Stories and Words

Table as a word is a stand in for table as an object.

I have been thinking about words all week. About how it sometimes feels like I don’t have the words to say what I’m feeling.

Scared is a stand in for stomach knotted tight shoulder uncertainty. Happy, for lightness and smiling when there’s no one to see.

I have been talking talking talking, even though the words have been off centre and slippery. The urge to share has been overwhelming. I have wanted to word my feelings into some kind of sense.

This talking – telling – sharing has made me think about stories and about the importance of words.

When I was younger, I used to believe that there was one story. One version of any given experience. One take on the world. After a while, I began to get the subjectivity thing. That my version is not the same as his version – or her version – or tomorrow’s version. That lots of stories co-exist. This was a step in the right direction, I think, but it still assumed an absolutism that doesn’t reflect what happens when stories are told, and shared, and put into words –

Because I think that these stories we tell are dynamic. I think that they evolve and change depending on where we stand. That they are interwoven. Crisscrossed. Tangled up in the complexities of language and the nuances of meaning. In the different versions we each have and the different language we use.

And so, I have been thinking about these threads of words. How fragile they are, really, when you take metaphor and the potential for misinterpretation into account. How we step in and out of other peoples stories, both literally and imaginatively. That telling and listening and sharing are as important to expanding our world as the steps to the left that I have written about before. About how even when the words feel inadequate, they are the most important thing that we have.


5 responses to “Stories and Words

  1. So true – stories never end and are dynamic and words and language can be played around with to alter meaning and truth. Once again you use words so beautifully, Melissa, to make vital, thought-provoking points that make so much sense and deeply resonate. (For me personally they do, and I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one :))

    The idea of life as a story helps me for sure, as does letting go of language at times when meaning and associations get rigid and tie you down. This is an inspiring post – and I love the idea that there are so many stories out there all crossing and interacting in neverending, dynamic creation and change. It’s a mindblowing, beautiful thought! 🙂

    • Thanks James. This post came on the back of a long conversation about language and how language is what separates us from other animals, and I found it really hard to capture all my thoughts in words. Ironically. The story thing also reminded me of empathy – when you realise there’s multiple stories, it’s easier to move into other people’s shows, if that makes sense. It all seems to fit together strangely and I’m pleased that this post was inspiring. 🙂

  2. sanabituranima

    Someone once told me that communication requires effort on the part of two people, and generally MORE on the part of the listener.

    I think there’s truth in that.

    This is a good post. Be careful, though – don’t get too serious!

    • I agree. There’s definitely truth in that but I think, for me, the lesson has been on the importance of opening up and re-taking my voice.

      I won’t get too serious. 🙂

  3. Love words. Love your writing lately hun. Honest and real and inspires me to write less formatted but freely. Thank you

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