Celebrating: words

These collections of letters are incredible things. They can prompt us to emotion or to action. They deepen our understanding, or add levels of confusion.

Are we using the appropriate two/to/too? Or their/there/they’re? What does invalid mean? Does anyone readily grasp homonym/ homograph/ homophone? Do we really care?

At the weekend I was ‘helping’ Girl 2 with a piece of work. By which I mean, I messed it up. I was not helpful. I had tried to be, but I misunderstood my task. I reworded sentences and chopped out chunks thinking I was doing the right thing by reducing her word count. She had wanted me to help increase her word count…

In rectifying, I discovered a little bit of joy in letting her material sing. The shortened version was to the point, abrupt. Like bullet points. Using more words gave the information space to be seen and considered. Prose. Her research, her language, her personality, her self.

We can all enjoy words- fiction, lyrics, poetry, TV scripts, chatting, talks, discussions, papers, apps, websites, crosswords, word search, Scrabble, Countdown. I avoid word games and mostly read fiction- a mixture of commercial fiction, crime, literary fiction and whatever random stuff catches my eye. I watch television ‘bookclub’ programmes, and it costs me a fortune. I’m doing a brief online course on feminist writing. I read a neighbour’s book on professional arboriculture (not my usual fare) before its publication and had a grand time. Reading about Regency gardens while watching Bridgerton definitely worked. I wasn’t just looking at fancy frocks and handsome men, I was gaining an understanding of how society and arboriculture interact. Really. Stop laughing.

Storytelling is a big part of who we are, sharing and defining our experience. A tv show discussion between Damian Barr and Fern Brady had me shopping again. I‘m going to learn something. I might even be able to tell you a story.

Will Storr, the Science of Storytelling

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