Daily Archives: August 18, 2017

Words of War

As a writer, I’m supposed to love words. Every single one of them, even if they’re offensive. In fact, offensive words require more protection than those that don’t. If we erase offensive words (which are in constant flux anyway. What wasn’t offensive yesterday can be offensive today), we erase what makes us human, both the icky and the beautiful. After all, if we don’t acknowledge that which makes us evil, we can never change and bring about good.

Yet I am as human as the next person. While I can’t think of a word I hate, there are many phrases I do hate. Some of them are due to overuse, clichés if you will. I am guilty of using them as much as the next guy, but I find we use them because it’s more of a habit which requires little to no critical thought. A verbal knee-jerk reaction – to use a cliché.

One particular cliché raises my hackles every time: I’m entitled to my opinion.

I have and never will tell anyone they are not entitled to their opinion, let alone try to take away their ability to express it. Admittedly, some of my statements can be inferred that way, but is that my fault, or the reader’s? Maybe both, but this entry is to explain why, just because someone infers that I don’t want them to speak out, in my case it’s never implied. I will always welcome opposing views, because whatever the subject matter, at least it’s an opportunity to learn something new – and I could very well be wrong in my suppositions. Like I’ve said before, better to be wrong for a moment than be wrong for a lifetime.

I also think people use that statement as a way of shutting the door on a conversation or debate. It’s understandable, granted. Sometimes we don’t want to engage in debate. We simply want to express our view and walk away.

However, when we do it on a public forum, we have to expect others want to – and will – respond. That’s why it’s called social media.

Freedom of expression is a swinging doorway. It means that while people have the right to express themselves, other people with differing views also have the right to respond.

When someone says, “I’m entitled to my opinion,” for me, it’s attempting to shut that door and lock it, or make it swing only one way, so people on the other side can’t get in. Now if they want to say, “We’ll have to agree to disagree,” or, “I understand your opinion, but I don’t share it,” or some other variation thereof, that’s different. While both effectively end debate, it’s not telling the other person to shut up, as if their opinion has lesser value because it’s different.

It’s my love of words that makes me so sensitive with how they’re structured and used. Words can be weapons that hurt and destroy as easily as they heal, inspire, and encourage. Like a loaded firearm, we need to be eternally aware and vigilant on how we wield them.

What Matters

What Matters

I received an email congratulating me for signing up at http://www.writing.com, a website for writers who want to review and be reviewed by other writers, twelve years ago today.

Twelve years. It seems like a long time, but at the same time, not long enough.

I wondered at how much I have accomplished in that time, and I felt a little twinge of almost regret. When I started here, I had the singular dream of being published. Now, twelve years later, I’m still unpublished (mostly).

Have I wasted those twelve years?

Then I read the next email. Someone kindly reviewed one of my items:

Hello vivacious [my username on the site] ,I’d like to wish you a very happy account anniversary, may you have a magical day. I chose this item to review for your anniversary because I thought the title and the item description were very curious. I think this poem is very short on words however it packs with it a powerful message in which I totally agree with.

I think this is an easy to understand and very special poem. it makes me feel like I am glad to be alive and that I am but a child being guided through life by an all powerful God. I did not see any mistakes with your writing.

Thank you for sharing this item with me I appreciate your talent, you keep writing and I’ll keep reading God Bless You

The item in question I remembered was a poem, but that’s it. After looking at the date I added it, I knew why: 2006. Eleven years ago.

It’s short enough, so here it is:

These are not my words.

This is not my voice.

These hands are not mine.

Count this not as wisdom from me.

Only to God.

Only to God does this all belong.

These last twelve years were not a waste. Quite the opposite. I’ve touched many people here (figuratively speaking). I’ve made many friends that I keep in contact with both here and on other sites. Perhaps my words have encouraged and even blessed others.

Best of all, the review and the poem together smacked me across the face (figuratively speaking). It was God’s way of not allowing me to feel sorry for myself. My words matter. I matter, because he created me.

Regardless of how many years of my life passes, God will use me in ways both seen and unseen. Whether my own lofty dreams come to pass In the time or ways I want and expect them to is not important as far as eternity is concerned. What matters is that God’s will be done when it needs to be done. Not too soon, and never too late.