This blog has taken a bit of a hiatus. I will forgive myself this time, if not only for the fact that my writing has not. November is National Novel Writing Month, after all, and although I had my doubts, somehow I managed to cross the finish line, albeit with a few grey hairs - the ones I managed to keep from ripping off my scalp.
If there's anything I was reminded of during this process it's that language is a vivacious, contentious, illustrious beast, capable of completely manipulating the way we both experience and communicate our experience of the world. Words are at once incredibly fragile and unimaginably flexible, and sometimes utterly illusive. Finding the right ones and piecing them together can be one of the most exhausting and inspiring acts I know.
I've worked with language professionally all my career, whether it's teaching the technicalities of grammar or creating short text blocks that somehow manifest the depths and dreams of a business endeavor. And it never escapes me just how delicate this process can be.
We all attach infinitely different life experiences to the words we use and share. "Dog" means something to me that it can't possibly mean to someone else, because no one else on the planet has owned a Bichon Frise named Gizmo that begged like a gopher and loved cows AND two dachshunds that think they are dobermans, AND was chased down a beach in the middle of the night by three likely rabid strays on a Thai island on Christmas Eve. Well, I guess it could be possible someone else out there has the same dog life-context, but our complex life experiences beyond these factors would likely change the way we understand the word, anyway.
So as a professional that uses words as a tool - works with them as a craft - it can be daunting to think of how to compensate for these disparities and find a place where two parties can still understand one another. And even more challenging in our current era is the fact that all of us have all but lost our attention spans (thank you to those of you still reading, despite this), so if you want to communicate something to somebody you better get to the point in 140 characters or less. Much less, realistically.
But I do love words. I love language. I love the fact that there is a pragmatic side to the use of words and an artistic beauty to the way they are delivered. Rhythm and cadence can make something as enjoyable to read as an enticing melody is to hear. The right word can strike at the heart the way an aroma from our childhood can propel us into a powerful memory. And playing with this can be a truly rewarding avocation.
We all need hobbies. Interests. Past times. Things that we enjoy for no other reason but that they bring us joy. Working with words is a job, but lucky for me, it is also a joy. An overwhelmingly excruciating challenge at times, but a joy nonetheless. And I hope everyone has something similar in their lives. Something that opens up their creative spirit and makes them feel human. And happy. And connected.