. For me, I have to be "on." And boy can I tell when I'm not! :/ As humans, we have to be ok with knowing we won't be able to nail it every time. I'm learning to give myself more room for failure, for error. I used to have such high, unrealistic expectations of myself. Now, I'm trying to accept it for what it is and enjoy the journey. After all, what's the point if you don't enjoy the things you love?

    Well, we have to believe that good will triumph over evil in the end. Then, beauty won't be short-lived :)

  3. Words are indeed powerful. They're tools that we can use to shape the world of those we communicate with.

  4. Absolutely Patsy! I think more powerful than we realize sometimes.

    Thanks for commenting! :)

  5. Your words have touched me deeply, Christi. Probably more so, because I've been exposed to some very negative words lately and have been very hurt by them.

    Thanks for sharing; What you've written is very meaningful and true.

  6. I'm SO sorry to hear that Betty! My heart hurts for you :( I don't know your circumstances but please don't let someone else's nastiness keep you from being you! I'm not just saying this glibly because I too have been in your shoes recently. While it's so difficult, you can't allow them to rob your life from you. You deserve to be happy (and smiling like in your profile picture!!) and enjoying life to the fullest. Try to forget those negative words and focus on the goodness in your life (or the goodness you can create). I've found most people who put others down are trying to make themselves look better because they have very little going for them. Always remember by overcoming that negativity, you don't let them win. You win!!

    Don't allow someone like that to keep you from being your awesome self! Radiate :)

    Thank you for taking the time to come to my blog and comment. I really appreciate it. You will always be welcome here :)

  7. Words are very powerful. It is amazing how they can tear you down or pull you up, how they can inspire or hurt. This is a great post. Love it:)

  8. Thanks Rebecca! I agree. They can be either positive or negative. The choice is ours. Hopefully we choose to keep them positive so we can create good in the world. In my opinion, there's too much negative out there. I'd rather live in the sunshine of the positive :)