Posted in Writing

A Drowning Language

Since I will hopefully be standing in front of an English class in the fall, the English language is on my mind quite a bit lately. The question that prevails is: Is the English language suffering or dying? Are we losing precision in our language? Will students know how to communicate properly in the coming years? My hopes are “I sure hope not,” “Hopefully it can be salvaged,” and “I sure will try to make sure they can.”

When I look back over my school days, I am thankful for the teachers I had over the years who taught me how to communicate properly and encouraged me to write. I am also thankful for my mom who shared words with me through a love of reading. I can’t say I always enjoyed those seemingly long grammar workbook assignments, nor did I enjoy giving speeches in front of the class, but both of those arduous tasks gave me skills that I hope to share with students in the future.

I have several friends who use “text talk” (thankfully most of them use it sparingly and still maintain correct spelling), and the other day I was looking at the phrase “lol”. Firstly, I must say this phrase is overused to the point that I’m not sure people really consider what it means before typing it. Of course, I may be no better because I use the emoticon 🙂 quite frequently myself. I just somehow doubt that the texter is laughing out loud in some moments. Regardless, I was looking at the set of letters and noticed it kind of looks like someone drowning and crying out for help.

lol

Maybe I can help you see what I’m seeing.

lol

It seems as if the “lol” is a cry of the language saying “Help me! I’m drowning!” No, I don’t think the language is a lost cause yet, but if we don’t send out some rescue boats very soon, the language as we know will be drowned by misspellings, text talk, and emoticons. Students will no long know how to use colorful language, in the sense of varying adjectives, to describe their thoughts. Instead, they will resort to “lol” instead of “that is hilarious” or “you tickle my funny bone”.

On a related note, I watched a TedTalk about the overuse of the words “good” and “bad”, which reminded me of elementary teachers who used to tell us “said is dead” in order to persuade us to vary the words to describe words that come out of someone’s mouth. The premise of this video is that there are so many other words we can use to describe our emotions, our food, our day, or any other way that we use “good” or “bad”. I found myself examining my words, and the words of people around me. How often does someone say “How are you?” and your response is “good.”? Do you describe your food as “good” or “bad”? I know there are other, more colorful words. Let’s use them! My theory is that by using better adjectives more conversation will be sparked and deeper connections will be built. Just imagine someone’s face when, instead of saying the dinner they cooked is “good,” you say it’s “superb”. What a compliment! Now I do agree that there are times when “good” and “bad” have their use. Things, situations, and people can be “good” or “bad”, just not all the time. Let’s liven up our language before it drowns.

These two small changes to the way we write and speak could make a difference in our communication skills, and they don’t even ask you to crack open a grammar book or think about commas. Do yourself a favor: buy a thesaurus and see what sort of precise colorful language you can use next time you send an e-mail or compose a text message. Surprise someone with the word “loquacious” or “splendid”.

Cheers!

 

Advertisements
Posted in poetry, Writing

A connection

What are we doing?
Scrolling through our newsfeeds-
Facebook, Twitter, MySpace-
Feeling connected,
Filling a void.
It’s no wonder that depression rises,
More people seek counseling,
And children take more pills than ever before.
Oh it’s not the sole cause but it contributes.
People need connection
And social media just isn’t enough.
This is not a hate letter against technology.
Believe me I’ve done enough of that to realize it’s silly.
Technology serves its purpose
As long as it’s a supplement to real connection.
People need people,
Not walls or posts or tweets,
People need real breathing people.
I don’t have a solution
Except to log off and plug in to what’s real.
Thankfully what’s real doesn’t need a power cord.

Posted in Life, Writing

My story

Every story that involves God is a story worth telling.  For a while I told myself that my salvation story was too mundane to share.  Then I shifted to the excuse that my salvation story was too personal to share.  The thing is, though, it’s not just my story.  I wasn’t the only one there at that moment or any of the moments before or after.  God is, was, and will always be there.  My story starts in church.  God was always a presence in my life and I saw people around me, my parents included, who had faith in God.  From a young age, I could recite scripture, Bible stories, and other church-like activities.  I was in church every Sunday morning, Sunday night, and Wednesday night, but there came a point when I realized that was not enough.  It was during revival my seventh grade year that I realized that I needed to make a decision about God for myself.  It was invite a friend night to church, and, like a good church girl, I had brought my friend.  I knew enough about church and God to know that people had to make a decision to accept Christ.  I had actually gone through the motions by going up front and talking to the preacher when I was in third grade, but the difference between what was going to happen that night and what I had done in third grade was my heart.  In third grade, I simply went forward, listened to the preacher say a prayer and went through the baptismal pool.  I did not make any decision in my heart, because at that age, I didn’t understand what that commitment meant.

On the way to church that night, I was excited because I thought maybe my friend would “get saved” that night, even though I did not fully understand what that commitment meant at that point.  I thought it meant that you walked forward and told the preacher it was time.  Now I realize it didn’t really matter if I went forward and talked to the preacher or not; what mattered was my conversation with God and my heart.  I don’t remember what the preacher talked about that night nor do I even remember who was preaching that night.  When it came close to the time for the invitation, I felt really sick because I knew that I never had made a commitment to Christ.  I knew the stories and what Christ had done but I had never made the commitment to trust him with my life.  That night I chose to go to the altar and make that commitment by praying to God, but it wasn’t a decision that required an altar.  I could probably even say that decision was made when I stepped out of the pew.  When I stood up from the altar though, I felt relieved because I knew that my life was in the hands of someone bigger.  I knew it was a good decision, even if it took a while for me to realize I had to make it myself.

 

Everyday I learn new things, so the story I have with Christ is always getting longer.  To read more of it click here.

