It’s a sad fact that nothing inspires an artist more than melancholy. For the writer, sadness means turning to the only true solace we know: the words that we can weave together. We litter pages with words that depict tragedy, sorrow, loss and longing, words to be explored and consumed by readers. For those whom have felt that hurt or anything resembling it, the words are ravenously consumed, even as they bring tears to the eyes and bitter memories rushing to the surface of the mind. For those who have been spared such wounds, the words are a labyrinth to be explored with curiosity and (sometimes) even envy at another’s suffering, and for the “depth” that it gives them. What it is that compels us to turn anguish into art? What is is about the human species, that we are forever seeking beauty in pain?
So often in life, we are in need of comfort, consolation, solace in the words, hands and heart of another human being. We crave this urgently, this knowledge that someone cares, that we are not alone.
Don’t mistake me, I do not and have never deemed all-encompassing platitudes and token phrases as comforting in the least. Comfort comes in when a person cares enough to ask what is troubling you, cares enough to want to alleviate your pain, and (if actions should not suffice or simply aren’t possible) gives you, through speech, hope, courage, strength and renewed will.
This is why, especially when others are hurting, it is always best to choose your words wisely. And with love.
As profound as the right words spoken at the right time and delivered in the right way can be, there are moments in life when the most powerful statement to be made is absolute silence, the denial of speech.
Silence can be interpreted in so many ways: as acceptance, defiance, confusion, courage and even love. Sometimes, more than words are needed. Sometimes, the silences in between, the promise of actions or inaction to come, of feeling felt, is not just enough, it’s everything.
As all of my followers know, I am an incorrigible audiophile and in this edition of “The Beauty of Words”, I’d like for all the music junkies out there to leave me their favourite songs (and the reason why you love them, but that part’s optional). My music library needs feeding and my ears are thirsting for audio adrenaline. Thanks in advance! 🙂
“We feel that….” This is probably the most annoying combination of words humanly possible. It’s incredibly common to hear business people say it in representation of a corporation when what the truly mean is “What we plan to….” or “The decision we’ve come to is….”, and therefore, I give them a pass. But it’s an entirely different matter altogether to hear that prelude from someone in a relationship, someone who has either temporarily or permanently declared themselves the spokesperson for the couple.
The reality is, as many ways as there are to communicate with our fellow human beings, emotions are an intensely personal and solitary thing. Even if two people are in fact thinking and feeling the same thing at any given moment, the intensity with which they each feel it and all subsequent thoughts and actions fueled by said emotion are most certainly not the same.
It is incredibly important to remember that part of respecting a person is to respect not only the words they say, but the things that they don’t say, to respect the silence and anything it may hold. To assume that one’s emotions mirror your own and/or make declaration of another’s feelings is a violation of their person-hood and their thoughts. Communication, in all forms, is beautiful because it removes the need or desire to assume how others think and feel. They can show or tell us, and from that point onward, our duty is to either trust in that individual or distrust and act accordingly. The words we speak to one another are beautiful because they either reveal truth or reveal treacherous character. Don’t deprive others of that opportunity. Don’t deprive yourself.
When I was a child, much more so than now, I was a voracious reader. I would read anything and everything that I could get my hands on, including the labels on bottles of shampoo (a habit that I’ve yet to shake). I would read books one at a time, finishing them in the span of one day, or read up to seven books in rotation over the course of a week or two. And I knew that I was odd, unusual, that other kids would much rather watch television or listen to music. Not that I didn’t enjoy those things as well; in fact, I’ve always been able to read and remain fairly focused even when half-watching a movie or half-listening to one of my favourite songs. But I never understood why other people viewed reading as such a burden and a chore….until later.
As I got older, I broadened my literary tastes and read books that were psychologically traumatizing, emotionally draining, thought-revolutionizing and thus life-altering. I read and as a result, I felt and thought emotions and ideas which I’d previously avoided or felt myself incapable. And because I’d proactively brought it about, by greedily picking up the breadcrumbs of an author’s words and gluttonously gorging myself, the emotions were harder to shake. Unlike with music or films, where the audience responsibility ends at purchasing a ticket, turning on the radio or changing the television channel, a reader’s work isn’t done until the book ends.
With every page turned, the reader is making a conscientious decision to read, to keep reading, to risk their minds and heart. As a result, when we are moved, it is profound, it lingers, and those words live forever within us, branded into our consciousness.To read a book is to make the decision to lay yourself vulnerable to the way someone else’s mind works and trust them to take you on a voyage that won’t leave too many bumps and bruises. Besides trust, patience is also necessary, since a movie or song is much faster to get through than a novel. Sometimes, that trust is warranted. Sometimes, it’s not. But I have often found that the journeys that leave your heart wounded and your mind weary are often the most memorable of them all.
Have you ever read a passage in a book that was so profound that it rivaled in intensity actual conversations that you’ve had with real people? Has book ever made you cry, the memory of love, loss, tragedy and beauty haunting you for months or even years afterward? Has a novel ever inspired you so deeply that it revolutionized your entire world view, subsequently changing the course of your life?
In this installment of “The Beauty of Words”, I’d like for my readers to leave a comment telling me at least one of their favourite books and why. Thanks in advance 🙂