Tuesday, 5 May 2020

THAT WORD AGAIN




We are into May and still Covid 19 is THE word around the entire globe. What other words have been tagged onto it is more than interesting, it is fascinating. Blame is an addition that should never have been used. Enquiry, is fine. Investigation, quite right. Scientific research is absolutely necessary. The words used by a leader, especially in regard to that word blame, need to be very carefully produced. It takes only a few misconceived words to be misinterpreted to start trouble, including a war. It has happened in the past. So commonsense and compassion are the best words to be used when working to defeat the pandemic to the mutual benefit of all..

After the few months during which the virus has basically raided humanity the word Hope is  beginning to dwindle across the landscape.  Getting back to what was considered normal life is going to take a long time but if that one word resists all the negative ones then there is indeed hope for the future of a world currently undermined by a tiny totally unaware virus.

Tuesday, 17 March 2020

ONE WORD DOMINATES THE WORLD



Yes, indeed, one word does dominate the world at the moment. No prize for guessing which word. It is obviously Covid19. Or, if preferred, Coronavirus. I am not positive that a word with a number in its part can be classified as a word but for this exercise we will allow it. It proves beyond a doubt the power of words, even just one of them. It has captivated every system of communication, it has downed planes, it has disrupted gatherings, it has stopped people hugging and kissing and the hearts and minds of everyone around the world has slipped into chaos mode. The word  represents the unknown, danger, torment, confusion and devastation to both human life and to living standards. The outcomes are as yet unknowable. 
Of course it is followed by many other words: fear denial, cynicism, panic, blame, recovery, hope, acceptance, terror and many more words that reveal the emotions exposed by this one word. After  watching a filmed version of Shakespeare's Richard 11 today and being in awe of his astonishing use of beautiful and poignant language, it feels strange to come back to reality and hear the constant repetition of that one word. Sure, we all need to hear it each day for how ever months it takes to leave us in peace.May that time arrive sooner rather than later.

Friday, 21 February 2020

WORDS ARE ALL I HAVE



One of the songs I love by the Bee Gee's is, 'IT'S ONLY WORDS' and with their haunting tune the lyrics say so much with just a few words. "It's only words and words are all I have to take your heart away".
Phew, it says it all really. The hope, the despair, the pathos, the warmth, the pleading, the love. I could go on. This is what I have to consider each time I write a story, whether it is 2000 words long or 100,000 words long. Every word has to count and therefore each word has to encapsulate all the necessary information as well as the emotions created by the scene. Clearly, editing and re-writing become a big part of whittling down words that are not absolutely essential. Strangely, I often find these non-essential words to be the ones I desire to use the most. Yet, as a published writer who never stops learning the craft, I must stick to the convention that readers not only need, but want, the least amount of words that tell the full story, that draws them in to the story and which makes them empathise with one or more characters.
So, each word needs to begin the journey, inform and entertain with what the story is about and draw to a conclusion that is satisfying for the reader. Simple,in theory. In practice, just a little bit more tricky. With this, perhaps obvious, statement I will conclude. After all, I have 😁said enough with the words I had allowed myself.  😍

Saturday, 25 January 2020

CONFESSIONS



The word confession provokes a myriad of thoughts and possibilities, not the least of which is the one related to a specific religion. Not holding to any religion myself, other than believing in humanity, if that can be called a religion, I spend my effort and time in reading about other people's lives, in the hope of understanding them better. I write about a few too. Since first at school I have been a reader of the classics and have learned much from them about the human condition in general and what makes specific characters tick. Austen, Shakespeare, Dickens, Homer, Hardy and so on. Some stories are easy to read while others prove difficult. It was only after sharing the reading with a group of friends that I eventually waded through James Joyce, which taught me a fair bit about the Ireland that Joyce lived in. As a student I read and re read John Steinbeck and loved the way he created the lives of ordinary people and their struggles, as well as their joys. (In later years I have trouble concentrating on Steinbeck, which says more about me than the author.) I am currently reading The Slap and simultaneously reading This is Happiness, two books with totally different writing styles, as well as very different stories. One is like being dragged to your feet and shouted at, as it focuses heavily on modern family life in Australia, with all of its frantic and often ambiguous messages about how life ought to be lived. The other book is like being gently seated in a comfy sofa, sipping lemon tea and, perhaps, smoking a cigarette, and listening to the resurfaced memories of the narrator about a past era in a village in Ireland. Times were more gently, activities harder on the body and poverty abounded and yet, the characters who people this book certainly offer up glimpses into what made them tick, what made them human and, in a way, misunderstood. Both authors are excellent story tellers. Both books offer insights into what it is to be human. Which story and/or style is preferred depends upon numerous things, not to be discussed here.

 And so to the confession. War and Peace, that classic tome that was declared to be the longest book and the biggest story ever. Or so it seemed to me. Many times I have begun to read it, many times I have skimmed through it yet  never have I completed it from beginning to end. Yet, I feel I must know the story properly. I must get under the skin of these long-ago characters. But what  a book!  I have purchased an adaptation of the story on film. A DVD is winging its way to me this very moment. I just hope it is true to the original story and not filled with half truths and full on lies, as so many modern versions of the past are. Do I feel guilty at not reading the book? I confess I do. Will I enjoy the story as told on the DVD? Yet to be proven. Any story is a story about other people and so we should all learn something from that.

