Words are the building blocks of Story. The words put into a character’s mouth shape the reader’s perception of him or her. An author would employ a different vocabulary and manner of speaking when writing the character of a male military officer then they would if writing a female civillian. They are different people dealing with different things in their lives, thus each requires a unique vocabulary all their own. Words have the power to harm or heal, uplift or depress, anger or soothe.
I find it amazing then that the meanings and intents of words can change as quickly as they do. For example, “gay” doesn’t mean the same thing today that it did fifty years ago.
Words are insubstanial, and once spoken hang in the air for a few seconds before fading away. If a person is lucky another person who speaks the same language is around to hear him so hopefully his words are not as easily dismissed. But what if the only person to hear the words is from another country and doesn’t speak the same language? To that person it’s all a bunch of nonsense.
For all of its effect on people the spoken word is the most fragile thing in existence, the meanings can be warped and twisted at will. The written word is little better off. What makes words permanent, inescapable? Ink and paper? Pages can be torn, the smallest drop of water can make the most eloquent turn of phrase unreadable. But we can depend on computers, right? Files get corrupted and hard drives crash without backups every day. The human brain can be trusted, surely. Brain damage happens every day to people who had been perfectly normal before, often times a persons’ memory is affected to some extent or another.
So why write? It has been said that time heals all. Time is a thief, it takes our memories and fades them. Our loved ones are changed into different people almost before we know it. So we write vainly hoping to escape time, to fool ourselves into an illusion of immortality. We write to ablr to say. “I may die, but that which I’ve written shall live on,” even though it will decay as well in the end. From dust we came and to it shall we return, and so too everything we create. Be mindful of your actions. You never know who carries the Gift of Story within them, and the one Story always being told is that of Humankind. If I should be reduced to myth I for one want to be considered one of the good guys in thr end.