The Overuse of Lexical Items in Describing Emotions

stop saying like

Language has never stopped evolving as more new words are added to the lexical pool every passing day. We are now using more words than ever, to express ourselves fully to one another. But, is it all necessary? Or are we simply dulling our senses and devolving ourselves, restricted by the limits of language itself?

In face-to-face encounters, language loses most of its function as actions take over the role of wordly structures. We never describe our actions in wordly forms when what we are doing at any given moment is so obvious. Imagine you’re in a cafe with someone, do you ever need the urge to make sentences like: “I’m now holding the cup of coffee with my left hand, preparing to take a sip.”?

Of course not, as each person is equipped with a behavioral decoder of their own. But, then again, why do we use words to describe our emotions to the other person accross the same table; saying we are happy, upset, depressed or scared… Have we disconnected and devolved so much that we can’t decode emotions without the aid of words anymore?

The joy of hugging someone and transferring our emotions in a silent harmony is what we should have been doing all along. “Wordless” does not mean it’s “worthless”, it’s just more. It’s actually feeling for each other.

We are taught to “apologize”, “praise”, “confront”, “encourage” and “congratulate” each other even before we start school… but even the words picked for such actions are random letters in tiresome, long sequences, …. difficult even to pronounce let alone understand each other’s feelings.

In writing good fiction, there’s one fundamental rule: “Show, don’t tell.” How come “showing” is more appreciated than “telling in words” at a medium where the reader and the writer is almost never in the same place?
Showing, not telling adds great value to writing, so,  perhaps, we should implement this rule to our daily lives for a change to enhance our personal relationships.

Finally,

Who is the culprit for demoting our emotions, then?

Is it the gibberish rules of society we are dictated since birth?

Is it the technological advancements causing the daily rush we find ourselves in, to get pointless things done in little time?

Is it because we are becoming more and more selfish and ignorant?

Whatever the cause, it is never late to share our feelings in an entangling bundle of limbs, enclosing two hearts within…

The Significance of Numbers in Literary Titles

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Numbers are never related solely to mathematics. They have the immense power to make literary works more alluring and certainly add a unique flavour to titles irreplaceable by any other non-mathematical word. Numbers are symbols… and we have always had a special liking to symbolism. Tip off 8 and you get eternity, Nine along with its mirror image make up a spiral heart…and so on.

Numbers also remove vagueness from stories and make them credible. Isn’t to say that there are 5,876,777,091 stars in our galaxy more credible than saying there are billions of stars in our galaxy, even if it’s not true.

The numbers in book titles, foreshadow events and attract readers subconsciously. Just look at the literary titles and my own explanations below and decide if any other number or word could replace these numbers in the title:

“20,000 Leagues under the Sea” : It couldn’t have had the effect if it were a different number. In the times of Jules Verne, 20,000 was a massive number and the reason why a round-up number was chosen is basically because it’s easier to say it out loud than “forty-five thousand” or any other inexact, massive number.

“Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves” : Not all the thieves in the story are indeed relevant to the story but it’s a credible and a huge number to describe the enormity of the bandits. Any number from 30 to 50 would have worked, but 40 does have a special ring in this case.

“The Three Musketeers”: Why is it the three musketeers when there were four? (Yes, I am counting D’Artagnan as one…) It’s simply because three is an odd number and it shows the balance could change when taking decisions. One side will always win.

“Two minutes to Midnight” : The title which is also the name of a popular rock song suggests the severity of the time running out as midnight symbolizes the end of something (at least the night..)

“A tale of Two Cities” : You can foresee the conflict brewing in the story by just looking at the title…

“The Thirteenth Tale” : 13 is associated with “unluckiness” hinting the unfortunate events to be unfolded in the story…

Never forget! A good story always begins with a good title…and the right number in the title…

On loneliness and ointments

Living alone has it pros and cons. We all know what they are so don’t expect me to write what we already know or can immediately think of. Recently, I have discovered the most horrible downside of living alone when trying to apply ointment to an aching back, my back. 

First of all, the saying “Scratch my back, and I’ll scratch yours” loses meaning. When you’re alone, you’re alone. Even your own shadow abandons you during daytime. And at night, it’s not much help for anything let alone providing comfort for your back in agony although it lurks right behind you just like an unwanted friend. 

Secondly, severe back pain limits your mobility. So, the only ally you have is your brain to figure out how to apply the medication (the ointment) to your sore back. 