Posted in Writing

Chalkboard Imagery

My mistakes glare at me in the red letters on the green chalkboard.  The words I said wrongly and the actions I shouldn’t have done.  They glare and remind me that what I’ve done is unforgettable.  They will forever live on this board in this room and also in the minds of people I’ve wronged.  There’s no way I can remove them.  I tried to cover them up with good words and actions, but those small attempts just can’t cover what I’ve done wrong.  The good only temporarily masks the dripping red.  The glaring red of my mistakes shine through.  I am trapped in this room, forced to look at what I’ve done wrong in this life.  There are smudges where I’ve tried to remove my words and actions but those futile efforts only make the board look worse.  I stand in the empty room forced to stare at the chalkboard, knowing there is nothing I can do to erase it or even cover it all up.  It will always be there.  My mistakes and words will be there to haunt and taunt me with their red Ss and Is and Ns.  I am reminded just how unworthy I am, just how not good I am, just how sinful I am.  I fall to my knees in desperation, in tiredness, and in weakness.  I can’t do it.  I can’t ever measure up because those red letters will always haunt me.  “God I need you.” Those four short words escape my lips.

It was then I heard the liquid flowing.  I felt the warmth and the light began flowing into the dark cold room.  Curious, I lifted my head.  Someone was there.  I hadn’t even known there was a door to this room, but He had gotten in.  My tears dried quickly and I immediately felt lighter.  I lifted my head and stood to my feet.  I didn’t have to exert effort though because He was right beside me, lifting me from my desperation, tiredness, and weakness.  I looked to the chalkboard, which was now covered in red.  Oh no, I thought, my sins have finally completely covered the board.  Before I could sink back down, He touched me and urged me to take a closer look.  He stayed right beside me while I walked closer to the board to discover it was blood- His blood- running over my board.  My sins and my actions were no longer visible.  Then I understood who He was that had come to rescue me.  It was the One who needs no door because He is the door.  Jesus had come to rescue me and cover my sins so that they couldn’t haunt me when I had been at my weakest moment.  He had lifted me up and shown me what He had done for me.  Now when I look at that board I can only see the red blood of Jesus and He stays right beside me to guide and comfort and strengthen me.

Posted in Life, Writing

The Big P word

PROCRASTINATION.

I don’t think I have ever procrastinated a paper this much.  I just finished writing a paper that is due in one hour.  Usually I am the type of person who completes a paper at least two days before it is due then re-reads it the day before and turns it in.  Not the case this time.  I didn’t even start the paper until Tuesday afternoon.  That’s two days before it was due.  The problem was that I just did not want to write the paper.  It was supposed to be about information that I had already done a class presentation over, so I just did not look forward to re-hashing my thoughts again.  The professor had already heard my thinking about the film and the scripture, so I didn’t want to put it all into words.  While the paper was only 5-7 pages, my fingers seemed to move very slowly across the screen.

The lesson I have learned: Don’t procrastinate.  It just doesn’t work for my writing style.  I like to write something then let it sit a few days before re-reading, and I did not have time to do that this time.  Thus this paper is one of the poorest I have written.  Thankfully it’s not for an English class, so maybe the poor quality won’t matter as long as the information is there.

Posted in Writing

Why I Write.

Once again, there are many things that have happened in my life that I could discuss on here, but the problem is that I’ve already written all of these thoughts, dreams, and feelings in my journal.  In my journal that is sealed for no one else to read.  Oh well.  Maybe strands of those ideas will show up for public consumption in the future.

Recently, I had a discussion with a friend about blogs, a conversation with my family about the idea of authoring a written work, and I have been unable to find internet service in order to make a blog post.  That has led me to thinking about why I post my thoughts for the world to read.  I do not plan to ever publish any works and my journal suffices for me to work through ideas.  So why share?

Why do I write?

I write to the public, because sometimes I feel that an idea needs to be shared with an audience outside of my head.

I write so that I can release ideas.

I write so that someone else can relate to my feelings.

I write so that I can find people with similar ideas.

I write because it makes the feelings more real.

I write to bring healing.

I write to bring joy.

I write to bring peace, to me, my brain, and others.

I write for my own enjoyment.

I write for others’ enjoyment.

I write not because I am particularly good at it, in fact I don’t think most of it is all that great.

I write to connect.

I write not for money but for all the reasons listed above.

I write to share cool things I learn.

Posted in Writing

Writing a Paper

This is the week before mid-terms, so as an English major that means I have to write lots of papers.  I actually have 3 papers due between midnight next Tuesday and midnight next Wednesday.  Joy!

As I’m working on a paper about power in three revenge tragedies, I am noting some things about my writing style.  I just thought I’d share them as I write.

1. I don’t like to get rid of anything.  As I’m working on a paper, I typically have the document where I’m writing and the document with my outline open.  As I re-read and edit each section, I drop any sentences or paragraphs that I delete into the outline document in case I need it again.  I guess you could say I’m a word hoarder.

2. I tend to write an outline, write the paper, and then re-write the outline.  I’m not sure why I bother in the first place because I typically don’t follow the first one.

3. Write a sentence.  Check Facebook.  It makes for slow essay writing, but it keeps me motivated.

4. I think better surrounded by books in the library.

5. I have to start papers early or they will not be good quality.

6. Plot summary is my way of thinking.  Too bad professors don’t like that.

7. I try to think about grammar at the same time because I’m really bad at proofreading for grammar.

I should probably not try to write a blog at the same time as I write a paper.  The paper is not getting written.

 

After making a draft of one paper:

8. I can’t write the conclusion to a paper until it has time to marinate in my mind.  Similarly I cannot re-read a paper fresh after writing it.