Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Simple Words

This evening I'm thinking about words.

How there are so many words. Hundreds. Thousands. Yet, some people have such trouble saying what they are thinking and feeling, what they mean. I understand my vocabulary is extensive, that I use words in my each and every day others may not use, or even understand, for that matter. I am an epic communicator. It is with ease I will tell you what exactly is on my mind, but whether or not it makes sense is another matter completely. In truth, most of the thoughts running rampant through my head are so fleeting not even I can grab onto them long enough to understand them.

Still, all these words, this lush language and comprehensive communication, is so easily rendered pointless by simplicity. Sometimes I think about what I am saying, all these paragraphs I am creating in hopes of getting my point across, only to realize I might not need all this filler. Do I really need to articulate myself so thoroughly?

Can someone say this better? Quicker? Easier? With fewer words? Sure, I can pretty this sentence up, add delectable descriptors worthy of making lexicon lovers quiver in delight, but maybe that isn't a talent at all. Maybe a truly proficient wordsmith embraces 'less is more' and understands how valuable each word is, both in speech and writing. There is one thing to be a word lover, another to be a word whore.

Tonight I believe words are more powerful when used sparingly, like adjectives and exclamation points. Things don't have to be complex. In fact, they should be simple, so everyone can understand, so we all can enjoy. Sure, there is something to be said about the beautiful way in which words can be woven together (and the attractiveness of alliteration), but there is a sweetness in stark sentences. In their stripped down state, they can become so severe, leaving a sting you will always remember.

I am reminded of Dharma Bums, this little beatnik book, recommended to me by a long lost friend. And there is one sentence that stuck with. Needled my heart. Taunted my brain. And I cannot let it go.

One day I will find the right words and they will be simple. - Jack Kerouac.    

This is what is on my mind tonight. At times, I feel as though all these words I have written are all wrong and, when the right ones come, they will be modest. They will not be dressed in their finest clothes. They will be naked. Bare. And bold. And they will stick with someone else. They will needle  hearts and taunt brains. They will not be easily let go.

And then there is Robert Frost, who is clearly the master at the game of wordplay.

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