{the weight of words} heart thoughts

small things
There are a lot of books that sit on my shelf…some I have read, most I have not. An easy problem for someone who loves books. I don’t even remember buying or finding (or borrowing?) Caring for Words in a Culture of Lies by Marilyn Chandler McEntyre. It has sat on my shelf for a while but this past July I finally got around to reading it.

Building on a premise that language is a resource to be guarded, protected, and cared for, Marilyn McEntyre calls those who are willing to take up the task of being stewards of words. As much as I love words, this is a concept I haven’t truly thought about and it has left me mulling over a few of the points made in the book.

Words change us. The words we hear (in the news, social media, from others, in songs or books), the words we say (to others), and the words we think (to ourselves) – these all play a vast role in our lives that we don’t often think about.

“As words fall into disuse, the experience they articulate become less accessible.”

Do we view words as having weight, holding the possibility to provoke change, to lead, to guide, to nourish? Part of the reason I started blogging again after this recent hiatus is because I feel the need to write – to use words to communicate experiences with others. I feel the need to articulate my particular experiences, responses, and reactions not only to share with others but to share with myself, to learn about myself, to grow. My goal with blogging is realigning to a goal I have with my life lately: to simplify, to make intentional, to choose the important.

“Our lives are lived in relationship to words, written and spoken, sacred and mundane. They are manna for the journey. As embodied beings we take our whole bodies with us into the act of reading, which, at its best, is spacious, full-bodied, wholehearted, and infused with the breath of life.”

In this book, McEntyre refers to words as gifts. A foreign concept to the modern ear, whose tongue is often used for profanity, gossip, pure reactions, sometimes cruelty, sometimes base talk. And I am a part of this as much as any. It’s so much easier to use stock responses over and over and over than it is to actually try and communicate a thought or answer or comment. We toss around phrases, go through formalities, hide behind commonality – all ways that words create barriers between people instead of connect, as they are intended to do.

“Maybe we need a slow-language movement like the slow-food movement that would encourage us to “cook” and “eat” and “digest” the sentences we share with one another.”

If you are looking for a thought-provoking read and love words to begin with, add this book to your list! It challenges me to make an effort to be intentional with my conversations, especially with those I love and those I see on a daily basis, to use my words as gifts and when others don’t use their words as gifts, to let those go a little bit easier. If you have read this book, or ones similar, I’d love to hear your take in the comments or your recommended reading!

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