The ambiguity of words fascinates me. The English language is full of anomalies: there or their, of or off, sheep or shipe (plural)? When you are a writer you are constantly faced with different ways of describing a situation or place. I know that some writing geniuses have pondered for days over one sentence or a paragraph.
The fast pace of our lives today and the access we have to texting and email means that people have less patience and, I believe, overlook the beauty of our expanding language preferring to use short-cuts to communicate.
Language evolves over time, never more so than now. Our wonderful multi-national society means that words from other languages will become assimilated into the English language, as they have always been but now, faster. Reading a text made up of one letter sentences: U(instead of you) R(instead or are) L8(instead of Late) might be okay for some, but this way of communicating drives me a bit crazy.
Okay, call me an old fuddy-duddy, tell me I’ve missed the language boat, say I am old-fashioned; I assure you I’m not. I just want others to relish words the way I do and I’m no genius, in fact I’m a novice when it comes to writing novels. In my work as a director and playwright, I wrote to deadlines, focusing on one particular subject that I would research in-depth. Within that structured set-up, I had artistic freedom because I worked with actors who bought their own interpretation to my words. When you are writing novels, there is no such input when you begin. You are standing in a desert, watching the sand shifting in the breeze, hoping you might have a revelation, a Damascene moment when your plot will flower like a desert rose and an oasis will appear on the arid skyline where the words start to flow like water under the palm trees. Oops, that’s a bit flowery…!
Word derivation – where words came from, how they changed over time and developed into the speech and the written word we are familiar with today never ceases to amaze me. The roots of all languages show how people used words as sounds to connect with each other, moving from grunts in a Neolithic landscape to grammatical language, supporting a structured civilised society. If you look at ancient documents, the language is hard to decipher unless you have studied ancient history, but the beauty of the writing, the construction of the sentences, the way the documents are illustrated force you to consider the time and effort spent in an age where only a pen and ink was available.
I’m afraid a text simply doesn’t do it for me.