My Pen and I

Do you remember your fountain pen? Remember again.

When Words Bite You


One of the biggest fears of those who write their own words is that someone else will read them. This is a serious occupational hazard for us author types. It is a serious concern for all who dare to create their own words, regardless of their purpose. It happened to me yesterday, and I am still in the midst of that particular conundrum.

I have been working on a series of articles intended to be published as a "guest" author (Now there's some pressure for ya!) for someone else's political web activity. I am (among other things) a political advocate. I teach online for a couple of rather well-known universities in America. I teach and advocate for grassroots activist organizations.

In my last post here, I said that I am not currently involved in writing a novel. That is true. The problem is that I am actively involved in writing what may eventually become a book. In fact, when putting my latest words into text I included the statement: "If you are looking for the bibliography, wait for the book."



Book? What book? Didn't I just publish a declaration that there was no book on my radar?

Well, sometimes you can write words that take on a life of their own. Just because you write them doesn't necessarily (Get this, it is important!) mean that you are accurately interpreting your own thoughts!

For instance, let's pretend you have written and mailed a personal letter to one of your best friends. (After all, wouldn't someone have to be at least a very good friend to receive one of your hand written letters?) Let's further pretend that friend calls you a few days later.

The friend seems upset, angry.

"What did you mean by writing __insert words here__?!!"

You suddenly find yourself in the midst of my conundrum. We have all been there. We will all been there again, with our fountain pen. Maybe, after all, that is why we use the term "fountain"! It is a fountain of words. "No, Virginia, it is not just about ink any more!"

That is, after all why we spend quality time considering the choice of words we write, isn't it? Isn't that one of the highest quality reasons for spending that time? Well, if we are thoughtful writers it is. But hand writing isn't quite like typing on a keyboard to be read on a screen. This is an important point to be considered here.

With a letter, the recipient is actually holding the words you wrote. So, at least in that particular regard, yours is not just a two-dimensional (and we think wrongly, therefore a defensible excuse for) communication where the timbre, or the qualitative value of your chosen words cannot necessarily be accurately interpreted by the reader. It may be true that the reader cannot actually "hear" you utter the word(s), but they certainly will interpret what you write. How they do so is, in larger part, up to you. But, it is not entirely within your capability. After all, they count, too.

It is, therefore imperative that you create your words in such a way that will give the very best opportunity for what you wrote to be correctly "heard" by your reader. For writers, this is the guts of the craft.

"I know you believe you heard what I said, but..."

Writing is all about communication. Like spoken language, writing is also about correct communication.

Hand write this ten times:

I do not need my words to be so clear that they are understood. I need my words to be so clear that they cannot be misunderstood!

(You are welcome.)

Believe me. You can choose your words poorly. Don't.

A quickly composed (Ah, there's the word I need!) email, whipped through the ether and quickly forgotten is one thing. Hand writing a thank you card or a letter is "an equine of a completely different hue ".

One of my favorite hobbies is noticing those marquees at the front of Churches, or reading Church bulletins. We all know why. And, yes. I do LOVE to laugh. For instance:

"Would those attending the Weight Watcher's meeting this Wednesday night please enter and leave through the double doors to the Fellowship Hall?" (Read in a bulletin)

"Don't beat your children. Let us help." (On a Church marquee)

Miscommunication is a real thing. It is also one of the reasons people are so very hesitant about hand writing... anything! (Ask a criminal defense lawyer about evidence!) While it is statistically unlikely you will ever need to concern your hand with this possibility, consider the young girl composing an apology to her Mother, or the young man writing a first love letter. Consider yourself.

Compose the words you hand write with your fountain pen. Somehow, they just seem to last longer than an email. Have you secreted away those hand written letters you received so long ago from that special someone? Have you read them lately?

Reading your own words can be revealing, or even prophetic.

I would go on about this, but I've got a book to write. Why? Because,

Writing Is FUN!





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