Monday, September 9, 2013

More Than Words

by Charlee Vale

Words have power.

That seems like such a simple phrase, but I think that it's something that we as writers tend to forget. We use words all the time--we write them, speak them, bleed them, love them. All the while we can ignore the simple and bone deep effect of words.

I had a friend in college, and one time in a moment of frustration she told me something—"All you do is talk about yourself, can't you give someone else a chance?" Those words, said in anger, have affected my entire life. I now will avoid talking about myself to a fault, and feel uncomfortable when anyone asks me questions about my life--even if they're out of genuine curiosity. I suffer from the immense fear that by talking about myself I will appear self-centered or completely unaware and insensitive to those around me.

I've confessed this to my family, and some of my friends who have assured me that what she said isn't true. It was never true. Regardless, it doesn't matter. That single sentence, said to me a single time will haunt me forever.

This isn't a post meant to garner pity, but words have a certain kind of echoing immortality. All it took was fourteen words to change an entire aspect of my life. Imagine the power you have in your hands when you use a few hundred to write a review, or eighty thousand to write a book.

Now, in this digital age where words can be poured out without a second thought, I think that the immense power they hold isn't something we can afford to forget. It can take as little as a single word to change the course of someone's life, for better or worse. That's an awful lot of power to have, and every single person has it.

So when you're at your computer, writing away on the stories you hope will one day be told for your lifetime and beyond, remember that words have power, and the things that they create are more than words. More than stories. Choose carefully, and choose bravely.

Charlee Vale is a Young Adult writer, photographer, and tea lover living in New York City. You can also find her at her website, and on Twitter, and endeavoring to choose beautiful words.


JeffO said...

Well and truly said, Charlee.

Melissa Marsh said...

I remember when I was in junior high and there was a boy I liked (isn't there always a boy?). I wore glasses and had pimples. I was a bit gangly. And a friend of mine told him that I liked him. He said that I was ugly. Those words haunted me for years and years, even after the glasses were gone and my body lost its middle school shape. Words do, indeed, have power.

Pam Williams said...

Words can both build up and tear down. It is an awesome responsibility we writers have been given. You story so clearly proves it. Thank you for sharing.
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Wanda said... easy to speak yet some are so hard to forget. I too remember some words spoken years ago that I have walked with me far longer than the speaker could have ever imagined. Thanks for the reminder to be ever watchful of the words we release.