Reflecting on Words and What They Mean to Me

By: Tia Love

My biggest resolution for 2015 is to conquer Amazon’s list of 100 Books Everyone Should Read. The first book on the list is 1984 by George Orwell. Its a really good read, but more than that, it has opened my eyes to the importance of and necessity for writers. Storytelling is a lost art, but we have to continue to write our stories down and pass them along to those coming after us.

The novel is set in the year 1984 (obviously) and tells of a dystopian society where the ideas of community and togetherness are nonexistent and “Big Brother” is the government. Everything is controlled, right down to the language people can use, and as I read the following quote, I was struck with the truth about something I always considered as just a regular hobby.

“You don’t grasp the beauty of the destruction of words. . . Don’t you see that the whole aim of Newspeak is to narrow the range of thought? In the end we shall make thoughtcrime literally impossible, because there will be no words in which to express it. Every concept that can ever be needed will be expressed by exactly one word, with its meaning rigidly defined and all its subsidiary meanings rubbed out and forgotten.”

This passage sent a serious chill running down my spine. The thought of words being snatched away, leaving people with no true way to express themselves is truly terrifying to a person that depends on words for everything. And although this is a work of fiction, it made me think about our society and how we create and destroy new words and phrases everyday. We use words to shape our world, to speak life or death over a situation, to communicate with the people around us. Words are as crucial to our existence as currency and sustainability.

I am not a conspiracy theorist so whether or not the government is planning to wipe out our vessels of expression is an irrelevant topic. However, to my fellow writers, I must encourage you to continue to write your stories, whatever they’re about. Generations from now, people need to be able to look upon this time and grasp a full picture of life during our times. Words are a big part of our culture that will survive to teach and pass on when we won’t be here to do it. If we keep writing, persistent in our self-expression, words will always have meaning. We will always be guides for those that feel they don’t have or can’t find the words to tell their stories. We are important.

I’ve said this before, and a lot of this lecture is more for me than it is for you, but never stop writing. Be that voice for yourself, but more importantly, provide a voice for so many people that would otherwise never have one. Life is war; words, those are our weapons.

What do you think life would be like if we couldn’t use words to express our thoughts?

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