Sunday, January 8, 2017

The price of today's words

Truth as written by some young folk in B362,

I keep a manual typewriter in the back of our classroom. Kids enjoy banging on it when they discover it, mostly, I think, from its novelty, but it runs deeper than that.

Not all words are meant to be permanent, Most of our day to day words are meant to be fleeting, as ephemeral as the chatter of the squirrels and pigeons that share our neighborhood, and with about as much meaning. When we send off emails and texts and tweets, they feel as ephemeral as the spoken word, but they're not.

Casual words spoken tentatively, spoken in anger, spoken in love, spoken as casual chit chat, all used to hang in the air between the few that heard them, as quickly gone as the next breath few breaths.

The printed word changed that, but it took effort and time to put words to paper. It took effort and time to get that paper to the person who was meant to see them. And in that time, before permanent words had a permanent effect, the chain could be broken. And it often was.

Kids throw out kid words with kid impulses and pay adult prices.

The price is far too high.

1 comment:

Kate T said...

Words. The stuff that my work is focused on.
Every email, every tweet, everything I say to students - every word carries weight.
We should be able to make mistakes in what we say and write.

I remember hearing the late Spaulding Gray speak about his dyslexia. He told the room of teachers and fans that he had never heard the word 'excellent' associated with his efforts until he had almost graduated from high school.
What does that tell me about the power of words? and what I say?
Many of Emily Dickinson's poems are just recently available in facsimile - editors no longer need to force her words and how she plays with them, pulls at them, leaves them open - into a printed book. Words can be fluid and odd and not constrained.

I'm wandering. It's is enough to wish you a good week ahead. Tomorrow there will be more words.