Friday, 10 January 2020

A FEW WORDS ON BUSHFIRES


When I was at school...way back in the dark ages according to the young people who know me- learning my mother tongue, English, included knowing of nouns, verbs, adverbs and adjectives, what they were and how to use them. At some point schools stopped using the names for adverbs and adjectives, instead referring to them as  descriptors. (I have no idea what schools call them these days) In any case, no matter what the name given to these words, they add a huge amount to whatever verb or noun is being described.

The word bushfires, for instance. Over the course of the past few months the bushfires that have raged throughout Australia have had so many words used about them. Commentators, journalists, leaders of organisations called out to combat them, those volunteers at the front, victims, survivors, people in the street, in fact people all around the world, have offered up a vast selection of words to help to describe what happens when bushfires hit. So many words:  terrifying, disastrous, tragic, frightening, extreme, incredible, unbelievable, scary, abnormal,indiscriminate, distressful, crippling, dangerous, all expressing what can be concluded as catastrophic for both individuals and the country.

Then come the words that describe another side of the event: dedicated firies, selfless volunteers,  magnificent heroes, grateful survivors,  enthusiastic helpers, generous donors, calm comforters, energetic drivers of bulldozers and trucks, health professionals, helicopter pilots, gift givers, and, eventually, those who have to be almost dragged to make an announcement that promises some form of compensation.

Words such as blame, climate denial, burn offs, ecology, economics, fossil fuels, water loss, drought and bad management, linger in the air, waiting for the bushfires to cease and for the rebuilding of buildings and lives to begin, before any serious discussion goes ahead.

Of course, within the year there will be memories and grieving and loss and repercussions and debate about cause and effect, none of which will help those worst affected but eventually the remembrances will fade and life will carry on until the next catastrophic event. Yet, maybe the words that should remain on everyone's lips are climate change and community spirit. If nothing else these are the words that should assist Australia, and perhaps the world, to comprehend the two most important things we need to cling to and act upon, if we humans wish to survive.
💓

Saturday, 28 December 2019

WHAT DO I SAY?



WHAT DO I SAY? A frequent enough question. Context is all of course.

Listening to people wishing others a 'Happy Xmas' and reading endless variations on cards and posters and gift tags, it makes me wonder if any word can become meaningless if uttered enough times. Think of commercial advertising or the spin from politicians around the world., much of which is lately classified, quite rightly, as lies. Does repetition change a meaning or simply cover it up with such a generality that it becomes almost banal?
When wishes are given with sincerity they are meaningful but how many "Have a good day's" do we have to endure as being commercial spin that has absolutely no true sincerity at all. The persons using the phrase are, I expect, sincere in wishing to remain employed and so spout whatever is required of them. Out of pomposity or compassion I often make a point of entering into a meaningful conversation with the checkout person, or staff in any environment, just to give them a few more words to savour and to speak words other than those dictated by either conformity or necessity. This can happen while bags are being packed and need only last a few moments but it is truly satisfying to see at least a modicum of pleasure from the participants in the two way exchange of words.

So, do I mean what I say when I talk in this friendly manner to virtual strangers?  Definitely, yes. Do they in turn smile with frankness? Almost every time I would say,  yes. The corners of mouths lift in a way different to when the "And how are you today?' or "Have a good day" spin words are asked.

So to anyone reading this blog I sincerely wish you a year filled with contentment and good health. A year where contemplation can be slipped in with a busy life and words are used meaningfully,no matter what the context. And may you buy as many books as you can afford, mine included, please.

I would also like to encourage readers to fill in their email address so they receive my few words on a fairly regular basis in their inbox. Or please do make comments. My blogs are pretty philosophical but they really do require comments, a two way conversation, an exchange of words. So, I look forward to more of that in 2020.


Tuesday, 26 November 2019

WORDS FOR SPECIAL OCCASIONS



It is soon to be yet another Christmas celebration and all manner of words are floating about in commercial advertisements and marketing,  by both supermarket,online businesses and churches and yet,few speak the words of the compassion and remembrance of self sacrifice that surely a religious celebration of this manner should discuss. I confess (a word associated very much with one brand of religion) that I do not belong to any religion and in many respects find many words and actions of the mainstream religions offensive. As for Creationism, I find that sinister and foolish when science has answered most questions concerning how we humans came to be. Evolution is an irrefutable fact. I recently watched one of those fabulous TV shows, narrated by David Attenborough, (who else) and once more noted how one particular species of chimpanzee were behaving and my words to my co watcher were "you can see how and why we (humans) are only 5per cent apart from these animals. " There was both good behaviour and not so nice behaviour, which applies to most creatures,us included. The big difference being language of course. While most animals have some way of communicating it is only us who use words in every day situations, everyday of our lives, with yes, a few exceptions. And this is where the special words come in. Do people use words of friendship and kindness in sufficient quantity to ever make the "Peace on earth Christmas  slogan ever come true? Sure we all send off the words in our cards, or with our online images. or even in words spoken across phones and ipads. Do we mean them? Do we do anything to enact the possibility of peace on earth for all? Therein lies the rub. Words can come cheap. $2 cards. Cheap online messages. Even cheap phone calls (overseas ones) if we pick our times. 

😍s a writer of stories I often wonder if I take more care of the fictional characters I create than the people around me,. Not those close to me, for their continual presence determines the special words required. I mean those I see only occasionally, those I pass in the street shopping, those I see huddled against walls, those in stress in various situations, crying children, mourning elderly, bewildered middle aged and confused youth, all  no doubt longing for a few special words to be cast their way. So  this holiday we must not just speak the word peace, we must do something to bring it about.   ðŸ˜‡ðŸ˜‡ðŸ˜‡ðŸ˜‡ðŸ˜‡ðŸ˜‡ðŸ˜‡