Friday, December 14, 2007


When you write, you weight the words you use, as well as those your characters use. You possess the ability to create and destroy at will. You can build worlds or annihilate them. Share secrets or keep them.

Those letters on a page wield a frightening amount of power.

In history this term, we talked about the way that movable type and that the print press allowed ideas to spread with almost unchecked freedom. Now, the computer replicates that power. With the click of a mouse, this blog goes to scores of folk -- giving them the choice to read or delete at will.

But what do we say. Or not say?

The old cliche of least said, soonest mended comes to mind.

Goes against the computer age, doesn't it? This is, after all, the era of blogs like mine. Some better, some worse, but all of them published with an agenda on the writer's part. We say it all. We blurt it out. We engage is verbal exhibitionism. (Some of us, anyway.)

But what about the words we choose to speak? The ones we choose to withhold?

I think about my father often, especially as the second anniversary of his death. I think about what we never said. He was a quiet man, and -- despite my friends who will say otherwise -- I am a reserved woman. I play it close to the vest, to use another cliche.

Somewhere in my brain is the idea that losing a loved one means that I should change my behavior. Does that mean I should talk more? Share my feelings more? I'd rather not, thank you.

What my father and I never spoke of was death. We never found it necessary to examine our views on what that moment would be like for him, nor did we think it imperative to discuss what came after. What was the point? Neither of us saw one, so we opted for silence.

It was comfortable, that quiet. Lovely, actually.

Two years later, I'm about the same in that respect. If I have nothing to say, I say nothing. If I have something to say, I'm able to choose between speech and silence.

Not everything that I want to say has been said yet. Perhaps that's why I write, to get the words out of my head and make room for more. The older I get, the more words I find and the richer the thoughts and the more varied their contexts. I wouldn't trade it for anything.

With age comes wisdom. (Forgive my use of cliches, I find them ironically amusing for this blog's entry -- being that I'm talking about words themselves and the power behind them.)

So I'll say what I must and keep the rest for later. That way, when I say it, I mean it.

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