Tuesday, 17 September 2013


That's what this blogging business is all about really, isn't it - words. Pictures too, sometimes, but for most of us, it's all about the words. They're powerful things too, they can be used for good or for ill - a simple phrase can strike fear into the hearts of millions "I have to tell you now that no such undertaking has been received, and that consequently this country is at war with Germany" (Neville Chamberlain, 1939) or can bring joy to just a single recipient - "I love you". A single, unprovoked and ill considered response from a friend, perhaps when they're having a bad day, can wreck trust forever, and irretrievably damage a friendship if not apologised for, while an offer of help or support can confirm that friends exist where we didn't realise they were.

Words (and punctuation!) used badly can completely alter the tone of what is meant...

Really? Can we?!

But used well they can create a picture in your mind of what the writer intended...


Yes, I remember Adlestrop --
The name, because one afternoon
Of heat the express-train drew up there
Unwontedly. It was late June.

The steam hissed. Someone cleared his throat.
No one left and no one came
On the bare platform. What I saw
Was Adlestrop -- only the name

And willows, willow-herb, and grass,
And meadowsweet, and haycocks dry,
No whit less still and lonely fair
Than the high cloudlets in the sky.

And for that minute a blackbird sang
Close by, and round him, mistier,
Farther and farther, all the birds
Of Oxfordshire and Gloucestershire.

Edward Thomas

 Of course words are just part of it - a person can communicate their feelings perfectly well without words so long as one can see their face - the very reason for the current heated debate on the subject of the wearing of full-face veils for cultural reasons. That's a whole other minefield, and one which I don't intend to get into, but there is no question that words without expression can be problematic. Over the telephone tone of voice comes into play, but when we're working purely in "print" it's all too easy to be misconstrued.

Words. Treat them with respect, use them wisely. Use them sparingly. Above all - enjoy them - they're there to be played with and appreciated!



Marksgran said...

A very thoughful and apt post for the blogging world at the moment. :)

Pat Machin said...

LOL! We went to Adlestrop in 2011 and the old station sign is now on a street corner.

I need hardly say we went because of the poem!

dreamer said...

I love words, they have fascinated me since I was a child :) It is so easy to convey something differently to how you meant it when you are blogging though. Occasionally I have deleted planned posts as I am unsure if people would read them the way I intended.

Robyn said...

Marksgran - sounds like I've missed something?! I'm intrigued now...!
Pat - I've loved that Poem since I first read it, I'm not generally much of a poetry person but every now and again I come across one that sticks with me. I must add Adlestrop to my list of places to visit too!
Dreamer - it's funny you should say that - I had a clear-out recently of a load of half-drafted posts that, on reading back, I was unsure about!

Scarlet said...

Since I was a small child I've always hated not knowing the meaning of a word, so the dictionary has always been my friend. I must have passed my love of words onto the girls. K is an English teacher who studied Language, Literacy and Communication at uni, and KL is heading to uni on Saturday to study English Literature and Sociology.
I've certainly been on the receiving end of some rather brutal words recently that couldn't be misconstrued in any way!

Robyn said...

Ha - but THOSE words were from gutless idiots Scarlet - karma will win in the end! Good luck to KL heading off to Uni! xx

Marksgran said...

lol Robyn, I didn't mean any one thing in particular but I know a few people online get such a hard time when words they write are misconstrued. I'm always telling my children, don't argue by text (as they are wont to do with friends etc) - language is powerful and once written it can be very easily misinterpreted, you only have to think of some poems or songs which everyone sees a different meaning in. Sorry to disappoint you - no gossip lol. :)

Robyn said...

Damn! ;-)
And very good advice indeed to your children, there!