I love “words” and thinking about words. Maybe that’s because I’m a writer, who ponders about the right word to use in a sentence, in a title, using a word that will convey the right tone and message. I often quote a teacher I had at a workshop in a University of Iowa summer writers’ festival who said. “When it comes to writing we only have two things: words and the sequence of words.” Think about that. It’s simple and profound.
Ever since teenage years, I’ve kept a book where I write down words, phrases I’ve heard in a speech and in passages from books where I am moved by the author’s talent in using the right words, to create a visual image or an emotional response. Almost 50 years ago I wrote down a quote from Mark Twain: “The difference between the right word and the almost right word, is the difference between lightning and the lightning bug.”
At this particular time in history, I think we’re facing a huge dilemma in knowing what words to use for where we are in our public health situation. We (that includes a wide range of people and organizations) are struggling with what words to use — post pandemic, new normal, going back to where we were, hybrid gatherings??? We don’t seem to have words and phrases that describe a state of limbo and a future that is not where we’ve been and unknown for where it’s going.
This creates a state of unease, anxiety and lack of control. What do we do? First, we need to realize we’re in a time of not knowing, of change, of moving into a space that is yet to be filled. Maybe you’re a person who can help lift up words that will comfort the unknowing. And even though we might feel a lack of control because we don’t know what’s coming, don’t know what words to use, we need to realize that change is the constant and even if we have the words, we don’t have the control. Learning how to accept change and live into it can serve us well.
Good advice. Helps us relax and be in the moment. But still, I want to continue to ponder what words we can use to help us frame the time we’re in and where we are going. What words come to your mind for this time we’re moving in?