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Friday, October 31, 2014

Hearing them sing

In yesterday’s post, I told how my friend Carolyn Amiet reflected on the many ways in which a single word, such as Grace, can affect our view of the world around us. 

A writer, editor and teacher of writing, Carolyn said, “I have always been a lover of words – endlessly fascinated by language, and mindful of the power words have to enrich, to inform, even to transform our lives; and for better or worse, to shape the course of history.”

She pointed out that some words are wonderful just for the sound they make in our heads when we hear or read them. “But usually, it isn’t the word itself that attracts us, but rather the thing or concept it represents. If you were to choose a favorite (word), it probably should represent something important, even profound. It should have meaning on many levels, and be useful in many contexts.”

She recalled that she once heard a Senior Editor at Newsweek tell a group of student writers that if they could learn to make their paragraphs sing—that’s a gift. “I think in all great writing,” Carolyn reflected,  “you can hear the paragraphs singing.”