|Mary Montague Sikes|
I'm fortunate to be a part of the "The Word's the Thing" panel for the Virginia Writer's Club 2016 Symposium. I don't know either Kim Dalferes or Angela Carter, the other two authors on the panel, but I'm looking forward to meeting them.
Being on the panel has really started me to think about the importance of word choice. Long ago, when I first started writing for an afternoon metropolitan newspaper that no longer exists, I remember my shock and awe at the headlines written by others to go above the stories I filed. Those headlines brought extra power to the words in the leads I chose for my stories. Sometimes the headline words changed the meaning of what I wrote and got me into trouble with county and town officials. I had never before known that such word power existed.
One time I wrote about an historic old church that had paint peeling like flower petals from the ceiling. That wording caused an irate response from one of the members of the congregation. I was trying to paint a word picture of the interior, not antagonize a reader.
The poor choice of words can sting and hurt someone. It can leave a memory that lasts forever.
Giving someone an unexpected compliment can bring them joy. You have spoken a word they might never forget.
That's why lyrics to songs become memorable. That's true of the words of poems as well. I've always loved the writing of Edgar Allan Poe.
Who can forget, "Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered weak and weary..."?
I enjoy the idea of creating our own memorable words.
Think about light and love. The word's the thing.