Sunday, November 17, 2013

In the beginning...

Being a writer is a tainted business.

There are things that they don't tell you about when you embark on this journey - such as striving for perfection will never get you anywhere other than frustrated, upset and hardhearted. Or that writer's block is the most soul destroying thing on the planet. Or that there are days when you really, really, really don't want to write, even when you have either a section of a manual (or in my current state, polish an application letter an a CV that needs to be done by the end of the night) to get in my a certain time. Then there are times when you are writing, but you're not writing what you want to be writing. And then, when you're writing what you want to write, you're not happy with it....

Being a writer sucks big time, sometimes.

Then  I remember.

"In the beginning was the word. And the word was God (or which ever deity you desire) and the word was with God (or you self-appointed deity)"

These are the first words of the bible, if you want to go with the King James version, that is. Other groups will be aware of these words. They've been around for a while.

It was a word, the word that started everything. One little word.

Okay, not everybody believes in God or has this view. As an agnostic, I'm fine with this one. Not that the world had to start anywhere, but why shouldn't it start with a word? Words are some of the most powerful things in the world.

Think about it. Words are one thing in the world that you can never, ever take back.

Pretty powerful stuff. Intense, potent stuff really.

What would have happened if Martin Luther King had never talked about having a dream? Or Kevin Rudd had not said "Sorry"? Winston Churchill declaring war on Germany? (That speech may not have happened, he had a heart attack in the days before and must have been feeling like crap when he said them)  So many things have been said over the years, decades, millenniums - and no word, once said, can ever be taken back.

Actually, Winston Churchill said some great things. I like this one in particular - very relevant for Australia today.

All the great things are simple, and many can be expressed in a single word: freedom, justice, honor, duty, mercy, hope.

Then thinks of the things you've said over the years - the "I love you"s said and unsaid, the yes's and not no's and I don't think so's... The single words that lift a person to a position of greatness or crush them like a bug under a shoe. So much gets said - or unsaid.

It's big stuff when you get your brain around it. Your words have the power to change things.

But the thing is, as a writer, you don't see this often.  You certainly don't think about it. You don't get the feeling that your words can change things. Writing is what you do. It's just writing. Some of us write for a living, others for fun. It's just what you do.

Speaking to a friend who's also a writer, they were saying of my current job, that I could know how powerful my writing could be. Okay, I'm currently writing management training materials for a national supermarket chain - but it's true - maybe something that I'm penning will be the lines that help somebody reach the next step on the ladder. What I'm writing could be helping to make the future CEO of a national business.

I never thought of what I do like that. If you ask me, I just write training material. Simple as that.

I never think of the impact of what words can do. Or the impact of my words.

It's nice to think that something that you have said, or something that you have written may have positively impacted on somebody - just as it's mortifying to know that you've hurt or offended somebody by your words.

Words have the power.

Okay, this isn't new stuff at all, far from it. Philosophers have been writing about this stuff for centuries.

It's just that in this time of objectionable rhetoric, bullying and divisiveness, what power could the right words have to swing some sense into the nation?

For in the beginning was the word.

What an honour and a privilege it is to be a writer.

Now to find the right words.

(I've always loved this song - fit for purpose it goes with the moment)

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