Like it or Not, Words are a Writers Best Friend

  • If I had a dollar for every time someone told me, “that’s not what I meant,” I’d be rich. Wars may be politically motivated, but they’re started the result of a misunderstanding of words.


    My father always told me that the burden of communication lies with the communicator. On the other hand, if someone wants to misunderstand something you say or write, they will. No power on earth will stop them.


    I once read a narrative that described curtains as “sad,” a reference to their color being blue. Curtains can no longer be sad than a cup of coffee or any other inanimate object. Still, with so many shades of blue from which to choose, as a writer, I would probably indulge myself, and be criticized for being too verbose, as follows:


    The curtains were blue — not in the tone or shade of a John Lee Hooker tune, nor in the term one might use in describing their disposition to their physician when seeking medication for depression, which is really no color at all but a mood. Not a navy or a midnight; not a Miles Davis Kind of Blue. Not the blue that accompanies the maize in the University of Michigan school colors; not the blue eyes of a Siberian husky nor a sky blue; but a sapphire blue — not annoyingly cheerful, nor that draws attention to itself and away from the other furnishings in the room — pleasant, soothing. The color blue that compliments both a morning cup of coffee or tea — although, as Oliver Wendell Holmes wrote, the morning cup of coffee has an exhilaration about it that the cheering influence of the afternoon or evening cup of tea cannot be expected to reproduce — as well as an evening glass of scotch. The color blue that invites one nearer, if only to draw the curtains wider to let more Sunday morning light into the room, or to admire the panoramic view on the other side of the glass.

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