This morning, I read a deeply fascinating article about the limpness of words.
It hit home on several levels, one of which is my personal daily writing. In the last few years, I have struggled to know what to say.
I don’t mean I can’t come up with anything to write. I always find a way to do that as part of my daily habit. It’s that it increasingly feels like what I’m saying it just lines on a page, and not doing the work writing is meant to do of transferring ideas from one mind to another.
The article discusses several reasons I am inclined to agree with. The sudden insanity (and I would add evil) of the world we now live in. The shifting media of communication like Twitter, forcing people to invent a rather silly phrase – “long-form” – to specify what was only a few years ago just called writing.
There was no mention of podcasts or things like Clubhouse “hangout” style modes of communication. Nor did the article mention even lower-level, weirder forms like subliminal stuff, musical stuff, symbols, brainwashing, and magic spells. I think these are very real (though not always intentional) and more prevalent than anyone realizes.
I struggle every day to keep on writing the easy way – the way I’m accustomed to – when it feels less meaty than it once did. But I don’t yet have any notion of how else to write.
It’s partly the medium, but it’s the message too.
What the hell can you say without becoming a doom monger?
Why add more words when the vast majority of word factories today are spitting out lies, contradictions, and propaganda?
The big question is how to write hope and light, when it feels the medium itself of “long-form” writing has been overwhelmed or hijacked by deception or steaming garbage to the point where people are exhausted by the thought.
It’s hard to wrest away the time to develop and share less urgent thoughts, and doesn’t seem very worth it.
But words are the most human of human inventions, which means they are a needed part of any kind of rebirth.
The hope and excitement in the insight that words have gone limp is that new forms of building with them will emerge. They will probably arrive in the nick of time to save us from death by word weakening.