As a writer, I’m often faced with the problem of language and it’s limitations. Words are our tools, tools we use to shape and create images and characters, to reach into the brains of our readers and show them something they have not seen before at least in our specific version of an event or a story.
Words, both spoken and written have limits. There are things that can’t be expressed adequately through the simple use of language. There are emotions and concepts that exist in those spaces in between font and typeface, vocal cord and lips.
Yet as I learn more and more everyday words can be infinitely more powerful than silence or thoughts. Words have the capacity to imbed themselves in the subconscious or heart of another person, to pierce into their consciousness, their feeling of self.
Once spoken they cannot be retracted. Once written, they gain a certain amount of permanence, a certain amount of truth for the simple fact that they’re there – tangible and existing, alive and crackling with electricity.
They can destroy often more potently than they can recreate. They can burn more easily than they can heal. They are more effective as weapon than bandage. Words create rifts that can take years to heal.
So what is worse? Silence, biting back anger yet possibly holding back truth? Or honesty, even if it is momentary and fleeting in our minds yet could be permanent for someone else?
It’s like those extra ten pounds you gain over Christmas: easy to execute but hard to lose after the fact. In that same way those words will come back to haunt you time and again. So you must ask yourself before they leave your lips, much like that extra chocolate chip cookie – is it worth it?