Claudia Osmond ~ Reader, Writer, and Ruminator

Nature or Author?

In ruminating on March 19, 2011 at 12:57 pm

I’ve been thinking a lot about words, lately. The beauty of words. The magic of words. The power of words.

Words can paint pictures. They can teach us things. They can transport us. They can alter our mood. They can (re)define our worldview, our conscience, our self.

I was checking out a friend’s facebook page the other day and came across their favorite quotes section. I read one that really spoke to me. It was so striking I read it a few times. What insight! What brilliance! What illumination! This was definitely wall-worthy! The author wasn’t credited (tsk, tsk!) and I just had to find out who wrote this little gem, so I googled the quote.

That changed everything. In a split second, those words stopped glittering. It was as if the lights went out and the words melted off the wall. Noooooo!

This little episode put me face-to-face with something I’m sure I’ve been faced with before, but have just never reflected on: Why does it make a difference to me WHO words come from? Are words alone not powerful enough to transcend even the greatness (or lack of greatness in my estimation, as the case may be) of the person who spoke/wrote them? Can (or should) words be separated from the one who has spoken them? If someone else had said those exact words, even someone I’d never heard of before, would they still be glittering little wall-worthy gems?

Basically: Are words powerful/meaningful/significant to us (or not) because of WHO put them together, or simply because that’s the nature of words?

The broader implications are huge, either way you look at it.

Your thoughts?

  1. OH – this is such a good question!

    For me, the most disappointing moments are when I find out that the words were taken out of context, and that in this new out-of-context form they imply something other than what the original speaker intended. I think that has a lot to do with how much I appreciate someone’s words.

    And then again, they hold more significance for me if the person who said them is someone whom I see as “walking the walk” – so I guess the identity of the author can be pretty important, as part of the context from which those words came.

    BUT: the most important thing is what we, as readers, do with those words. If they motivate us to better ourselves in some way, then that is what really matters. A positive sentiment is a positive sentiment, no matter how you look at it. I might hold a low opinion of the author of words, but still find value in the words themselves and what they stir in my mind.

    Just some middle-of-the-night ramblings. 🙂 I hope they still make sense in the morning!

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