Here’s a list of my failed attempts:

1. Spoons don’t really work unless you have ape like arms.

2. Ointment applied Ice cubes sliding down your back might worsen the problem rather than cure it. They’re cold.

3. Using the wall to get the ointment in the right spot almost works but you soon realize that you’re applying it onto the wall and not to your back. Besides, it hurts and the wall will soon have a nasty greasy patch. The wall is also cold. 

4. Do not ever swallow the ointment, there’s a reason why they write “For external use only” onto the box. 

5. Asking neighbors to rub your back in the middle of the night isn’t a marvelous idea as well. 

So, the only thing left to do is….start writing something no matter how stupid it is  (just like this entry) to reel your mind away from the pain… Aaaarghh… shouldn’t have mentioned the pain. 

Getting the ultimate taste in literary works!

We all love reading…. At least the ones who have found their way to this humble blog, do! As avid readers; we have read plain text and (like this first paragraph) let our imaginations run wild to visualize what the author had been trying to convey. That was when writing was a true art, which depended heavily on the author’s magic of using the right words in the right sequence. The key to some popular writers’ success was also due to their inclusion of the five senses into their writing; sight, smell, sound, touch and taste in comparison to using a two dimensional method of describing only sight. Look at the crappily written sample statements below and decide which one you favor:

  1. John opened the microwave door and took out the overcooked pizza. (Sight only)
  2. John opened the microwave door upon hearing the feeble bing, and a gush of hot air greeted his face. The burnt smell of the dark wheel inside made him regret setting the timer to 30 minutes instead of just 10. (Sight, sound and smell included – We also sense that it’s either John’s first time with the microwave or that he’s an idiot).

Anyway, with the emergence of graphic novels, writers had less worries about descriptions and plots became more engaging. Using pictures made the reader’s job easier.

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The image above (from the fumetti “Mister No” by Bonelli Comics) clearly outlines how the character feels although there is no text involved.

Now, you see what a mere image does to the story. Imagine adding all the senses to it. How would your reading experience be? Perhaps, books can have a list of items and maybe a soundtrack CD for readers to gather up before starting reading. Let’s say; whenever a character in the book bites into a decaying apple, the reader does, too. Feeling the rotten taste and the horrid feel it leaves in the mouth and fully experiencing the character’s feelings! That would be priceless.

No?

Before I finish, try rereading this post as described below:

I would recommend….

  • Listening to the song “Not to touch the Earth” by the Doors.
  • Making your environment really hot by either over-wearing thick clothes or turning up the heat on the AC.
  • You may also want to pour yourself an icy drink.
  • Then, wipe the accumulated sweat off your forehead with a smelly handkerchief

….while you’re reading this post. The points above summarize how I felt while I was writing this piece. Come on! I’m inviting you to invade my mind!

Why I am obsessed with time travel… and why you should be, too

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Being an avid reader/writer of cool science fiction stories, admiring traveling and having very little money most of the time could very well be used to describe some of my traits. I know I sound like a broke geek with the above description but I assure you I have a lot of other non-geeky qualities and likes, such as;….errr…..hmmm…..well….fantasizing about historical events.

Ok, now you can see how  my traits and time traveling meet up at a common point. Here’s why I can’t seem to keep myself away from thinking or writing about it:

  • I’ve always been a time-traveller, right from my birth to my current age. Although, I’ve only managed to travel forward in time in this period, it’s still a thing I’ve been doing so well for so long. And guess what? You’re just like me! (unless you are Benjamin Button)
  • There are endless possibilities in time travel and a whole, massive history of interesting times and events you can visit. You can run along dinosaurs, be on the Titanic when it sank, witness your grandpa hitting on your grannie or simply watch a good football match that you’ve missed,…live….
  • Paradoxes! Who doesn’t love a good time-travel paradox? Imagine, what would happen if you went back in time and shot Hitler before he rose into power? Hmmm…since you changed history by killing him, he wouldn’t have risen to power and we wouldn’t have heard about him in our time in the first place so that you couldn’t have gone back in time to kill him….Nice, right? What if you accidentally killed one of your ancestors? It’s good thought practice. Isn’t it?
  • You can read or write without paying attention to grammar as the statement “I’ll see you yesterday” would still be technically correct.
  • Believe me, there is always a good story in time travel. and tragedy. and mystery. and humor. and… every kind of emotion that you want to experience.
  • The best thing is that when you (read or write about) time travel, you won’t be spending a single penny. It’s indeed the cheapest way of vagabonding.

Can’t time-travel? Then, live your life to the fullest, make excellent memories, make love, take selfies (not necessarily in that order) and revisit your memories, thinking about all when you get older.